West Ham United 1-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

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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.

Fast start but tired West Ham out of ideas

That Bowen’s name was cheered loudest when it was read out before kick-off said everything about the England man’s importance on a night when another key forward, Lucas Paqueta, was missing through suspension.

Bowen, who missed the first leg, showed his worth with the brilliant cross that invited Antonio’s header.

However, arguably Mexico midfielder Edson Alvarez, who also missed the first leg, had a bigger impact as he helped his side keep Leverkusen penned in their own half for long spells of an opening period West Ham dominated.

Kovar kept out a far-post Bowen effort with his legs, denied the excellent Mohammed Kudus with a low save and caught an Antonio header when the Hammers forward would have been better letting Tomas Soucek, unmarked behind him, take the opportunity instead.

Yet, much like in this competition two years ago, when West Ham conceded early in the first leg against Frankfurt and had Cresswell sent off in the second, the path in front of them was not smooth.

Having lost Kostantinos Mavropanos in the first leg, another central defender picked up an injury in this one as Nayef Aguerd stretched to win possession off Patrik Schick.

Without Paqueta and fellow Brazilian Emerson, plus England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, Moyes was denied the options that might have injected fresh impetus into his team, hard as they battled, while striking duo Danny Ings and Divin Mubama were left on the bench.

Now attention will start to turn to the Scot, who many fans feel has not made the most of the players at his disposal, even though results have largely been far better than any other period in recent memory.

Leverkusen set up Roma revenge mission

The visitors’ first-half strife gave more importance to the interval introduction of Victor Boniface, whose impact a week earlier triggered the late Leverkusen onslaught that wrecked all the hard work from West Ham that had gone before it.

In the end, it was that eight-minute period in Germany that proved decisive.

Having been knocked out in the semi-finals by Roma last season Leverkusen now have the chance of revenge.

Given their form this season and the Italians’ impressive resurgence under Jose Mourinho’s replacement as manager, club legend Daniele de Rossi, it should be an engrossing contest.

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