ANDRIY YARMOLENKO broke down in tears after scoring on his return to first-team action as West Ham beat Aston Villa.
The Ukrainian was given compassionate leave after Russia invaded his homeland and hasn’t featured since February 5 against Kidderminster.
Andriy Yarmolenko brought the ball under his spell and fired past Emi Martinez as West Ham beat Aston VillaCredit: AFP
Yarmolenko opened the scoring for the HammersCredit: GETTY
The West Ham team celebrated with Yarmolenko
The Hammers No7 was in tears after scoringCredit: PA
Yarmolenko travelled to Poland to collect his wife and one of his children after they fled the war zone.
The Hammers No7 made an impact from the substitutes bench after Michail Antonio was forced off through injury.
Yarmolenko was found by team-mate Said Benrahma inside the penalty area and the winger brought the ball under his spell before poking past Emiliano Martinez.
The goal moved hearts and lifted spirits inside the London Stadium and West Ham got a second to kill the game off.
Yarmolenko was given compassionate leave and went to Poland to collect his fleeing wife and childCredit: INSTAGRAM
Benrahma was picked out by Hammers captain Declan Rice after a marauding run.
The Algerian played a delicate pass towards the penalty spot and Pablo Fornals made no mistake with the finish.
Villa pulled a late goal back through Jacob Ramsey but they ran out of time to find an equaliser.
Putting Sunday’s goal into words, Yarmolenko said: “It was so emotional for me.
“You know my situation in my country and it’s so difficult for me right now thinking about football because everyday in my country Russians are killing Ukrainian people.
“It was so, so emotional… It’s one thing I can say.
“To be honest, I don’t know what to say. Just so, so emotional. I just want to say thank you to my team-mates, who support me all the time everyday.
“I want to say [thank you] to West Ham fans, they also support me and support Ukrainian people.
“I also want to say thank you to ALL British people because we feel you support us and really, thank you.”
Injured West Ham team-mate Vladimir Coufal tweeted a message of support to Yarmolenko.
Yarmolenko was embraced at full-time by his team-matesCredit: REX FEATURES
Hammers boss Moyes went straight to Yarmolenko after the gameCredit: REX FEATURES
The Czech international said: “No one deserve that more than you bro.”
The other half of the Czech mates, Tomas Soucek, followed suit and expressed his joy for ‘brother’ Yarmo.
Soucek said: “Important game!!! @yarmolenkoandrey win!!! Very glad for you my brother.”
Yarmolenko has thanked British people for their continued support of UkraineCredit: REX FEATURES
The Ukraine star will be vital for West Ham against Sevilla next ThursdayCredit: REX FEATURES
Hammers boss David Moyes will be hoping for more of the same from Yarmolenko next Thursday when Sevilla visit the London Stadium.
West Ham are trailing the six-time Europa League winners 1-0 in their Round of 16 tie.
And West Ham could be without Antonio, Jarrod Bowen AND Aaron Cresswell.