Europa League: Leverkusen keep treble bid on course as Roma and Marseille also advance

Jeremie Frimpong's last-minute equaliser against West Ham extends new Bundesliga champions' long unbeaten to 44 matches and sets up semi-final against Roma

Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong celebrates scoring against West Ham during their Europa League quarter-final second leg. Leverkusen advanced to the semi-finals 3-1 on aggregate. AFP
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Newly minted Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen stretched their unbeaten run this season to 44 matches with a last-gasp 1-1 draw against West Ham United to secure their place in the Europa League semi-finals.

Jeremie Frimpong struck in the 89th minute to cancel out Michael Antonio's early header and keep Xabi Alonso's side on course of a historic treble. They next face Roma, who saw off Italian rivals AC Milan 3-1 on aggregate, for a place in the Europa League final.

"The momentum was with West Ham. To be honest, we were not at our best in the first half. I'm happy to go through. In the Europa League you always have tough moments," Alonso said.

Leverkusen are into their second successive Europa League semi-final, while West Ham's exit means for only the third time in the 21st century, England will have no teams in the Champions League and Europa League last four.

Leverkusen's fairytale season shows no signs of ending. The German club secured a first Bundesliga crown last weekend with a 5-0 win over Werder Bremen and face second-tier Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final on May 25.

West Ham striker Michail Antonio felt his side were up against 14 players as they bowed out of the Europa League.

Antonio’s early header gave the Hammers hope of overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit and inflicting a first defeat of the season on Alonso’s side this season.

But the bustling striker claimed he did not get a decision all night from card-happy Spanish referee Jose Maria Sanchez and his two assistants.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re playing against 11 men, it feels like you’re playing against 13 or 14 including the two linos [referee's assistants],” Antonio told TNT Sports.

“You just have to keep pushing and try and make the decisions go your way. And they just weren’t. We had to keep playing our way and keep being professional.”

Roma see off AC Milan

At the Stadio Olimpico, Gianluca Mancini put Roma head from close-range in the 12th minute and Paulo Dybala doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute with a blistering strike.

Roma were reduced to 10 men in the 31st minute when Zeki Celik was dismissed for a foul on Milan forward Rafael Leao.

Matteo Gabbia got one back in the 85th minute, but his header was little consolation for Milan.

After losing last season's Europa League final against Sevilla, Roma are one step closer to finally winning the competition for the first time.

Roma, who won the Europa Conference League in 2022, are into their fifth European semi-final in the last seven seasons.

Marseille march on

In the south of France, Marseille were 4-2 winners in a penalty shoot-out against Benfica following the French side's 1-0 victory in a tie that finished 2-2 on aggregate.

Faris Moumbagna struck in the 79th minute, heading in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross to force extra-time.

In the shoot-out, Luis Henrique scored the winner for Jean-Louis Gasset's side after Benfica duo Angel Di Maria and Antonio Silva missed their kicks.

Updated: April 19, 2024, 4:10 AM