West Ham 4-1 Gent (agg: 5-2): Hammers come from behind to ease through
Thursday, April 20, 2023
West Ham blew Gent away to reach the Europa Conference League semi-finals, producing a superb second-leg display at the London Stadium despite conceding first.
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West Ham recovered from going a goal down to reach the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals in style with an ultimately emphatic win against Gent.
26': Cuypers half-volleys Gent into lead
37': Antonio equalises with thumping header
55': Paquetá penalty after Okumu handball
58': Rice makes it three after superb run
63': Antonio wraps it up with his second
Match in brief: Hammers turn on the style to progress
With the tie level at 1-1 from the first leg, Gent struck first through Hugo Cuypers after he found himself on the end of Matisse Samoise's off-target effort and half-volleyed into the net despite Nayef Aguerd's attempts to prevent the ball crossing the line.
The lead lasted just over ten minutes, however. Jarrod Bowen fizzed in a free-kick from the right, and Michail Antonio powered a header towards goal to leave Gent goalkeeper Davy Roef with no chance.
The hosts picked up where they had left off after half-time, Bowen and Antonio both hitting the post with the latter passage of play ending in a penalty courtesy of a Joseph Okumu handball, Lucas Paquetá coolly converting.
Declan Rice then scored the pick of the goals with a wonderful driving run from deep followed by a cool finish to effectively end the game as a contest.
Antonio put the gloss on proceedings with a fine curling finish for his second to take the Hammers into a second successive European semi-final.
Lynsey Hooper, match reporter
Having fought back from a goal down to go in 1-1 at half-time, West Ham's handbrake well and truly came off in the second half. Three goals were scored in a nine-minute spell, Paquetá's penalty being followed by a dazzling run and finish from Rice, before a precise fourth from Antonio to finish off Gent. West Ham fans erupted and enjoyed every remaining kick knowing their side were through to a European semi-final for a second successive season.
David Moyes, West Ham coach: "It's a brilliant achievement by all the players. It's special, it really is. We'll look forward to the semi-finals. Once we got the second goal we kept our foot to the pedal and got some more goals."
Hugo Cuypers, Gent forward: "We played three good halves over two legs but the fourth one was too much for us and we lost control of the game. We conceded goals one after another in quick succession."
Carlton Cole, BT Sport
"The way West Ham turned it around in the second half made my heart flutter. They knew what they had to do and they came out after half-time and did it."
- West Ham are still unbeaten in all 12 European matches this season (W11 D1).
- The Hammers have lost only one of their last nine games in all competitions (W5 D3).
- This defeat ended Gent's nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W5 D4).
- This was Gent's first defeat by English opponents since losing 1-0 at home to West Ham in September 1964.
West Ham: Aréola; Coufal, Zouma (Kehrer 69), Aguerd, Emerson; Rice (Downes 69), Souček, Paquetá; Benrahma (Fornals 79), Antonio (Ings 70), Bowen (Cornet 79)
Gent: Roef; Samoise, Okumu, Piątkowski, Núrio Fortuna; Castro-Montes (Fofana 85), Kums, De Sart (Odjidja-Ofoe 70); Hong (Depoitre 70); Cuypers (Godeau 85), Orban (Tissoudali 70)
West Ham face AZ Alkmaar in the semi-finals on Thursday 11 and 18 May, playing the first leg at home.