West Ham United 1-1 Olympique Lyonnais
UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg, London Stadium, Thursday 7 April 2022.
Ten-man West Ham United battled to a 1-1 draw in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg against Olympique Lyonnais.
In front of another sell-out crowd at London Stadium, the Hammers bounced back from a first half which ended with Aaron Cresswell seeing red for a challenge on Moussa Dembélé.
Jarrod Bowen was the man for the massive moments again for West Ham, as he pounced on a mistake at the back from the experienced Jérôme Boateng to finish beyond Anthony Lopes and put his side ahead seven minutes after the restart.
Tanguy Ndombélé levelled for the French side 14 minutes later as Peter Bosz's team looked to take the advantage with them ahead of the second leg in Lyon next week.
But the Irons defended valiantly from then on and held out – which means that it is all to play for heading into the second leg at Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday 14 April.
Cheered on yet again by a sea of noise by the West Ham United faithful, the Hammers began the game in a compact shape, as they tasked the visitors to search for a way through the back line.
The away side looked to pose problems from out wide, but crosses from Malo Gusto and Hossam Aouar flew beyond their team-mates and out of play in the opening stages.
Both teams struggled to consistently keep hold of the ball – but one thing that certainly was consistent was the superb atmosphere created by the home supporters.
It took ten minutes for the first chance to be fashioned, and in truth, Dembélé should have done better. The forward ran across goal to meet a cross from Lucas Paquetá, who had ghosted away from everyone in Claret and Blue – however his glanced effort landed narrowly wide of the post. The flag was raised moments later, but it was the first real opportunity of the match and a warning sign for the Irons.
That chance seemed to spark the Hammers into life. A wonderful long pass from defence was brought down exquisitely by Saïd Benrahma – who, under pressure from Castello Lukeba, then forced Lopes into a good save.
The Algerian was involved again moments later, when a shot that looked to be curling towards the far post appeared to strike the hand of Boateng – but the loud appeals from the players and West Ham faithful was waved away.
The game returned to its steady pace with Lyon continuing to probe the West Ham penalty area. Ndombélé had a go from range on 27 minutes, but his effort didn’t trouble his countryman Alphonse Areola and was sliced well wide.
A well worked short corner routine from Bowen found Declan Rice, who had burst forward from deep – and the West Ham skipper for the evening forced Lopes to dive down low to his right to keep the effort out.
The Hammers were a growing threat as the first-half wore on, but couldn’t fashion another opportunity before the game was turned on its head by referee Felix Zwayer.
Just seconds after Bowen was barged over at the other end of the pitch, Dembélé broke in behind the West Ham defence, and was clipped by Aaron Cresswell on the edge of the Hammers area, prompting Zwayer to give the full-back a straight red card, to the dismay of most inside the ground.
And that would be the final action of the first half, with the home fans certainly making their feelings known to the referee after a spate of contentious decisions - as did David Moyes, who received a yellow card as he walked down the tunnel.
The West Ham boss made a change at the break, shoring up the backline in the absence of Cresswell with full-back Ben Johnson, who replaced Benrahma.
And after Antonio had a chance a few moments earlier which was blocked, the Irons would come again. Pablo Fornals tried to poke the ball towards Bowen, Boateng made a tackle that somehow ran onto the forward, and he found the net after the ball looped up off the defender and over the stranded Lopes. A massive goal early in the second half that lifted the lid off London Stadium.
The away side were understandably rocked by Bowen’s opener and looked to hit back almost immediately – but Lucas Paquetá could only sky a first-time volley from just outside the area. Ndombélé was next to try his luck from distance, but it could only achieved the same result – causing no trouble for Areola.
But the Tottenham Hotspur loanee did find the net on 66 minutes. A teasing run from substitute Tetê ended with a low cross into the area that Areola tipped into the path of Fredericks, but the ricochet fell into the path of Ndombélé – who had the easiest of tap ins from close range to level the tie.
Moyes spoke in his press conference about the importance of, if not winning the game, not losing it tonight. That rang true, as there was a shift to a more defensive mindset for the Hammers. But they were still a threat on the counter and from set-pieces. Kurt Zouma would have surely found the back of the net from a corner launched towards the back post had Lopes not intervened.
Lucas Paquetá, who had been lively with a flurry of long-range efforts throughout the game finally tested Areola with one – one that proved a little too hot to handle for the French goalkeeper, and he was aided by Johnson and Zouma, who smuggled the ball away from danger.
The goalkeeper was called into action again only two minutes later, getting down well to deny Emerson and kill the pace of the shot.
West Ham were feeding off scraps as they battled to stay level, but Bowen and Tomáš Souček combined on the far side to send a teasing ball towards Lopes, but the ‘keeper held onto it firmly.
Eight minutes of injury time were added on by the referee, which saw another chance come for the away side. Dembélé went close again from a cross, but he couldn't keep his header down.
But the referee finally sounded for full-time, bringing an end to another thrilling Europa League contest, with everything to play for as the Hammers look ahead of to second leg in Lyon this time next week.
West Ham United: Areola, Fredricks, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice ©, Souček, Fornals, Benrahma (Johnson 46), Bowen, Antonio
Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Fabiański (GK), Coufal, Yarmolenko, Vlašić, Noble, Diop, Masuaku, Král, Alese, Perkins
Goal: Bowen 53
Booked: Moyes, Antonio, Bowen
Olympique Lyonnais: Lopes, Gusto, Boateng (Ekambi 64), Lukeba, Emerson, Aouar, Mendes (Denayer 90), Ndombélé, Faivre (Teté 64), Lucas Paquetá, Dembélé ©
Subs not used: Pollersbeck (GK), Bonnevie (GK), Kadewere, Henrique, Dubois, Da Silva, Reine-Adélaïde, Barcola
Goal: Ndombele 66
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany)