Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele denied West Ham a famous win over Lyon as his strike saw the sides play out a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium.
Ndombele, who is on loan at Lyon from Spurs, scored the equalizer for the French side after Jarrod Bowen put the Hammers ahead early in the second half.
Lyon have the advantage going into the second leg on April 14, however, David Moyes’ men can be proud of the result after spending the second half a light man.
Aaron Cresswell was sent off for firing Moussa Dembele on the stroke of half-time, but referee Felix Zwayer’s decision did not sit well with Hammers boss Moyes being shown a yellow card for his protests at half-time.
Former West Ham player Alvin Martin said in a commentary for talkSPORT: “What I don’t understand is that I think he walks away from the goal… Zouma, I thought he was closer, but on the replay it seems to stop, it should continue.
“It’s a major turning point in the game, there’s no doubt about it. This game wasn’t difficult to officiate, but it made it even more difficult. He created problems of his own making.
“Dembele is not on goal, Cresswell touched him but maybe the ref could have given a yellow card and I don’t think there would have been an argument from either side. other of the managers.”
Martin added: “For me it was an all day yellow.
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“Two players came down for Lyon earlier and the referee stopped the game for them. He had no right to stop the game. But as soon as he does it sets a precedent for the game, but when Bowen falls, why doesn’t he do the same?
Nevertheless, a draw keeps West Ham’s dream of a place in the semi-finals, against Barcelona or Eintracht Frankfurt alive and well.
It promises to be a spicy second leg in France’s culinary capital after tempers sometimes boiled over, while Dembele’s wink, which looked like Cristiano Ronaldo’s wink after Wayne was sent off Rooney at the 2006 World Cup, after Cresswell’s red card did not go unnoticed in the ranks of the Hammers.
Lyon may be having an erratic season domestically – they are currently ninth in Ligue 1 – but they are unbeaten in this competition and knocked out Porto in the round of 16.
They are also seasoned European campaigners and soon began to showcase their darker arts repertoire, infuriating West Ham when Jérôme Boateng and Ndombele both stayed on the ground after no foul was committed.
German referee Zwayer seemed caught up in their antics, stopping play each time with West Ham looking to attack.
Then, in first-half stoppage time and with West Ham’s growing frustration, Cresswell suddenly found himself chasing Dembele and dragging him back to the edge of the box.
Kurt Zouma was also on the scene as cover, but Zwayer decided Cresswell was the last man and pulled out a straight red card, much to the delight of Dembele’s wink and the dismay of David Moyes.
The Hammers manager’s fluency in German is not known, but he obviously expressed his feelings quite clearly when Zwayer booked him as he rushed through the tunnel.
But West Ham’s sense of unfairness saw them take the lead seven minutes into the second half.
Michail Antonio’s burst wreaks havoc on the Lyon defense and Pablo Fornals tries to sneak past Bowen.
Boateng missed his attempt to control the ball and it rolled behind Bowen, but the winger managed to collect it, spin and clip the ball over Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes via a deflection from the sliding Boateng.
However, Lyon equalized in the 66th minute when Ndombele entered the box to shoot from six yards out after a cross from substitute Tete hit Ryan Fredericks.
There was a sour note in the game after a pitch invader – the game’s second – jumped off the pitch and actually stopped a promising Hammers attack before it was escorted away.
Dembele headed in as West Ham saw a nervous eight minutes of stoppage time to give themselves a fighting chance in seven days.
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