Ten Man West Ham Secure Dramatic Draw With Lyon After Controversial Red Card

Aaron Cresswell was sent off in a decision that has split opinion
22:11, 07 Apr 2022

Ten-man West Ham battled to a 1-1 draw with Lyon at home on a tense night in the Europa League. Aaron Cresswell was controversially shown a red card at the end of the first half to the dismay of David Moyes, before Jarrod Bowen’s opener was cancelled out by Tanguy Ndombele. 

It's a result that West Ham would have taken given the precarious situation they were in at half-time and a draw leaves them still in the tie, but needing a big result when they travel to France next week. If they are to progress to the semi-finals, they will need to secure one of the best results in their recent history, but after this brave showing, it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

For all of the pre-match excitement, West Ham began rather nervously in the opening ten minutes as Lyon attempted to impose themselves. Lucas Paqueta found space on the left and sent over a cross that Moussa Dembele couldn't steer on target from close range. 

Said Benrahma had West Ham’s first chance from the left hand side but Anthony Lopes comfortably stopped his shot. It took until the half hour mark for the next effort on target as Declan Rice’s tame left-footed strike was smothered, but West Ham had got on the front foot with a series of corners. However, Lyon kept breaking the game up and Moyes was left furious by their antics on the sidelines. 

Twice, the Hammers put in a challenge that resulted in a Lyon player dramatically falling to the floor and staying down. Referee Felix Zwayer was all too happy to let play continue for a bit, before stopping it so he could get the player unnecessary medical treatment. Then came the key moment which further enraged the home support.

Cresswell was adjudged to have pulled back Dembele on the stroke of half-time and the referee showed him a straight red card. The contact was minimal, but if it was a foul, it was a questionable red. Dembele was running away from goal, and Kurt Zouma was jogging back to cover, but the referee adjudged Cresswell to be the last man. 

Fans were quick to jump on the referee’s decision but if Cresswell hadn’t touched him, or Zouma had worked harder to get back, it wouldn’t have been a red. Zwayer has already received criticism from Jude Bellingham this season, and he was in for a roasting from David Moyes at half-time. 

But whatever Moyes said at the break took his side to another level. The sense of injustice was used as motivation and the crowd fed off every challenge.

Then, the goal came. Lyon made a mistake at the back and Pablo Fornals shuffled the ball through to Jarrod Bowen, who got his shot past the keeper with a deflection from the former Bayern Munich man Jerome Boateng. The London Stadium that had felt nervous before the break was now jumping 

Tanguy Ndombele fired one just wide but would level the scores as Tete fizzed a ball across goal, and Ryan Fredericks attempted clearance fell to Ndombele of all people, and the on loan Spurs man made no mistake from close range. He never produced for Spurs but he stuck a knife into the soul of their London rivals with this goal.

Alphonse Areola made a couple of smart saves before eight minutes of additional time were held up but the Hammers held onto what they had to go into the second leg on level terms. They’ll return next week with eleven men, knowing they have what it takes to match Lyon. 

Elsewhere, Rangers fell to a 1-0 defeat to Braga in Portugal, but will hope they can turn it around at Ibrox next week.

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