There has been a shock late boost for West Ham as Lyon confirmed this evening that star player Lucas Paqueta is out of the Europa League clash.
After a number of blows for West Ham boss David Moyes ahead of the quarter-final second leg there was some welcome news from the camp of Thursday night’s opponents.
West Ham will be missing Kurt Zouma through injury and Aaron Cresswell through suspension for the last eight decider.
All the talk from Lyon in the build-up was that four key players; Tanguy Ndombele, Houssem Aouar, Thiago Mendes and goalkeeper Anthony Lopes were serious doubts.
But tonight, on the eve of the match, there really has been a shock late boost for West Ham as Lyon have confirmed star player Lucas Paqueta is out.
Shock late boost for West Ham as Lyon confirm star player Lucas Paqueta is out of Europa League clash
The Brazilian playmaker was head and shoulders Lyon’s best and most influential player in the first leg having more touches of the ball than any other player on the pitch in the opposition’s half.
And Lyon have tonight confirmed out of the blue that Paqueta will miss the game with injury as well as ‘keeper Lopes.
“Lucas Paqueta and Anthony Lopes are missing through injury for Lyon v West Ham,” Lyon’s official Twitter posted online on Wednesday night.
Ironically Paqueta and Lopes are the two players picked out by West Ham’s French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola last week as the star men the Hammers must take care of if they hoped to progress.
This is potentially huge for West Ham, especially with Moyes welcoming back Manuel Lanzini in that same crucial role for the Hammers.
The tie is delicately balanced at 1-1 after a first leg in which West Ham played with 10 men for the entirety of the second half.
West Ham or Lyon know they will face either Eintracht Frankfurt or Barcelona – who also drew 1-1 last week – in the semi-final.
It is a real shame West Ham can’t field their strongest possible side tomorrow night.
But West Ham need to focus on the fact Lyon could not beat them despite having a man more for a total of 53 minutes in last week’s tussle.
Let’s see how they handle the Hammers 11 v 11.