Uncategorised UEL: Boniface On Target As Leverkusen Beat West Ham

Super Eagles forward Victor Boniface returnes back on the scoresheet as his header sealed a first leg UEFA Europa League quarterfinal victory for Bayer Leverkusen against West Ham United on Thursday.

Boniface who missed the AFCON 2023 with the Super Eagles few days to the commencement of the competition due to injury came off the bench and scored the second goal of the game to help Bayer Leverkusen extend their unbeaten streak.

The Hammers bravely held off the opposition for eighty-three minutes until Jonas Hoffman, a substitute, eventually beat custodian Lukasz Fabianski.

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Even though they would be playing an undefeated team in the second leg at the London Stadium next week, a one-goal deficit would have given David Moyes’ team some optimism.

Unfortunately, though, West Ham’s chances of making it to a third straight European semi-final were severely diminished when Victor Boniface, a second substitute, headed home Hofmann’s cross in stoppage time.

The challenge facing the east Londoners is made even more difficult by Lucas Paqueta’s yellow card, which eliminates him from the second leg.

The Hammers, who were without suspended defensive midfield stalwart Edson Alvarez and injured top scorer Jarrod Bowen, were nearly destroyed in the seventh minute when Josip Stanisic’s erroneous effort was deflected goalward by Patrik Schick, but it went straight to Fabianski.

Moments later, though, Michail Antonio produced the finest chance of the first half by outpacing Jonathan Tah on the left wing, giving Leverkusen a taste of West Ham’s ability to counterattack.

The strong forward squared the ball to Mohammed Kudus, but Matej Kovar easily stopped the Ghanaian winger’s first goal.

But with much of West Ham confined to their own penalty area, Fabianski turned aside Jeremie Frimpong’s curler and then deflected Exequiel Palacios’s drive over.

In addition to earning Paqueta a booking for his too aggressive challenge on Amine Adli (the Brazilian avoided a red card check), the encounter on the touchline also resulted in a minor altercation. It’s possible that Fabianski anticipated a hectic evening, and he was correct as he made crucial stops to thwart risky attempts by Edmond Tapsoba, Alejandro Grimaldo, and Shick. Emerson Palmieri was given a yellow card early in the second half for catching Adli on the ankle; as a result, the left-back would miss the return match the following week.

Former Manchester City player Frimpong fired a low, angled drive straight at Fabianski, but the 38-year-old Pole produced an incredible stop to deflect Shick’s automatic header over the bar.

But when a corner was only partially cleared with seven minutes remaining, Hoffman’s shot bounced through a sea of white shirts and into the net, and Fabianski was helpless to stop it.

In a last-gasp attempt, Tomas Soucek cleared two Tah attempts off the line before Boniface headed the second, devastating the Hammers.

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