Jarrod Bowen scored as West Ham struggled 1-1 with Lyon in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals after Aaron Creswell was controversially sent off.
The Hammers, who were playing in the final stages of a major European tournament for the first time in 41 years, were up against Creswell after Creswell was harshly sent off for fouling Moussa Dembele before half-time.
The decision could have left West Ham with a mountain to climb ahead of the second leg in the French city overlooked by the Alps next week.
But Bowen’s second goal in as many games after a month’s injury put the 10-man 1-0 ahead before Tottenham loanee Tanguy Ndombele leveled Lyon.
Still, a draw keeps West Ham’s dream of a place in the semi-finals, against either Barcelona or Eintracht Frankfurt, well and truly alive.
It promises to be a sharp second leg in France’s culinary capital after tempers occasionally boiled over, while Dembele’s Cristiano Ronaldo-esque wink after Creswell’s red card will not have gone unnoticed in the Hammers’ ranks.
Lyon may have had a volatile season domestically – they are currently ninth in Ligue 1 – but they are unbeaten in the competition, beating Porto in the last 16.
They are also veteran European fighters and quickly began to showcase their darker arts repertoire, which infuriated West Ham as Jerome Boateng and Ndombele both stayed down after no foul was given.
German referee Felix Zwayer seemed taken by their antics, stopping play every time West Ham tried to attack.
Then, in first-half stoppage time and with West Ham’s growing frustration, Cresswell suddenly chased Dembele and pulled him back to the edge of the box.
Kurt Zouma was also on hand as cover but Zwayer decided Cresswell was last man and drew a direct red card, to the obvious delight of a winking Dembele and dismay of David Moyes.
The Hammers manager’s German language skills are unknown but he apparently made his feelings clear enough when Zwayer booked him as he stormed down the tunnel.
But West Ham’s sense of injustice saw them take the lead seven minutes into the second half.
Mikhail Antonio’s charge wreaked havoc on Lyon’s defense and Pablo Fornals tried to inject Bowen.
Boateng botched his attempt to control the ball and it rolled behind Bowen but the winger managed to retrieve it, turned and smacked the ball over Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes through a deflection from Boateng sliding.
However, Lyon equalized in the 66th minute when Ndombele came into the box to fire home from six yards after a cross from substitute Tete found Ryan Fredericks.
The match took a bitter note after a pitch invader – the second of the game – jumped out of home end and actually stopped a promising Hammers attack before being taken off.
Dembele crossed a header as West Ham saw eight tense minutes of stoppage time to give them a fighting chance in seven days.
Meanwhile, Rangers need a comeback from Ibrox to keep Europa League hopes alive after a 1-0 defeat by Braga in the quarter-finals game in Portugal.
The Light Blues were lucky in the first half as the home side hit the post and only had the ball in the net for a VAR check to rule out the goal, but eventually Spanish striker Abel Ruiz scored and it was in the 40th minute turned out to be a difference.
Barcelona were rocked by Eintracht Frankfurt but took a first step in their bid to reach the Europa League Round of 16 when a second-half goal from Ferran Torres secured a 1-1 comeback away draw in Thursday’s quarter-finals first leg saved.
Torres equalized Ansgar Knauff’s opener in the first half in a lively duel at the Waldstadion which the hosts ended with 10 men after putting the competition favorites behind.
In the early game, Atalanta and RB Leipzig drew 1-1 at the Red Bull Arena.
Luis Muriel gave the visitors the lead after 17 minutes with a beautiful curl, with both sides hitting the woodwork in the first half.
Leipzig, who missed Andre Silva’s penalty just before the hour mark, equalized in the 59th minute when Davide Zappacosta deflected an Angelino cross into his own net.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/europa-league-round-up-west-ham-draw-with-lyon-as-rangers-beaten-by-braga-41531864.html Europa League recap: West Ham and Lyon draw while Rangers are beaten by Braga