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Europa League | Quarter-Finals | 2nd Leg
Apr 18, 2024 at 8pm UK
London Stadium

West Ham
1 - 1
B. Leverkusen

Antonio (13')
Alvarez (6'), Antonio (31'), Bowen (72'), Coufal (79'), Zouma (79'), Soucek (85')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Frimpong (89')
Odilon (5'), Tah (31'), Palacios (85'), Kovar (87'), Adli (90')

West Ham United out of Europa League despite holding Bayer Leverkusen to second-leg draw

:Headline: West Ham United out of Europa League despite holding Bayer Leverkusen to second-leg draw:
West Ham United are knocked out in the Europa League quarter-finals after losing 3-1 on aggregate to Bayer Leverkusen, who extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 44 games.
Sports Mole

West Ham United have been knocked out in the Europa League quarter-finals despite holding Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen to a 1-1 draw in the second leg at the London Stadium on Thursday night.

David Moyes's men were tasked with overturning a two-goal deficit after losing 2-0 in last week's first leg at the BayArena, and they made the perfect start on home soil as Michail Antonio headed the Hammers in front on the 13-minute mark.

West Ham were deservedly in front following a feisty first half, but they were unable to net a crucial second and maintain their energy levels after the break, allowing a much-improved Leverkusen outfit to grow into the contest and eventually score an 89th-minute equaliser through substitute Jeremie Frimpong to salvage a second-leg draw, winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Xabi Alonso's men have extended their exceptional unbeaten run in all competitions to 44 games, last losing 328 days ago to VfL Bochum in May last year, and their success over the Hammers has been rewarded with a Europa League semi-final showdown with Roma, who beat the Germans at the same stage of the competition last season.

As for the Hammers, they have missed the chance to advance to a third successive European semi-final, but Moyes and co can take huge pride from pushing one of Europe's strongest teams this season all the way, particularly in the second leg.

West Ham outclassed Leverkusen in fiery first half

In front of a raucous atmosphere at the London Stadium, West Ham came out of the books quickly and made an energetic start to proceedings, applying early pressure on Leverkusen who looked nervous and a shadow of the side that dominated the first leg.

Leverkusen were penned into their own half and were left stunned when Antonio headed the Hammers into a 13th minute lead. The Jamaica international directed his brave header from around six yards out beyond the onrushing Matej Kovar after meeting an exceptional delivery whipped into the area with pace from Jarrod Bowen, who recovered from injury to start the match.

Kovar was in the thick of the action and kept out both Mohammed Kudus and Antonio before standing firm to deny Bowen's first-time side-footed shot at the back post - a glorious chance for West Ham to draw level on aggregate that sent Moyes rolling to the deck in disbelief.

Leverkusen defender Odilon Kossounou endured a night to forget as he was booked in the fifth minute before making countless mistakes on the ball, forcing Alonso to hook the Ivorian off on the 29-minute mark - Edmond Tapsoba was brought on as his replacement.

Tempers then flared both on and off the pitch, firstly on the touchline between coaching members of both clubs, with West Ham's Billy McKinlay sent off following a heated altercation, before Antonio and Jonathan Tah were both booked after they had to be separated on the pitch.

Leverkusen were crying out for the half-time whistle and were fortunate to enter the break only a goal behind on the night as they struggled to deal with West Ham's threat from crosses into the box - the Hammers had 10 shots on goal including five on target compared to Leverkusen's one.

West Ham had a spring in their step as they jogged down the tunnel, but the same could not be said for Nayef Aguerd, who limped off with an injury shortly before half time and was replaced by experienced defender Angelo Ogbonna.

Leverkusen show maturity to keep treble hopes alive

In search of a much-needed response in the second half, Alonso decided to make two changes at the break, with top scorer Victor Boniface - who scored off the bench in the first leg - and Frimpong brought on for Patrik Schick and Nathan Tella respectively.

West Ham's intensity dropped slightly and that allowed Leverkusen to gradually grow into the contest and pose a greater threat in the final third. Florian Wirtz, who scored a hat-trick in Leverkusen's 5-0 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen last weekend, was the first to let fly, but his first-time half-volley spun narrowly wide of the far post.

Leverkusen soon became the dominant side in possession, but West Ham looked dangerous on the break and Bowen almost capitalised on a defensive mishap from Piero Hincapie inside the penalty area, but the Hammers attacker dragged a cross-cum-shot across the six-yard box and beyond his teammates sliding in at the back post.

Frustrations grew in the London Stadium as referee Jose Maria Sanchez was not shy to brandish his cards to Bowen, Kurt Zouma, Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek, and you could sense that the tie was beginning to slip away from a tiring Hammers side.

Leverkusen's unbeaten run also looked to be slipping away, but shortly after Frimpong blazed over a glorious chance after running clean through on goal, the Dutchman made amends in the dying embers with a strike that took a wicked deflection off Aaron Cresswell before flying into the far corner.

After securing their first-ever Bundesliga title last weekend, Leverkusen's hopes of winning a historic treble remain alive and they will look to build on their undefeated streak when they travel to Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

As for West Ham, they have only won two of their last 11 games in all competitions, and will now shift their attention back to the Premier League with a clash against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. body check tags ::

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