Obviously I write this with a bit of disappointment, but I’ll try and give it a go.
First up, we probably put out our best side, with a patched up Zuma back in defence. No Coufal, which probably doesn’t bode well for him in the summer if Johnson is ahead of him.
Anyway, our biggest game for 46 years, home in a European semi. Exciting as it gets. Accompanied by my wife. We are playing a team mid table in an arguably worse league. Easy win for the Hammers right ? Yeah, Barcelona aren’t the team they once were……… We are massive…………… Light show, Fireworks, Tifo’s from both side pregame. This is what it all about……………”record scratch noise“
One nil down in under a minute. This is not the script we were looking for. A really simple cross and finish in under 60 seconds could take away our whole season.
And then we huffed and puff and were probably the better team in first half, and Antonio’s long overdue goal after the longest 20 minutes in football history put us back on an even keel.
Bowen had a chance earlier having been put straight through but popped it onto the post. Painful.
Anyway one one at half time and everyone is talking about 3-1’s and all sorts.
Not to be , within 10 minutes our German visitors strolled though our back line again to score the decisive goal in this leg. Kamada was excellent throughout the game and just found himself in the right place from an Areola parry.And after that they controlled the game and exhibited excellent game management to get the game over the line.
Bowen had a chance with an overhead kick going off the bar in the dying seconds. That may have been harsh on the visitors, but I would have taken it.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the away support. Despite the horror stories flying around about the visiting fans on social media, I thought they were fantastic, and they made the atmosphere ramp up another few percent ! Might be a few fines coming their way for flares, etc but fair play to them.
So we now have to condense our whole season down to 90 minutes away from home with a one goal deficit. Some players need to step up. Fornals was quiet, Souchek and Antonio were wasteful and Declan was frustrated and maybe seeing the gulf between his team mates and the opposition (and his team mates and himself?). Quick shout out to the much maligned Said Benrahma. He looked amazing when he came on and just clipped the post with a long range effort. More of this please.
Put the kids out against Arsenal this weekend, and rest up for next week. It may mean no European football at all next year but when will we get this chance again? We seem to play better under pressure so lets ramp it up !
MOTM (Kamada – Frankfurt)