Ten-man Hammers are still in the tie 

Brian Jeeves
Latest posts by Brian Jeeves (see all)

West Ham United v Olympique Lyonnais – UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final First-Leg – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 1-1 Olympique Lyonnais

Ten-man West Ham United provided a battling performance to ensure their hopes of a UEFA Europa League semi-final place remain on course, despite playing out a 1-1 quarter-final first-leg draw with Olympique Lyonnais at a raucous London Stadium.

It’s quite remarkable to think that David Moyes’ wafer-thin squad can still make European progress as well as a top-six domestic finish to the campaign. The Hammers’ chief was quick to end comparisons to their last sixteen success over favourites, Sevilla, but called upon the support to provide a similarly uncomfortable evening for their French visitors.

“Coming back from Seville we knew there was a target to reach and we did it on the night,” he explained. 

“The difference is we’re just about to kick off, we’re not really laid eyes on each other, so sometimes it takes to the second game before you get a better idea about each other. The first game will be one we want to try and play well and impose ourselves because we’re at home, but also be mindful there is another game to come after as well.

“This will be a different game because we had something to chase and the crowd knew what we had to do. It’s a different game. Our crowd has also got to be experienced as well and realise there are two games here.

“We need them, we need them really behind us like they were, because they were unbelievable against Sevilla, but they have to understand we can’t go gung-ho in trying to win the game in the opening minutes. I hope we can, but it’s less likely – in the quarter-finals, you need to be careful with how you play.”

The Scotsman’s request was met by the fans, who greeted the teams with a deafening wall of noise. However, it was a nervy start from the East Londoners. Former Celtic man, Moussa Dembele was unable to convert from close range following a lightning raid down the left involving Emerson and Lucas Paquetá.

Anthony Lopes palmed away Said Benrahma’s effort as the hosts began to find their feet. Tanguy Ndombele sent another strike the wrong side of an upright as the Fench Lige 1 side continued to look slightly brighter during the infancy of the game.

Lopes clung to a Declan Rice effort after the Hammers skipper had latched onto Jarrod Bowen’s cleverly worked flag-kick. But then, on the stroke of half-time, a twist. Aaron Cresswell was shown a straight red card following a coming together with Dembele. German official, Felix Zwayer, often lenient during the opening period, was double-quick to brandish the card.

Moyes reshuffled during the interval. Benrahma sacrificed to accommodate Ben Johnson in a defensive role. But in adversity, it was West Ham who forged ahead. Bowen seized on a horrendous first touch from Jerome Boateng – Lopes unable to keep out the wingers’ lifted attempt.

With the crowd now whipped up into a frenzy, Michail Antonio fluffed his lines after Bowen had expertly played him in. And that proved costly. Ndombele was on hand to drill into an empty net after Alfonse Areola had only parried Tetê’s driven centre.

West Ham were now penned deep in their own territory. Areola denied Paquetá with a somewhat unorthodox and awkward save – Kurt Zouma and Johnson alert to dig the stopper out of a hole. Meanwhile, the home sides’ frustrations grew when a fan raced onto the pitch, forcing a break in play while Rice appeared to be in a good position to launch a rare attack.

Dembele headed over in stoppage-time. West Ham United now turn their attention to the Premier League where they face Brentford at the Community Stadium on Sunday, April 10 (2pm).

West Ham United: Areola, Fredericks, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice (Capt), Souček, Bowen, Benrahma (Johnson 46′), Fornals, Antonio Subs not used: Fabiański (GK), Coufal, Alese, Diop, Masuaku, Noble, Král, Vlašić, Yarmolenko, Perkins

Booked: Michail Antonio (foul), Jarrod Bowen (foul)

Sent Off: Aaron Cresswell (foul)

Goals: Jarrod Bowen 52′

Olympique Lyonnais: Lopes, Gusto, Boateng (Toko Ekambi 64′), Lukeba, Emerson, Aouar, Mendes (Denayer 90′), Ndombélé, Faivre (Tetê 64′), Lucas Paquetá, Dembélé Subs not used:  Pollersbeck (GK), Bonnevie (GK), Kadewere, Henrique, Dubois, Da Silva, Reine-Adélaïde, Barcola

Booked: None

Goals: Tanguy Ndombele 66′

Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany)

Assistants: Stefan Lupp and Mark Borsch (both Germany)

Fourth Official: Sven Jablonski (Germany)

Video Assistant Referee: Bastian Dankert (Germany)

Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Christian Dingert (Germany)

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk