Lyon Gone as Hammers Progress
West Ham United are through to the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League, after they beat French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais following a 3-0 win at The Groupama Stadium on Thursday night, meaning they won the tie by a 4-1 scoreline on aggregate.
David Moyes made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 at newly-promoted Brentford five days earlier. Issa Diop and Ben Johnson replaced Aaron Cresswell and Kurt Zouma, who were missing through suspension and injury respectively, while Alphonse Areola replaced Łukasz Fabiański in goal.
Youngsters Ajibola Alese, Dan Chesters and Sonny Perkins were also named in the matchday squad.
The home side went into this game still unbeaten in the competition but could have fallen behind in the opening seconds when Pablo Fornals was through on goal. Unfortunately for the Spaniard however, he dragged his effort wide.
Olympique Lyonnais were piling on the pressure and on five minutes, midfielder Karl Toko Ekambi had Areola beaten but fortunately for those in the away end, his shot came back off the base of the post and Malo Gusto fired the follow-up over the bar.
The visitors couldn’t establish a foothold in the game as Olympique Lyonnais continued to throw men forward, but the French side were unable to find a way through. Romain Faivre gained ground to cross for Houssem Aouar but was denied by a superb last-ditch block from Vladimír Coufal.
Peter Bosz’s side were working hard to push for the crucial opening goal, using both sides of the pitch to try and open their opponents up. However, it was the Hammers who were growing into the game and were looking the most likely to break the deadlock.
Jarrod Bowen first sent an attempt wide and then saw a second deflected past the post. From the resulting corner, Dawson headed in past Julian Pollersbeck, following a fantastic delivery from Fornals.
A minute before half-time, the travelling fans were given more to celebrate as Declan Rice crafted a terrific finish to beat Pollersbeck.
Just three minutes after the break, the Irons put themselves further ahead when Bowen found himself in acres of space, ran into the box, and steered a shot low past Pollersbeck’s outstretched hand, to give West Ham an unassailable 3-0 lead.
West Ham had further chances to increase their advantage but by then they’d already confirmed their semi-final place.
Moyes made a number of substitutions in the closing stages of the game as Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko and Saïd Benrahma replaced Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and Rice.
Four minutes of stoppage time were added before referee Sandro Schärer blew the final whistle to extend the Iron’s European journey, where they will play Eintracht Frankfurt in their semi-final.
Focus turns back to the Premier League on Sunday afternoon when they face a crucial home match with Burnley.