By Peter Lynch

19th May, 2023 | 9:10am

Declan Rice sends five-word message to West Ham United fans after win v AZ Alkmaar

Declan Rice has taken to social media to send a message to West Ham fans after the club secured a spot in the Europa Conference League final.

The Hammers defeated AZ Alkmaar 1-0 in the semi-final second leg on Thursday (18 May), clinching a 3-1 aggregate victory.

They will now meet Serie A side Fiorentina in the final next month after they defeated Basel 4-3 on aggregate.

Hammers skipper Rice played the entire 90 minutes in the Netherlands, with Pablo Fornals scoring the only goal of the match in the 94th minute.

The club captain took to Instagram to share a message with West Ham supporters after the win, saying: “Prague here we come baby.”

Unforgettable evening

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It was by no means a top performance from David Moyes’s players, but the manager only had one goal in mind before kick-off, and that was to land a place in the final by any means necessary.

And Fornals’s late solo goal did just that, with the Spaniard’s effort sending the travelling West Ham supporters into a frenzy.

Those fans and the players won’t forget the night in a hurry, but there is, of course, still another massive night to come, with Fiorentina set to provide a very tough test in Prague next month.

Both clubs have their domestic seasons to get on with in the meantime, but much of the focus at both will now be on preparing for the final as best as they possibly can.

This will involve plenty of factors, namely keeping key players such as Rice happy and most importantly fit.

It has been a long and difficult European slug for the Hammers, and they are now so close to ending it in superb fashion.