Substitute Pablo Fornals became the hero for West Ham United as he scored a decisive breakaway goal in stoppage time, securing a 1-0 victory against AZ Alkmaar and a spot in the Europa Conference League final with a 3-1 aggregate win.

This marks West Ham's first appearance in a European club competition final in nearly 50 years, following their 2-1 win in the first leg in London and their last-minute triumph in the return leg against the Dutch side.

Despite appearing fatigued and spending much of the match chasing their opponents, West Ham displayed a resilient defensive performance. The final will take place in Prague on June 7, where they will face either FC Basel or Fiorentina.

West Ham withstood AZ's brave efforts, showcasing the difference in quality between the Premier League side and their Dutch counterparts. In the dying moments of the game, Fornals broke free in the fourth minute of stoppage time, securing the victory for his team.

There was a moment of concern late in the match when the ball struck Kurt Zouma's hand after being punched clear by West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. Despite protests from the home side, no penalty was awarded.

AZ had their chances, with Lucas Paqueta hitting the outside of the post in the first half. They displayed more aggression in the second half, making dangerous runs and delivering enticing crosses into the West Ham penalty area, but failed to find a decisive touch.

West Ham's Jarrod Bowen had a breakaway opportunity in the 74th minute, but his pass searching for a teammate was cleared. At the other end, there was a moment of anxiety as Areola had to make a hurried clearance after a back pass from Thilo Kehrer threatened to find its way into the net.

In the final minutes, defender Nayef Aguerd missed a golden opportunity when he put the ball wide while unmarked at the back post, before Fornals' last-gasp winner sealed the victory.

"His name is going to be written in West Ham history forever. He's so happy," said West Ham captain Declan Rice about Fornals' achievement.

"We're absolutely thrilled. It's a big achievement for the club, but now it's about going and winning it," added manager David Moyes.

"AZ played a really good style, and Dutch football is of high quality. They gave us a tough challenge in the first leg, and I knew if we didn't set up in a deeper defensive block, they could punish us."