West Ham footballers defeated Alkmaar at home after a 2:1 turnaround at the start of the semi-finals of the European Conference League. Fiorentina did not keep the lead on their field against Basel and surprisingly lost 1:2. The Hammers and Basel are thus closer to progressing to the final, which will take place on June 7 in Prague’s Eden. Rematches are played in a week.
Czech midfielder Tomáš Souček played the entire match for West Ham, his teammate Vladimír Coufal was absent due to a muscle injury. The London team had a slight advantage in the first half. Benrahm’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper Ryan, but the “Hammers” could not finish other promising actions. The guests unexpectedly opened the scoring in the 41st minute, when Reijnders surprised goalkeeper Areola with a long-range shot to the post.
Even at the beginning of the second half, the home team didn’t know much about Alkmaar’s solid defense. But she helped West Ham equalize with a penalty, which Benrahma converted in the 67th minute after a foul by Ryan on Bowen.
The London team began to dominate and completed the turnaround in nine minutes. After a deadlock in the penalty area, Antonio pushed through from the stop. West Ham have remained unbeaten in the current Conference League season, winning 12 out of 13 games including the preliminary round.
In the beginning, Fiorentina overcame Basel’s chances and in the 25th minute Cabral sent them into the lead with a header. The Brazilian striker scored against his former team and became the top scorer with his seventh goal in the Conference League.
However, the home side did not add insurance and conceded in the 71st minute after Diouf’s placed ground shot. In the third minute of regulation, Amdouni turned the score around with a quick shot. Basel did not lose to their rival from Florence even in their third ever cup duel. The national team midfielder Antonín Barák only entered the game in the 86th minute.
The opening match of the semi-finals of the European Conference League:
ACF Fiorentina – FC Basel 1:2 (1:0)
Goals: 25. Cabral – 71. Diouf, 90.+3 Amdouni. Referees: Letexier – Mugnier, Rahmouni – Brisard (video, all Fr.). ŽK: Adams, Vogel (coach), Burger, Ndoye (all Basel).
Fiorentina: Terracciano – Dodo, Martínez Quarta, Ranieri, Biraghi – Bonaventura (86. Barák), Amrabat (73. Castrovilli), Mandragora – Ikoné (81. Kouamé), Cabral (81. Jovič), González (73. Brekalo). Coach: Italiano.
Basil: Hitz – Lang, Noah, Pelmard – Ndoye, Diouf, Xhaka, Burger (86. Males), Calafiori (63. Millar) – Augustine (77. Zeqiri), Amdouni. Coach: Vogel.
West Ham United – AZ Alkmaar 2:1 (0:1)
Goals: 67. Benrahma from pen., 76. Antonio – 41. Reijnders. Referee: Meler – Eyisoy, Ersoy (all Tur.) – Valeri (video, It.). ŽK: Paquetá – De Wit, Clasie, Ryan.
West Ham: Areola – Kehrer, Zouma, Adžuird, Cresswell – Souček, Rice – Bowen, Paquetá, Benrahma (90. Fornals) – Antonio (79. Ings). Coach: Moyes.
Alkmaar: Ryan – Sugawara, Beukema, Chatzidiakos, De Wit – Clasie, Reijnders – Odgaard (68. Lahdo), Mijnans, Van Brederode (79. Mihailovic) – Pavlidis. Trainer: Jansen.
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