Andriy Yarmolenko scored an emotional goal on his return to the West Ham United side, following time off to deal with the ongoing conflict in his homeland, Ukraine.
The Ukrainian International was the in the squad to face Aston Villa in the Premier League, and began the game on the bench. Yarmolenko was introduced into a rather uninspiring game at 52 minutes.
Following his introduction, he brought the game to life, controlling Said Benrahma’s pass, then firing past Villa’s Emiliano Martinez into the back of the net. The 32-year-old fell to his knee’s celebrating his goal, shedding a tear ad raising his hands to the air, thinking of his homeland.
Following the game, he was given a warm reception by all in the attendance, with everyone showing there support for Ukraine.
The forward spoke after the game.
"“It was so emotional for me because of the situation in my country,” he said. “It is so difficult for me right now in this moment thinking about football because every day, the Russian army is killing Ukrainian people.“I just want to say thank you to my team-mates, 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.“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 ready for 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.” (via BBC Sport)"
West Ham went on to win the game 2-1 and stay sixth in the league, but football is rather insignificant at this moment.
If you feel strongly about the ongoing situation in Ukraine and feel you can donate, a link on how to do so can be found here – Ukraine Disaster Appeal.