UEFA Europa League

Rice reveals Lyon trolling and Dembele wink inspired West Ham to Europa League semi-final

10:51 EAT 15/04/2022
Declan Rice Craig Dawson West Ham Europa League 2021-22
The Hammers are into the last four after silencing their doubters to secure a memorable 3-0 victory on French soil

Declan Rice says online trolling from Lyon and a sly wink from Moussa Dembele from the first leg of West Ham’s Europa League quarter-final encounter inspired David Moyes’ men.

The Hammers were held to a 1-1 draw on home soil in the first leg of their showdown with Ligue 1 opponents.

They were reduced to 10 men in that contest – with Dembele contributing to Aaron Cresswell’s questionable red card – and made Lyon eat their words in the return date when securing a stunning 3-0 victory on French soil.

Rice mocks Lyon and Dembele

The Hammers were always in control against Lyon and established a two-goal lead by half-time through Craig Dawson and Rice.

Jarrod Bowen added a third early in the second-half, with Moyes’ men delivering the perfect response to online and on-field antics from their opponents.

Rice posted a “this aged well” message on social media afterwards in response to an ill-judged tweet from Lyon in which they suggested there was no way that they would not go through.

West Ham’s captain told BT Sport: "I feel like if you can’t get up for these games you shouldn’t be playing football. The roar from the warm-up was spine-tingling. It gives you the fire in your belly to go out and perform.

"There were a few incentives tonight for us to go out and win, Dembele winking in the first leg and their Twitter admin saying they don’t see how they don’t go through and those things come back to bite you. We put in the performance and West Ham in the semis, what more do you want."

Who will West Ham face in the semi-finals?

After making their way past Lyon, West Ham would have been expecting to face Barcelona in the last four.

The Liga heavyweights are out, however, after a shock 3-2 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt at Camp Nou, with Rice and co now readying themselves for a meeting with Bundesliga opponents.

"Frankfurt in the semis? I did German in school but gave it up after two weeks! For them to beat Barca they’re a top side," Rice said.

"Whether it was a poor night from Barca, they still had to score three against them. We saw them against Betis and they looked a real strong side. We’ll be ready for whatever, two games again, we know what we want and that’s to reach the final and we’ll do anything we can to get there.”

Further reading