Olympique Lyonnais 0-3 West Ham United
(West Ham United won 4-1 on aggregate)
UEFA Europa League quarter-final second-leg, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Thursday 14 April 2022
West Ham United reached their first major European semi-final in 46 years with a stunning 3-0 UEFA Europa League quarter-final second-leg win over Olympique Lyonnais in France, completing a sensational 4-1 aggregate victory.
After holding their opponents heroically in the first leg at London Stadium, despite playing the second half with ten men, the Irons produced another immense performance to knock out the seven-times Ligue 1 champions.
David Moyes’ team all but silenced a raucous Parc Olympique Lyonnais with a combination of resilience, set-piece excellence, good fortune and sheer hard work to win through to face Eintracht Frankfurt – conquerors of Barcelona – on the 46th anniversary of their famous European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final victory over the German side.
After a rollercoaster opening 38 minutes, Craig Dawson and Declan Rice set the foundations for an unforgettable night by scoring six minutes apart near the end of the first half, the former with a trademark header and the captain with a deflected shot.
Jarrod Bowen then put the icing on the Claret and Blue cake in typical fashion, finishing a lightning counter-attack with an exquisite right-foot 20-yard strike, but every man in a West Ham shirt played their part in an historic success.
The first half chances ebbed and flowed like the rivers Rhône and Saône do through the centre of Lyon.
West Ham almost made the dream start, Fornals dragging wide within 20 seconds of kick-off, before enjoying a vital let-off in the fifth minute, when six-goal Cameroon international Karl Toko Ekambi thumped a low shot off the base of the post and Malo Gusto rifled the follow-up a yard over.
And heart rates rose again minutes later when Romain Faivre’s low cross caused momentary havoc and only a last-ditch block from Vladimír Coufal denied Houssem Aouar and Lyon the lead.
Their tails up, Lyon continued to press hard for the opener, using both flanks in an attempt to get behind their opponents, but the Irons gradually grew into the game and began creating regular chances of their own.
Fornals curled into the arms of Pollersback, then Bowen sent one shot wide on the stretch, then saw a second deflected past the post.
From the resulting Fornals’ inswinging left-wing corner, West Ham took the lead, Dawson timing his run and leap perfectly to get above Dembélé – whose wink after Aaron Cresswell’s first-leg sending-off had angered the Hammers – and powering his header in at the near post.
Then, six minutes later, with the Irons’ energy levels noticeably boosted, Ben Johnson’s cross from the same flank was headed out by Chelsea loanee Emerson only as far as Rice, who took a touch and shot low past Julian Pollersback via a helpful deflection off Castello Lukeba.
Lyon manager Peter Bosz made two changes at half-time, bringing on Brazilian playmakers Lucas Paquetá and Tetê, but to no avail.
Instead, West Ham went further ahead just three minutes into the second period with a counter-attack that has become one of this team’s trademarks during their recent rise. Rice’s interception, Lanzini’s pass and Fornals’ through ball turned defence into attack in seconds and Bowen raced through before gleefully despatching his shot into the bottom left-hand corner.
For the third time, the stadium fell silent, save for the 2,800 happy Hammers celebrating high in the stands.
While there was nearly a full half of football to be played, Lyon rarely threatened Alphonse Areola’s goal, and it was instead the Irons who initially went closest to adding to the scoresheet.
Antonio had an effort saved by Pollersback, Fornals saw one blocked and Bowen fired a long-ranger over the bar before Bosz’s side finally tested the goalkeeper. Even then, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner was equal to Toko Ekambi’s well-struck shot.
Substitutes Bradley Barcola and Tetê then fired efforts comfortably wide amd Dembélé straight at Areola as a West Ham defence led superbly by Dawson, whose massive performance alongside Issa Diop made up for the absences of the injured Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna, held firm to keep a deserved clean sheet and secure a victory no Hammer will ever forget.
West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Johnson, Rice © (Benrahma 90), Souček, Bowen, Lanzini (Noble 77), Fornals, Antonio (Yarmolenko 84)
Subs: Fabiański (GK), Randolph (GK), Fredericks, Alese, Masuaku, Král, Chesters, Vlašić, Perkins
Goals: Dawson 38, Rice 44, Bowen 48
Booked: Diop, Fornals
Olympique Lyonnais: Pollersback, Gusto, Denayer (Reine-Adélaïde 89), Lukeba, Emerson, Mendes, Faivre (Lucas Paquetá 46), Toko Ekambi, Aouar (B.Barcola 71), Ndombélé (Tetê 46), Dembélé ©
Subs: M.Barcola (GK), Bonnevie (GK), Kadewere, Henrique, Dubois, Keïta, Da Silva, Boateng
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)