Savvides Press Sports Photographers Ltd / Nikos Savvides

‘European fairy tale’ over for AEK Larnaca

1 min read

Premier League outfit West Ham United eased past AEK Larnaca Thursday night to make it to the last 8 round of the Europa Conference League, following a second comfortable win over the Cypriot side.

The Hammers walked away with a comfortable 4-0 win against underdogs AEK Larnaca, putting an end to their European endeavours, despite the Cypriot side putting up a fight in the first half.

West Ham go through to the next round with a 6-0 aggregate after their 2-0 win in Larnaca last week.

AEK Larnaca looked West Ham in the eye for almost 45 minutes, but their confidence was broken after conceding an easy goal and being left with ten men.

Gianluca Scamacca opened the scoring in the 20th minute, with a poked effort which squirmed through goalkeeper Kenan Piric.

The Cypriot side managed to score a goal with Nemanja Nikolić, which was disallowed as AEK’s attacker was marginally caught offside.

Just before half-time, defensive midfielder Gustavo Ledes received his marching orders for a late tackle on Pablo Fornals.

Two minutes into the second half, West Ham doubled their lead when Jarrod Bowen followed in after Scamacca saw his shot parried to him at the far post.

Two minutes later Bowen scored his second for the night with a deft looping header to become West Ham’s top scorer in European competitions with eight goals.

Youngster Divin Mubama made it four, as he scored his first senior goal after flicking in from Tomas Soucek’s header at a corner.

Second quarter-final

The victory puts West Ham in a second European quarter-final in consecutive seasons after they reached the Europa League semi-finals last year.

West Ham manager David Moyes in his post-match press conference said that he was pleased from the win, despite the game’s risks.

“We did a really professional job. It was always a risky game and if they got a goal back we’d maybe get a bit anxious,” said Moyes.

West Ham are back in action after the March international break, when they host Southampton at the London Stadium on 2 April.

West Ham are fighting to maintain their Premier League status as they are currently 17th in the league, one spot above relegation, with the same points (24) as 18th Bournemouth. Leeds United are 19th with 23, and Southampton last with 22.

AEK, currently second in the Cypriot league, have a tough game to play on Monday night against Aris Limassol, who are third.

AEK’s Conference League journey, all the way to the European Conference League round of 16, is estimated to have generated more than €6 mln for the club.