West Ham United’s quest for a first European title this century is alive and well following a 2-1 comeback win over AZ Alkmaar in the sides’ UEFA Europa Conference League semifinal first leg in London on Thursday.
AZ star Tijani Reijnders staked the visitors to a 1-0 lead with a strike from distance that fooled Alphonse Areola, and the Eredivisie side took that lead to halftime.
But Said Benrahma converted a second-half penalty and Michail Antonio cleaned up a mess in the six-yard box to put West Ham in front after 90 minutes ahead of a Thursday second leg in Alkmaar
Meanwhile, Swiss club FC Basel have even less European pedigree than West Ham, but that could be about to change after they stunned Serie A side Fiorentina.
Fiorentina took the lead in the 25th minute at the Stadio Artemio Franchi when Cristiano Biraghi’s corner was flicked on by Lucas Martinez Quarta and Arthur Cabral pounced with a perfectly placed header.
At the expense of his former club, the Brazilian forward’s seventh Europa Conference League goal this term made him the tournament’s leading scorer.
Basel are a disappointing fifth in the Swiss Super League and have never reached a European final.
But they snatched an equaliser in the 71st minute as a flowing move culminated with Andy Diouf’s clinical finish into the far corner from the edge of the area.
In the third minute of stoppage time, on-loan Inter Milan forward Darian Males teed up Zeki Amdouni for a predatory finish that leaves Basel on the verge of becoming the first Swiss club to reach a European final.