West Ham end Mat Ryan's Conference League final dream

·2-min read

West Ham have beaten AZ Alkmaar 1-0 to reach the final of the Conference League, ending the dream of Socceroos captain and goalkeeper Mat Ryan. 

Substitute Pablo Formals scored a breakaway goal in stoppage time as the Hammers secured victory in the Netherlands on Thursday to book a place in the final after a 3-1 aggregate triumph.

The goal prompted ugly scenes at the final whistle with West Ham players and coaching staff trying to stop AZ ultras from attacking away fans behind the dug-out.

David Moyes' men are through to a European club competition final for the first time in almost a half century after a 2-1 win in the first leg in London last week and the last-gasp triumph in the return leg.

West Ham, who won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965 and finished runners-up in the same competition in 1976, put up a dogged showing despite looking tired and spending much of the same time chasing their hosts.

However, Socceroos captain Ryan was forced to make a fine save to deny Declan Rice, pawing away an effort from the touring team's skipper.

After the match Rice and others had to leap over advertising hoardings and try to prevent hooligans from attacking West Ham friends and family in the area behind the dug-out.

It was not a nice ending but when the dust settles Rice, destined to leave West Ham this summer, will know he now has the chance to join Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds as the only captains to lift a major trophy for the club.

Moyes expressed his delight after watching West Ham make a first European final since 1976.

"We're thrilled. It is a huge achievement for West Ham," Moyes told BT Sport.

"It is hard enough to get to any final, never mind a European final and let's be fair I think it was 47 years since we were here last time.

"It is a big achievement for the club. We were in the semi-final last year so sometimes you can say it is a one-off, but maybe (not now) doing two years in a row is very close.

"But the bit now is to win the final."

The final is in Prague on June 7 against Fiorentina, who beat Basel 3-1 for a 4-3 aggregate win.

Fiorentina's Antonín Barák netted deep into stoppage time in extra-time to beat hosts Basel.

Nicolás González scored the only goal in Thursday's first halves in Switzerland but Basel hit back soon after the break through Zeki Amdouni.

Gonzalez struck again though to prompt extra-time and the late drama.

with pA