Yarmolenko returns from compassionate leave, overwhelmed by goal
Ukrainian star Andriy Yarmolenko returned to the West Ham squad for the first time since Russia invaded his homeland and scored an emotional and memorable goal to give the Irons the lead.
Yarmolenko entered the match in the 52nd minute and scored in the 70th, the goal a solid one but the celebration nearly unforgettable.
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There will not be a more memorable moment this weekend than Yarmolenko’s goal.
The Ukrainian hero was a substitute in returning to West Ham’s 18 for the first time since he was given compassionate leave following Russia’s invasion of his native Ukraine. Well, the Ukrainian legend went and delivered a goal and his reaction was more memorable than the fine settle and finish.
Yarmolenko pointed both hands to the sky and was surrounded by teammates after he dropped to his knees,
Ukrainian flags visible in the stands as the Hammers surrounded their teammate, who burst into tears and had understandable trouble getting it together as he walked back to the touch line.
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Andriy Yarmolenko reacts to goal, celebration (via the BBC)
“It was so emotional for me because of the situation in my country. It is so difficult for me right now in this moment thinking about football because every day, the Russian army is killing Ukrainian people.
“It was so emotional. To be honest, I don’t know what to say. I just want to say thank you to my teammates who support me all the time, every day. To West Ham fans, they also support me and Ukrainian people. And also to all British people, because we feel you support us. Thank you, really.
“I felt the support from the fans and I tried to give everything on the pitch because I know how important the game was for us today. I’m not 100% because the last two weeks I train maybe three or four times. Since 26 February, I had to rest for four days because it was impossible to train, I was just thinking about my family and my people. I just tried to give everything on the pitch.”