UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final Second-leg Preview- KAA Gent
Thursday’s UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final tie is finely poised after West Ham United were held to a 1-1 draw against KAA Gent in the first-leg in Belgium last week. They will be looking to finish the job off and progress to the semi-final stage of a European competition for the second consecutive season.
The Hammers have already travelled to Belgium twice this season and might have to do it again, should RSC Anderlecht come through their tie against Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar. The Belgian side currently hold a 2-0 advantage.
Prior to the match at Ghelamco Arena seven days ago, West Ham boasted a winning record in this competition and they will want to end this tie with a similar outcome but without the need for extra-time and penalties.
West Ham are likely to be playing three games a week from now up until the end of the season and are seeking to close this week on a high by making sure of a semi-final place.
They come into this game off the back of a pulsating 2-2 home draw with current Premier League leaders Arsenal four days ago, despite being two goals behind early on.
Angelo Ogbonna is suspended for the encounter due to picking up his third yellow card in this competition, though he may also have a minor injury, as he wasn’t even involved in Sunday’s match with the Gunners. David Moyes is however hopeful that Nayef Aguerd will return to the matchday squad after a foot problem prevented him from facing Mikel Arteta’s men.
Tomáš Souček is hoping to retain his place, while Thilo Kehrer, Aaron Cresswell, Michail Antonio and Saïd Benrahma are all in contention to start another game.
Pablo Fornals will be looking to be involved again here, while Manuel Lanzini, Maxwel Cornet, Lucas Paquetá, Kurt Zouma and Emmerson Palmieri will also be considered. Alphonse Areola is set to take the gloves from Łukasz Fabiański in goal.
Flynn Downes was alongside Moyes at Wednesday’s pre-match news conference, meaning he will be in the starting line-up.
Tonight’s match is an 8pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by BT Sport from 7:15pm. The referee is Orel Grinfeld.