With Michail Antonio’s 2-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the Conference League semi-final on Thursday. West Ham increased its chances of reaching their first European final in 47 years.
While West Ham eyes a milestone last debut, FC Basel is pursuing the history of their own subsequent to holding onto control of the other semi-last with a sensational 2-1 triumph against Fiorentina.
At the London Stadium, David Moyes’ team fell behind after Tijjani Reijnders scored in the first half. But they came back with a stirring performance after the break.
Said Benrahma scored a penalty to make it even. Antonio scored the winning goal in the final minute to give West Ham control of the game ahead of the May 18 second leg in the Netherlands.
“It was a weird game to dissect. AZ performed admirably in the lead-up. We were a little scathing. We acted foolishly by not taking risks and shooting from 30 yards. However, in the end, I’m satisfied with the outcome,” Moyes stated.
West Ham have won 12 of their 13 games in the opposition this season. Taking them really close to a first significant prize since the 1980 FA Cup.
Last season, the Sledges lost in the Europa Association semi-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt. Yet they are ready to go further this term.
The east Londoners haven’t arrived at a significant European last since they were beaten by Anderlecht in the 1976 Cup Victors Cup masterpiece.
Sunday’s victory over Manchester United effectively ensured West Ham’s Premier League survival.
But Moyes stated We have a very difficult game coming up. To say that we are already in the final is too humble of me. Tonight, Alkmaar demonstrated that they have some excellent players.”
AZ has reached their first European semi-final since 2005, despite being one of the smaller clubs in the Dutch Eredivisie.
This success is due to the club’s financial model, which is based on the “Moneyball” philosophy, which was popularized by their minority shareholder Billy Beane when he ran the Oakland A’s in baseball.
West Ham had zero desire to turn into the most recent survivors of AZ’s longshot story as they recuperated stunningly from Reijnders’ 41st-minute blindside.
Reijnders launched a powerful 25-yard drive that went over Alphonse Areola’s erroneous dive and bounced awkwardly.
Basel come back, but AZ’s hopes of a first victory were dashed in the 67th minute because they had never won in England.
Mathew Ryan’s attempt to clear made contact with the winger’s head as Jarrod Bowen leaped to head over from close range.
This resulted in a penalty kick that Benrahma converted and smashed past the AZ goalkeeper.
In the 76th minute, after Paquet’s header was stopped on the line by the raucous capacity crowd,
Antonio stabbed in from close range to give West Ham the lead.
Fiorentina started to lead the pack in the 25th moment at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. When Cristiano Biraghi’s corner was flicked on by Lucas Martinez Quarta and Arthur Cabral jumped with an impeccably positioned header.
The Brazilian forward’s seventh Europa Conference League goal this season made him the tournament’s leading scorer, at the expense of his former club.
Basel is a disheartening fifth in the Swiss Super Association and has never arrived at a European last.
But in the 71st minute.
After a flowing play that ended with Andy Diouf’s clinical finish into the far corner from the edge of the area, they got an equalizer.
Darian Males, a loan player for Inter Milan. Set up Zeki Amdouni for a predatory goal in the third minute of extra time. Giving Basel the chance to become the first Swiss team to reach a European final.