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West Ham sweep past Lyon to book EL semi-final place
West Ham swept into the Europa League semi-finals after beating Lyon 3-0 in their quarter-final second leg, winning 4-1 on aggregate to set up a tie with Eintracht Frankfurt, who beat Barcelona.
The Hammers had to ride the wave of early pressure from Lyon – pumped up by a raucous home crowd – but once David Moyes’ side found the net, they never looked back.
All the goals came in an 11-minute period either side of the break. An unmarked Craig Dawson (38) nodded West Ham ahead, sending Pablo Fornals’ corner through a slither of space at the near post.
Six minutes later and West Ham captain Declan Rice (44) added the second. Ben Johnson’s left-wing cross was cleared into his path, with the midfielder having plenty of time to control the ball before striking from the top of the area. It took a deflection on the way through, but Lyon’s defence was found wanting again.
Three minutes after the break, West Ham added their third and secured their place in the Europa League’s final four. A sensational pass from Fornals sent Jarrod Bowen through, with few defenders near him again. It was then a fine finish past Julian Pollersbeck as his exceptional season for the Hammers continues.
- Brazilian Lucas Paqueta was named on the Lyon bench despite UEFA confirming he was out due to a positive Covid-19 test. However, he tested negative in the afternoon and was subsequently been included.
- Issa Diop was drafted into West Ham’s back four. He replaced the injured Kurt Zouma at centre-half, while Ben Johnson came in at left-back for the suspended Aaron Cresswell.
- Vladimir Coufal was also in at right-back for Ryan Fredericks, while Manuel Lanzini took the place of Said Benrahma up front.
West Ham were under pressure in the first leg after Aaron Cresswell’s red card late in the first half, and they faced a similar spell in the opening half an hour in France.
The Lyon fans had created an atmosphere to rival those of the best European nights ahead of kick-off, and it worked as Karl Toko Ekambi hit the post inside five minutes, with Malo Gusto having the run of the right flank.
In the 27th minute, the pair combined as Gusto’s cross evaded Moussa Dembele in the middle before bouncing off an unwitting Toko Ekambi in the middle. However, his inadvertent effort was saved by a leaping Alphonse Areloa.
Just before, Michail Antonio picked out the run of Bowen down the right of the area after some superb solo work. However, Bowen’s outstretched touch could only fire the ball wide of the target in the pick of West Ham’s early openings.
Europa League semi-final draw
Atalanta vs Braga or Rangers
West Ham vs Eintracht Frankfurt
But the visitors soon took the game away from Lyon with their quick-fire goals. The hosts’ evening was summed up late on as Bradley Barcola lashed an effort well wide of the target after a succession of corners. Soon after, a weak effort from Tete saw the ball lash into the side of the net, as Lyon looked to force the issue.
West Ham have now ended a fun of five successive defeats away from home in all competitions, winning for the first time on the road since beating Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup in early February.
They have also reached their first European semi-final since 1976, the same year they also faced Eintracht Frankfurt in the final four. The Bundesliga side also beat Barcelona 3-2 at the Nou Camp, winning 4-3 on aggregate.
The game was perhaps marred slightly by ugly scenes among the Lyon fans at full-time. Some attempted to reach the pitch as they were held back by stewards as a largely disappointing season for the French side continues.
The perfect away performance from West Ham
Sky Sports’ Charlotte Marsh:
Ahead of any quarter-final second leg in Europe, there will be nerves. But perhaps the pressure was heightened a little given West Ham went into the game with five successive away defeats in all competitions, and made three changes to their defensive line-up from the first leg.
But it proved to be that there was little to be concerned about as West Ham produced the perfect away performance to secure their place in the Europa League’s final four.
Despite the defensive changes, West Ham were there at every juncture to stop a talented Lyon attack that includes Moussa Dembele, Houssem Aouar and Karl Toko Ekambi. Even when they were at their best inside the opening half an hour, the Hammers stood up to every task.
Perhaps one of Lyon’s errors was trying to use the ball aerially too often. West Ham have some tall players in their ranks and won most of those battles in the air, even without the presence of Kurt Zouma to boost them further.
At the other end, they took advantage of Lyon’s own defensive shortcomings to devastating effect – all three of the scorers were unmarked for their goals.
Craig Dawson was ahead of Dembele, Declan Rice had plenty of space at the top of the area to shape his shot and Jarrod Bowen’s run was not tracked, or not until it was too late by Castello Lukeba.
On all three occasions, West Ham took full advantage. West Ham had fewer shots, but more on target. Fourteen of Lyon’s 17 shots were off-target or blocked, further demonstrating how well David Moyes’ side defended.
Then there was the simple things – West Ham simply wanted it more. Not since 1976 have they reached a European semi-final and at the end of every tie, you see how much reaching the next stage means to them.
It could be a Hollywood ending for Mark Noble, with one of his final games potentially being the Europa League final in Seville on May 18. A winning goal in extra-time? Stranger things have happened.
Opta stats – West Ham into the semi-finals
- Lyon lost to English opposition in Europe for the first time in eight games (W4 D3), since a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham in the Europa League in February 2013, with this their joint-biggest margin of defeat against an English side (also 2-5 v Sheffield Wednesday in 1961 in the Fairs Cup).
- Declan Rice has netted five goals in all competitions this season for West Ham, matching his total from his previous five campaigns combined with the Hammers (5 goals in total).
- Harry Kane (22) is the only English player with more goals for a Premier League side in all competitions this season than West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen (15).
What’s next for West Ham and Lyon?
West Ham return to Premier League action on Sunday as they are visited by relegation-threatened Burnley at the London Stadium; kick-off at 2.15pm. David Moyes’ side will be hoping to get their push for European qualification back on track after defeat at Brentford last weekend.
Lyon, who are languishing in 10th in Ligue 1 after a 1-1 draw at Strausbourg over the weekend, host relegation strugglers Bordeaux on Sunday; kick-off at 4.05pm. The French side then face a trip to fellow mid-table side Brest on the following Wednesday; kick-off at 8pm.