Europe: Europa League
2 - 0
(0 - 0)
West Ham
J. Hofmann (83), V. Boniface (90)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Leverkusen's cavalry strike late in dominant win over West Ham

Xabi Alonso's side secured a 2-0 first-leg win in their Europa League quarter final meeting with West Ham this evening. Super-subs Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface bagged crucial late goals.

The game sprung to life around the 10 minute mark as chances fell the way of both sides in succession. Matej Kovar made a routine save to deny Kudus on the break, while Amine Adli forced Lukas Fabianski into tipping his curling effort around the upright. Alejandro Grimaldo followed up with a dipping strike as West Ham's Polish shot-stopper reacted smartly at full stretch.

The East London based club remained pinned deep inside their own box for the majority of the half. Die Werkself dominance almost told on the half hour mark - Patrik Schick unfurled a rasping effort that required another savvy Fabianski intervention. Tapsoba subsequently tried his hand from range but met the firm gloves of West Ham's busy goalkeeper. Leverkusen unleashed a barrage of 17 attempts compared to the visitor's 1 before the break. 

As was the case with Lucas Paqueta's booking in the first-half, Emerson's yellow card also means the full-back will be suspended for the second-leg. Xabi Alonso's men kept the pressure on, but clear chances remained few and far between. West Ham's stout defending remained dogged and determined. Frimpong and Stanišić's evenings came to an end in place of Tella and Hincapié.

Entering the final quarter, Schick's header met the seemingly impenetrable force of Fabianski. Yet, the twist was still to come. Alonso's next substitution would prove to be a masterstroke. With Leverkusen's 9th corner of the night, Boniface's effort rebounded to Jonas Hofmann. His shot mazed through a hoarded box; nestling in the lower left corner. The impact duo featured again in stoppage time - Hofmann hooking the ball onto the head of Boniface who settled it at 2-0. Advantage with Die Werkself ahead of the return leg in London.

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