Andriy Yarmolenko breaks down in tears after goal 'for West Ham and Ukraine' 3 months ago

Andriy Yarmolenko breaks down in tears after goal 'for West Ham and Ukraine'

Yarmolenko scored his first goal since July 2020.

West Ham United and Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko broke down in tears after opening the scoring for the Hammers against Aston Villa.

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The 32-year-old was given compassionate leave following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and returned to the squad for the first time since February for the Premier League clash against Villa on Sunday.

Andriy Yarmolenko breaks down in tears after goal.

Yarmolenko replaced Michail Antonio in the 51st minute with the game poised at 0-0 and received a heartwarming ovation from both sets of supporters inside the London Stadium.

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Just 19 minutes after being substituted on, the former Borussia Dortmund man smashed home Said Benrahma's inviting pass to put David Moyes' side in front.

His teammates were quick to swarm the Ukrainian as he dropped to his knees with his head in his hands.

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When the stadium announcer announced the goal as being 'for West Ham and Ukraine', it received a warm round of applause - with Yarmolenko wiping his face after witnessing the support for him.

Yarmolenko's goal - his first since July 2020 - was followed up by Pablo Fornals' smart finish in the 82nd minute, with Jacob Ramsey grabbing a consolation goal for the away side in added time.

Prior to the match, Moyes' said that he was expecting a warm reaction for the returning Yarmolenko.

Andriy Yarmolenko interview after scoring for 'West Ham and Ukraine.'

And after the game, Yamolenko spoke to Sky Sports and gave an emotional interview.

"What happened today? It was so emotional for me because of the situation in my country.

"It's so difficult for me right now in this moment to think about football. Every day in my country, the Russian army are killing Ukrainian people.

"It was so emotional. To be honest, I don't know what to say. It's so emotional.

"I just want to thank my teammates who have supported me all the time, every day. I want to say to West Ham fans that they have supported me and the Ukrainian people. I also want to say thank you to all British people, because we feel your support for us.

"I just tried to give everything on the pitch. I knew how important the game was for us today.

"I'm not ready to be 100 per cent. In the last two weeks, I've trained maybe three or four times. Since the 26th of February, I rested for four days because it was impossible for me to train. I was thinking about my family and my people.

"After I trained for two or three days, I needed to rest again. I just tried to give everything on the pitch...

"It's really important to feel support, from the manager, from my teammates, from the fans. When I feel it, I give everything for the supporters and the club.

"At this moment, I feel how West Ham as a club and the fans have supported us Ukrainians.