West Ham United held Lyon to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final despite playing the entire second half a man down.
The first period saw the two teams mostly cancel each other out, and it largely passed without incident until a major flashpoint deep into stoppage time. The Hammers were handed a blow when Aaron Cresswell was shown a straight red card for dragging back Moussa Dembele.
As expected, Lyon controlled possession in the opening exchanges but did not threaten too often. Moussa Dembele came the closest, ten minutes in, when Lucas Paqueta’s cross struck him and sailed inches wide. The visitors also started the second half well but were pegged back when Jarrod Bowen took advantage of a defensive blunder at the back to lift it over the onrushing goalkeeper for the opener, via a deflection off Jerome Boateng.
West Ham’s lead, though, lasted only 14 minutes as Ben Johnson was being tormented by substitute Tete, whose low cross hit Ryan Fredericks and presented Tanguy Ndombele with a simple tap-in finish. The away side were in the ascendancy after that and looked to pose problems from out wide through combinations and interplay between Malo Gusto, Tete, Houssem Aouar and Lucas Paqueta.
But West Ham stayed in their compact shape, asking the visitors to find a way through the backline, and eventually scraped to the final whistle to keep the tie alive, with everything to play for as David Moyes’ men look ahead to the second leg in Lyon this time next week.
Level after the first leg.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 7, 2022
Alphonse Areola: 5/10
It is difficult to blame anybody for Tanguy Ndombele’s equaliser, but Areola’s parry was too feeble to cut out Tete’s cross in the build-up. He was lucky not to be punished for fumbling a Lucas Paqueta shot 12 minutes from time. Following that, he made a couple of decent stops to maintain parity. Otherwise, he was barely tested, despite Lyon setting up their camp near the Hammers box.
Ryan Fredericks: 6/10
Moyes kept Fredericks in the lineup as he was concerned about Karl Toko Ekambi’s pace off the left. Perhaps he was fortunate to avoid punishment when clattering down the dangerous Houssem Aouar, while he also got forward well on rare occasions. Fredericks contained Emerson throughout the game and bravely saw out the game with a stitched up eyebrow after a brutal clash of heads with Moussa Dembele.
Craig Dawson: 7.5/10
Dawson was absolutely rock-solid alongside Kurt Zouma at the heart of the West Ham defence in the second half when the Hammers were desperate to ride out Lyon’s wave after wave of attacks. He did not put a foot wrong, won a lot of aerial balls and was typically no-nonsense defensively, making three huge sliding tackles in stoppage time that got the loudest roar from the crowd.
The veteran was also calm, collected and composed in possession, highlighted by a stunning diagonal to release Benrahma for a first-half chance.
Kurt Zouma: 7/10
Unusually, Zouma was sloppy on occasions. But he defended well when called upon and launched some dangerous long balls towards Michail Antonio as West Ham went direct. The French defender made a match-high nine clearances, although his positioning for the Lyon goal should have been better, as Tete’s cross for Ndombele’s goal came through the area he was supposed to be covering.
Otherwise, he was good at the back, keeping a check on Dembele, putting his body on the line and dealing effectively with everything thrown at him in the second half.
Aaron Cresswell: 3/10
Declan Rice for West Ham vs. Lyon:
100% take-on success
10x possession won (most)
6 duels won
5 accurate long balls
4 interceptions (=most)
2 blocked shots
0 fouls conceded
— CFCVideos (@CFCVideos) April 7, 2022
Cresswell was enjoying a decent game until he got sent off. He was not called into action much but was a steady presence and served Said Benrahma well down the left flank. Getting a straight red card for pulling down Dembele was a bit harsh but perhaps reasonable. Dembele went down easily, but Cresswell left the referee with a decision to make by briefly grabbing his upper arm. Ultimately, he let his team and West Ham fans down.
Tomas Soucek: 6/10
The Czech midfielder kept things ticking along, but he did not make much of an impact in either the defensive or attacking third. He was a tad rusty, but performed the job well, breaking up Lyon’s play and disrupting the midfield while blocking the passing channels to shield the Hammers’ defence.
Declan Rice: 7/10
As expected, Rice put forth another telling performance while in the knowledge that a yellow card would mean he would be suspended for the second leg. Defensively, he was rarely out of position and always in the right place to snuff out the Lyon attacks.
He was also very much the hub of West Ham’s attacking play, initiating attacks with his driving runs and sublime passing ability. He won the bulk of his ground and aerial duels and greatly influenced both ends of the spectrum.
Pablo Fornals: 6/10
The Spaniard was always a willing runner and showed relentless energy for West Ham. He made a vital contribution in the lead-up to the goal by pressing the Lyon defence, intercepting the ball and driving into the box before Bowen broke the deadlock. Fornals did little wrong, but surely would have liked more involvement going forward.
Jarrod Bowen: 8/10
The Player to Watch in our match preview, Jarrod Bowen was West Ham’s main man once again, pouncing on some awful defending from the experienced Jerome Boateng, who allowed the ball to run through and into the wide man’s path.
Jarrod Bowen now has 14 goals and nine assists in all competitions 🔥 pic.twitter.com/HzAkqSjz8o
— GOAL (@goal) April 8, 2022
The Englishman made no mistake, scoring from close range with only the goalkeeper to beat. Off the ball, he ran his socks off and helped the team maintain its defensive shape at testing times later in the second period. He looked threatening whenever he was in the final third and should have also got an assist for Antonio’s chance with a fine run and cross. All in all, it was another standout display from the Hammers’ in-form player.
Michail Antonio: 7/10
Antonio started the game brilliantly, winning nearly every aerial ball and setting the tone for his side with a high press. The Lyon defence simply could not cope with his pace and power up top as he linked up with players around him very well.
The Jamaican looked isolated for much of the second half, with West Ham down to ten men following Cresswell’s sending off. Still, he worked tirelessly and played as a target-man for out-balls, while he played his role in the build-up to Bowen’s goal.
Said Benrahma: 6/10
The Algerian looked very bright in the opening 45 minutes on the left-hand side as he got into some promising positions, although he was let down by his end product. In one instance, he breezed past Lyon’s backline after a superb first touch from Dawson’s pass, but his shot was saved.
He was composed on the ball and kept hold of possession well during some intense-pressure periods in the first half for West Ham. Ultimately, his time on the pitch was cut short as he was sacrificed for Ben Johnson at half-time.
Ben Johnson: 5/10
With the Hammers only having 10 men, Johnson always had his back against the wall after coming on and struggled to cope with the tricky Tete, who had too much room and time to fire a cross in the box just before Tanguy Ndombele’s goal. But other than that, he put up a disciplined and composed performance as an auxiliary left-back and made some important defensive interventions.