Hammers hold on for a deserved draw in a controversial encounter at London Stadium
I hope you are all safe and well.
I feel as if I’m always apologising for something with my blog posts, but this time its because I neglected to buy my quarter final match ticket in time to secure my usual season ticket seat. I ended up in row z high up in the rafters looking down on what ended up as being a controversial match.
So, my apology this time is that my photos are not of my usual standard and I missed some key incidents due to the people in front of me getting up to go and get food or a drink or go toilet or just to get in the way standing and chatting to each other! I’ve never known fans to be constantly moving about! Never again I can tell you and I’ll be making sure my ticket is booked early when we secure our semi final slot after next week’s victory.
It was a battling, although not the best, performance that keeps West Ham in with a chance after Cresswell was controversially sent off at the end of a first half that saw the Hammers gradually taking control against a rather niggly Lyon side happy to play for every foul and tactic to disrupt the flow of the game. Did Cresswell deserve the red card that referee Felix Zwayer handed him after bringing down Lyon skipper Moussa Dembele? It was harsh to say the least and a decision that changed the complexion of the game for the second half.
Moyes reflected afterwards ”We have a really difficult game in Lyon now but we expected that – it’s very much all to play for and I would have taken that the way we ended the first half”
But the game came to life in the second half with a beautifully worked move that ended with Bowen, doubtful for the match after a knee injury picked up from from the Liverpool game in March, sending the ball passed Lopez after lurking behind Boateng to take advantage of a break in concentration in the Lyon defence. The crowd was ecstatic and the atmosphere lifted towards the roars reminiscent of the second leg win against Sevilla only a few weeks before. Could the Hammers hold on for another historic win that would give hope of a potential semi final against Barcelona?
The Lyon players had other ideas and were good for a goal that finally squared the tie ready for a mouth-watering encounter next week. The equaliser was tapped home from close range by on-loan Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who reacted quickly to a deflected ball. But the Hammers had defended resolutely and continued to hold on despite so called fans who saw fit to run onto the pitch, and one that clearly disrupted an excellent attacking move by West Ham that could have lead to a goal. Questions need to be asked as to how two fans were able to easily run onto the pitch to stop play. Added to this were stoppages in play by the ref for injuries to Lyon players, even though they were not head related.
On another day these things could have conspired to work against us, but as Dawson highlighted post match:
“The gameplan changed and we created a couple of chances and worked really hard, but I wouldn’t expect anything else. The group here is special – togetherness carries us forward. It comes from the manager. With his experience, he works hard for us and gives us the belief we can do it.”
The Hammers are going to need that togetherness and belief in the return fixture if they are going to overcome a tricky Lyon side that clearly had the ref in their pocket at the London Stadium. If you’re able to go to the match, give the team all the support they need – it will be worth every soar throat and every penny and time travelling to spur the team on to victory. COYI!
I hope you enjoy my photos from the game.
Take care everyone