West Ham United thumped Lyon 3-0 at the Groupama Stadium on Thursday night to advance to the Europa League semi-finals.

West Ham United progressed to their first major European semi-final since 1976 with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Lyon on Thursday night, securing a 4-1 aggregate win in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final. With a well-calculated game management and magnificent goals from Craig Dawson, Declan Rice, and Jarrod Bowen, the Londoners overwhelmed their French opponents and rose to the huge occasion.

Following a 1-1 draw at home, West Ham withstood early pressure from the hosts at the Groupama Stadium before ruthlessly hitting Lyon on turnovers and set-piece situations. The home side dominated the ball for large portions of the first period, particularly in and around the Hammers box, with Karl Toko Ekambi’s strike from inside the area thumping onto Alphonse Areola’s post inside five minutes.

But it was the visitors who were carving out meaningful openings afterwards, with Jarrod Bowen’s unmarked header from Michail Antonio’s cross going narrowly wide. They eventually broke the deadlock seven minutes from the break and perhaps against the run of play when centre-back Craig Dawson headed home at the near post from Pablo Fornals’s teasing corner.

Six minutes later, stand-in skipper Declan Rice fired a low, deflected effort to double the advantage at the stroke of half-time. Bowen added the third goal soon after the interval to put the game to bed with a right-footed finish following an exquisite diagonal from Pablo Fornals.

West Ham’s European tour will now take them to Germany for their first major European semi-final since 1976 when they reached the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup. And intriguingly, they will face the same opponent as in their 1976 campaign, Eintracht Frankfurt, beat Barcelona at Camp Nou. In the meantime, The Hard Tackle will run the rule over David Moyes’s men after a historic night in France.

Alphonse Areola: 7/10

Areola was alert to any trouble early on and dealt with unrelenting pressure from Lyon in the first quarter of the game. He was rarely troubled after West Ham took hold of the proceedings, yet he was there when needed to produce a solid save from Gusto’s effort. The PSG loanee used his expertise to slow the game down when necessary and release West Ham when Lyon appeared vulnerable.

Vladimir Coufal: 6/10

Coufal struggled early on, with Lyon creating plenty in the opening 20 minutes and having some joy down his wing but settled as the game progressed, producing an all-round strong performance. He kept things simple but produced nothing spectacular and was a tad sloppy in possession. He inflicted damage on the Ligue 1 side with many wonderful balls to send West Ham on the counter-attack.

Craig Dawson: 8.5/10

Dawson scored the opener smartly with a near-post header, capitalising on Lyon’s poor marking and the Hammers’ biggest strength on set-pieces. At the same time, he defended with his usual vigour, robustness, and no-nonsense approach. The veteran was sloppy at times in possession but made up for it with several important blocks and interceptions. In the way of everything at the back throughout the game and finished the game with a match-high 6 blocks.

Issa Diop: 7/10

There were worries about Diop’s ability to fill the void left by Kurt Zouma, but the Frenchman was towering as Lyon pressed for an early goal, hoofing plenty of headers and making one remarkable tackle to bring down Moussa Dembele. He did have his shaky moments in the first half and was booked for a mistimed lunge, but he held the fort very well alongside Dawson.

Ben Johnson: 7/10

Johnson made a tricky start to the game with Malo Gusto and Romain Faivre terrorising his flank. But the West Ham academy product showed maturity and held his ground and later bombed forward to support the  attack. Deployed on his unfavoured left-hand side, the 22-year-old got through plenty of good defensive work and laid a fine cross in the lead up to Rice’s goal.

Tomas Soucek: 7/10

The Czech midfielder did an excellent job of shielding West Ham’s backline. He effectively blocked off Lyon’s passing lanes and covered every inch of the field while denying opponent attackers a breather to play. It was a truly combative midfield performance from Soucek as he mopped up everything, and carried out the dirty work with minimal fuss.

Declan Rice: 8.5/10

After a hectic start, Rice helped West Ham turn a corner in midfield and controlled the game thereafter. It was not the finest of strikes, but it had enough power to beat the goalkeeper, helped by a deflection. As usual, Rice was instrumental, typically efficient in possession, and completed loads of interceptions. Not to mention, the West Ham skipper did all this stuff while being at the risk of missing the semi-final first leg had he been booked.

Manuel Lanzini: 7.5/10

Lanzini linked up the play between attack and defence quite well. The Argentine was always a viable option when Lyon trapped West Ham in their own half during crucial stages of the game. He was tenacious off the ball and technically brilliant on it, as his ability to shift gears helped West Ham gain a foothold in the game after a difficult opening half an hour. He also ran his socks off, engaging in nine duels and making nine recoveries.

Jarrod Bowen: 9/10

Bowen was extremely lively going forward and took his goal brilliantly, rolling it into the bottom corner with an ice-cold finish. It was also his third goal in four games since returning from injury and 15th of the season. Bowen could not quite control a volleyed chance in the first half from Antonio’s cross.

Michail Antonio: 7/10

Antonio was a bit isolated up front in the first half, but he battled hard and caused problems for Lyon’s defence, stretching them with his pace and power. He was a great focal point at the top end of the pitch and held the ball well to combine with his teammates while drifting down the flanks to get more involved. Still waiting for a goal to put an end to his current rough goal-scoring patch, but he was superb at leading the line and was involved in the third goal.

Pablo Fornals: 9/10

Fornals was one of the sharpest players in the final third for West Ham. He kept hold of possession quite well down the left-hand side and never shirked off from putting in the defensive work to protect Coufal in the battle against Lyon’s buzzing wing-men in Toko Ekambi and Faivre. The Spaniard set up Dawson’s goal, which was set up by a devilish delivery into the box, while he also assisted Bowen’s goal with a wonderful first-time pass.

SUBSTITUTES

Mark Noble: 5/10

The West Ham captain helped out defensively and performed precisely what was asked from him to slow the intensity of the game and take the pressure off tired West Ham players on the pitch.

Andriy Yarmolenko: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Said Benrahma: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Leave A Comment...

*