Teen ace Mubama’s grand entrance finishes off Cypriots
DIVIN MUBAMA, 18 years old and one of West Ham’s own, scored his first senior goal for the club last night as David Moyes’s side made it a perfect 10 in the Europa Conference League. It was a moment to savour for Mubama, born and raised in Newham and scoring for fun in the Under 18s and Under 21s. His goal capped a 6-0 aggregate victory over Cypriot side Larnaca to leave the club in today’s quarter-final draw. Gianluca Scamacca helped them there as he started, sprinted
and scored. Who says managerial mind games do not work? Scamacca spent this week listening to Moyes criticise his ‘physical data’, but he delivered here. As did Jarrod Bowen, who scored twice. This made it 10 wins from 10 outings in Europe for West Ham this season and the bookies make them favourites to win this trophy. The London Stadium’s DJ, light show and fire cannons tried to build the atmosphere, but the best way to do that is on the pitch. Scamacca raised the decibel levels when he came close to a screamer from the corner of the box after five minutes, narrowly firing over. But West Ham had the lead on 20 minutes when Scamacca cut inside Mikel Gonzalez. He produced a toe-poke that sneaked under Kenan Piric for 1-0. Not the prettiest strike, but they all count.
Larnaca thought they had scored before the half-hour through Nemanja Nikolic, only for a VAR check to disallow it. West Ham searched for a second goal and, after 36 minutes, Pablo Fornals curled an attempt against the crossbar. While fans were distracted by an argument between the home and away supporters, referee Georgi Kabakov was sent to his monitor. Gustavo Ledes had sunk his studs into Fornals’ lower leg and VAR decided his yellow needed upgrading to a red. Fornals seemed to stand up for Ledes, but the Larnaca star was off. Down to 10 men, Larnaca looked like they had given up. In the 47th minute, it was 2-0. Scamacca’s shot was saved, but Bowen sent the rebound through Piric’s legs. And in the 49th, it was 3-0 as Aaron Cresswell’s cross led to a
brilliant looping header from Bowen. This had turned into a training exercise and Mubama was introduced. In the 65th minute, his moment arrived. Tomas Soucek headed into the box and Mubama tapped in.