Football Features

Declan Rice gets last laugh as West Ham beat Lyon to reach first major European semi-final in 46 years

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:38, 14 April 2022

West Ham are set to play their first major European semi-final since 1976 after running out emphatic 0-3 winners against Lyon this evening.

David Moyes’ men can now look forward to a Europa League showdown against Eintracht Frankfurt, who knocked out tournament favourites Barcelona, for a place in this season’s final where the victors will either meet Rangers or RB Leipzig.

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Tonight’s game was finely balanced before kick-off after the opening leg ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Jarrod Bowen and Tanguy Ndombele getting on the scoresheet for their respective teams. Forced into making a number of defensive changes, which Moyes described as “patched together”, the Hammers made the best of a difficult situation and in the opposition half before half-time when he nodded home a Pablo Fornals corner.

Throughout a lengthy career Dawson has always been a threat from set-pieces; to illustrate this point, since his West Ham debut in December 2020 he’s netted six head goals in all competitions, a figure only Diogo Jota and Kai Havertz (both with seven each) can better for an English top division side in this period. No sooner had that gone in, Declan Rice doubled their lead, the England midfielder is very much a wanted man with this strike being his fifth this campaign, which is as many as he scored in his previous five seasons combined

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The hosts started to unravel and under pressure Les Gones boss Peter Bosz must fear for his job. Bowen repeated his effort from the first game by handing the Premier League outfit a seemingly unassailable 0-3 lead. Lyon had been warned as it turned out to be the visitors’ sixth goal in the first 15 minutes of the second half; no team has scored more during this particular time frame in Europa League action since the 2021/22 season began. Only twice before had West Ham managed to register three goals away from home in Europe (v Metz, Intertoto Cup 1999 and v Osijek, UEFA Cup 1999/00). To say West Ham and their supporters were in dream street would be an understatement. 

Same could be said for Bowen himself. Eyebrows were raised when he was initially signed from Hull City, but the would-be England international has been money well spent. He’s now bagged 15 goals for West Ham in all competitions, something last managed at the club by Carlton Cole a decade ago. On top of that, Harry Kane (22) is the only English player with more goals for a Premier League side in all competitions this season than him. He ceriantly led by example, but to a man every West Ham player out there was exemplary, they’ve progressed having kept a clean sheet in six of their 10 games, more than any other side in the Europa League this season.

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Following the full-time whistle disgruntled Lyon supporters attempted to get on the pitch and there were some violent scenes. They were the better side, and picked off the French side when opportunities presented themselves to run out deserved winners and formidable contenders to go all the way. The discourse in France after the quarter-final draw was that this would be a straightforward contest for Lyon which Rice made a mental note of coming into tonight’s cauldron.

“If you can’t get up for these games you shouldn’t be playing. The roar from the warm-up, it was spine-tingling and it gives you that fire in your stomach,” he told BT Sport.

“Their Twitter admins were saying they don’t know how they are not going to beat us, but those things come back to bite you. We put in a performance and now West Ham are in the semis.

“For Frankfurt to beat Barca, they are a good side. We will be ready for whatever. We want to reach the final.”



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