Premier League

West Ham 1 Lyon 1

West Ham 1 Lyon 1: After a Bowen strike and a Cresswell red card, Spurs loanee Ndombele prevents the 10-man Hammers a first-leg win.

A cheeky wink has never gone down so badly in East London.

Lyon striker Moussa Dembele was about to get to his feet after seeing Aaron Cresswell sent off in first-half injury time — before winking at his teammates in a Cristiano Ronaldo-like gesture.

The London Stadium was filled with a cacophony of boos.

Dembele winked towards the bench Aaron Cresswell was sent off

From the touchline, David Moyes cupped his ears, screaming and growling at German referee Felix Zwayer.

The French dark arts and a smiling, remorseless Dembele threatened to destroy West Ham’s biggest night – a first major European quarter-final in 41 years.

But West Ham’s plucky, untested eleven men were never going to give up, especially a team keen to surpass their 1981 Euro heroes Billy Bonds and Co.

With the odds stacked against them, Jarrod Bowen stepped up seven minutes after the break, capitalizing on a blunder by veteran Jerome Boateng to turn this chaotic first leg around.

Ironically, Lyon were the ones utilizing every time-wasting trick in the book when Dembele tumbled to the ground from the softest of touches by last-man Cresswell.

Bowen's deflected effort put West Ham ahead seven minutes into the second half

They couldn’t cope with the hosts’ audacity and boldness in launching this end-to-end European classic.

The visitors were forced to play with a goal down and a player up, and they were rewarded in the 66th minute when Tottenham loanee Tanguy Ndombele tapped home on his return to London.

Dembele’s mischief appeared to have worked, as Lyon came out on even terms in this match.

However, manager Moyes should be encouraged by his team’s response and believe that revenge can still be had in the cauldron that is the Grand Stade de Lyon next week.

The fact that the players arrived a few minutes late for kick-off only energised a rowdy home crowd, which surpassed the mood created for the match against Sevilla.

Despite all the rhetoric of remaining cool and not losing the tie in the first leg, as their 1981 heroes did at home to Dinamo Tbilisi in the Cup Winners’ Cup, the hosts got off to a flying start.

That’s possibly why Lyon insisted on slowing the game down with a slew of “injuries.”

West Ham, on the other hand, countered effectively, creating many good chances through Said Benrahma, Michail Antonio, and Declan Rice.

But then there was Dembele, the nasty one. The Frenchman waited for Cresswell’s hand to graze his body after being pushed through by Houssem Aouar and headed away from goal.

To Cresswell’s chagrin, he went down and the red card went up.

For his desperate protestations, Moyes sank to his haunches and was given a yellow card.

To shore things up, Ben Johnson was brought in to replace Benrahma, but no one told Bowen, who took advantage of some careless defending to see his strike deflect over Anthony Lopes.

Ndombele made it 1-1 on 66 minutes

Lyon took their time responding, but when the opportunity presented themselves, they took advantage of it.

After Alphonse Areola’s save, Ryan Fredericks failed to clear a ball off his own line.

It wouldn’t be a West Ham European tie without drama, and after Andriy Yarmolenko’s extra-time winner against Sevilla last month, there was a sense that another was on the way with eight minutes remaining.

Surprisingly, it was a small group of home fans who were disrupted by two foolish supporters who invaded the pitch, the latter spoiling a promising West Ham counter.

Despite their frustrations, West Ham manage to return to the Premier League.
The history boys are still in with a chance to get to the European semi-finals.


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