Prime News Ghana

West Ham exit Europa League with Leverkusen draw

By Vincent Ashitey
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West Ham were knocked out of the Europa League as Jeremie Frimpong's late leveller denied them the consolation of becoming the first team to beat new German champions Bayer Leverkusen this season.

Michail Antonio's 13th-minute header at London Stadium gave David Moyes' side the perfect start in their attempts to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg.

But despite dominating the opening period they were unable to prize open the Leverkusen defence a second time.

Jarrod Bowen came closest when his far-post effort was saved by Matej Kovar but Xabi Alonso's side improved significantly after the break.

Frimpong blazed over after running clear of the defence, but made amends in the 89th minute with a shot that took a significant deflection off Aaron Cresswell and flew past Lukasz Fabianski.

The goal preserved Leverkusen's incredible unbeaten record since a 3-0 reverse at Bochum on 27 May last year, 328 days ago, and booked a last-four meeting with Brighton's conquerors Roma, who knocked out AC Milan.

In truth, a tiring West Ham had run out of ideas before Frimpong's equaliser.

They were offered a warm ovation from their fans though, a mark of appreciation for a memorable three-year chapter of European adventures which brought them their first trophy in 43 years last season when they won the Europa Conference League.

They do have an outside chance of qualifying for a fourth consecutive European season but they would need to improve significantly on their recent Premier League form, while the future of manager David Moyes, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is uncertain.