West Ham have done it. This humid, sticky, unforgiving evening in Prague will go down in their history.

It was far from a classic, but the Hammers won’t care. The trophy was clinched at the death when the ever-present Jarrod Bowen sprinted on goal and calmly slotted it into the back of the net.

The club had flirted with relegation throughout the year, finding themselves in the drop zone at various points.

But through the murky turmoil of domestic football, the Europa Conference League provided a shining beacon of light that has culminated in the club’s first major trophy in 43 years and European success since 1965.

There were many points within the season when the faith wavered. The trust in David Moyes, who was elated at full-time and his cohort of extravagant new signings was under constant scrutiny.

But they have emerged as champions, blessed with another season of top-flight and European football.

In recent weeks, when the pressure intensified, one player who has emphatically proven his worth is Lucas Paqueta, who was instrumental in this monumental victory.

How did Lucas Paqueta perform against Fiorentina?

The Brazilian arrived in East London with humongous expectations for a club-record fee of £51m - a dazzling, scintillating playmaker expected to orchestrate another top-half finish.

However, at the start, he flattered to deceive. The 40-cap international often cut an anonymous, dejected, and uninvolved figure, unable to showcase his extraordinary talent.

The 25-year-old didn’t score his first goal for his new club until January 2023, but in the latter stages of the Premier League and in Europe, the former Lyon ace has repaid every penny of his transfer.


Although he struggled to influence the first half of their famous 2-1 victory, he provided that match-winning moment, threading an expertly weighted through ball to the onrushing Bowen, who coolly converted.

As well as this, the joyous technician recorded two key passes from his 46 touches, won 11 defensive duels, and made four tackles, as per Sofascore, in a well-rounded performance from central areas.

Throughout the term, the £150k-per-week star’s contribution to the defensive effort has been undeniable; in Europe’s top five leagues among his positional peers, he ranks in the highest 4% for tackles, blocks, clearances, and aerials won per 90 - a glowing testament to his unrelenting work rate and commitment to the Irons.

Described as "simply sensational" by CBS' James Benge following the game, the attacker has finished the season with 43 appearances, 12 goal involvements, and the second-highest average rating in the squad across the campaign.

Big players forge even bigger moments and Paqueta's contribution to this fateful European excursion is unforgettable. It may well have been Bowen who popped up with that remarkable late goal, but it was his Brazilian colleague that he owes it to.

More power to Moyes, who after receiving a torrent of speculation regarding his future, is deservedly entitled to another season at the helm.