Reggae Boy Michail Antonio Scores Winner for West Ham in UEFA Europa Conference League Semi-Final
Reggae Boy Michail Antonio Scores Crucial Goal For West Ham
West Ham took a significant step towards their first European final in 47 years after securing a 2-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their Conference League semi-final on Thursday.
David Moyes’ men fell behind to Tijjani Reijnders’ first-half goal, but a second-half comeback, including a Said Benrahma penalty and a late Michail Antonio winner, gave them the advantage ahead of the return fixture in the Netherlands on May 18.
FC Basel also put themselves in a strong position in the other semi-final with a thrilling 2-1 triumph over Fiorentina. Both teams have their sights set on making history in the competition.
West Ham have been impressive in the tournament so far, winning 12 of their 13 games, and they are on the brink of their first major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 1980. Last season, they lost in the Europa League semi-finals, but they are well-placed to go further this year.
Their win against Manchester United last weekend secured their Premier League status and leaves them free to focus on their European campaign. However, Moyes was cautious, saying that the second leg against AZ will be a tough test.
AZ, despite being one of the smaller clubs in the Dutch Eredivisie, have defied expectations to reach their first European semi-final since 2005. Their success is down to the smart financial model employed by the club’s owners, who use the ‘Moneyball’ philosophy popularised by Billy Beane during his time at baseball’s Oakland A’s.
West Ham’s victory ensures they remain favourites to reach the final, but they will need to be at their best to see off AZ’s challenge.
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