From our special correspondent in London,
“Don’t be afraid, the island is full of noise”, warns the huge bell installed near the London Stadium, in the Olympic village of London-2012. OL learned this the hard way on Thursday, during a sometimes crazy second period, during which they swayed before bringing back a draw (1-1) from their quarter-final first leg against West Ham.
A Lyon too cautious to hurt
Although OL had the ball more than 60% of the time, they almost never gave themselves the means to hurt the solid English defence. Systematically outnumbered and lacking in speed, Lyon’s offensives have proven to be predictable for too long for Kurt Zouma’s band. There was indeed a miss from Moussa Dembélé on a dangerous cross from Lucas Paqueta (10th), but nothing really sharp until additional time in the first period. The moment chosen by Houssem Aouar to sign an inspired opening for Moussa Dembélé, hooked by the left side Aaron Cresswell, directly expelled (45th + 3).
OL are still scuttled
Unsurprisingly, David Moyes immediately laid two good old lines of four players tighter at the level of their penalty area, with poor Michail Antonio, condemned not to touch the slightest drinking ball at the tip. In this context, and given their offensive caution, OL seemed at least safe from conceding the slightest chance in the second period.
However, in the 52nd minute, the disaster was collective, between a desperate (and unconvincing) attempt to strike from Lucas Paqueta from 30 meters, a loss of the ball then from Malo Gusto, and two totally missed interventions from Jérôme Boateng. Jarrod Bowen therefore allowed the Hammers to take the lead to everyone’s surprise and in a stadium in fusion (1-0, 52nd). Fortunately for OL, Peter Bosz put an end to the ordeal of his German defender shortly after, never reassuring for 64 minutes.
Tetê still plays the savior
From his first breakthrough, in the 64th minute, Mateus Tetê put more speed than Romain Faivre until then. Decisive on Sunday by scoring the winning goal against Angers (3-2), the Brazilian winger once again brought everything OL lacks on Thursday: sharpness and technical accuracy. On his second ball, he put Ben Johnson and Alphonse Areola to death, allowing Tanguy Ndombele to equalize (1-1, 66th). He’s not meant to stay in that joker costume for long.