Capitalk Reporter |  1 year ago | sport

Kadewere seeks redemption in London.

WAITING FOR THE RAIN... At the London Stadium tonight, Tino Kadewere will be hunting for his first goal in Europe as Olympique Lyon prepares for the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final tie against West Ham.

ZIMBABWE international Tino Kadewere is set for his sixth Europa League appearance tonight when Olympique Lyon faces the English Premiership football side, West Ham, in the first leg of the quarter-finals at the London Stadium. The 26-year-old forward was part of the Lyon squad that traveled to England yesterday for the tie. Kadewere is seeking to regain his best form after experiencing a dip in his second season in the French top-flight football league.

With Karl Toko Ekambi and Rayan Cherki out with thigh and metatarsal injuries, respectively, Lyon manager Peter Bosz should be looking to explore all the available options. The competition for places in the final third behind the club’s chief marksman, Moussa Dembele, remains fierce, with Kadewere, Romain Faivre, Houssem Aouar, and new Brazilian import Tete all looking to play against David Moyes’ Hammers tonight.

But Kadewere has not been able to command a regular starting place of late. Since his return from injury, he has been coming from the bench in the few matches he has been given a run.

He has made five appearances in the European competition this season and is still to open his scoring account, having featured for 198 minutes in total since making his Europa League debut against Danish side Brondby IF in September last year.

Apparently, Kadewere has struggled to reproduce the form that made him a darling of the Lyon fans last season.

Kadewere appeared to fit in seamlessly in his debut season at Lyon, with 10 goals and three assists in 33 matches. But after fighting off a series of injuries and recovering from surgery on his leg, things have never been the same.

Goals and opportunities to play have been few and far between. He has made 13 appearances, most of them coming from the bench, in Lyon’s 30 French Ligue 1 games. Kadewere has only one French Ligue 1 goal to his name this season.

His loss of form has also coincided with Lyon’s poor fortunes overall. The seven-time French champions have had one of their worst outings this year and are currently sitting ninth in the Ligue 1 log standings.

Despite playing cameo roles since returning from injury, European football nights have been a consolation for Kadewere, who played five of the eight matches in the Europa League.

He featured in the last 25 minutes when Lyon was held 1-1 by visiting Portuguese outfit Porto to book their place in the quarter-finals, courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate win. They are unbeaten in the Europa League this season, having topped Group A ahead of Rangers, Sparta Prague, and Brondby before defeating Porto over two legs in the round of 16.

This will be the first-ever European meeting between Lyon and West Ham. The Hammers’ memorable progress to the last eight came with a 2-1 aggregate win over Spanish six-time winners Sevilla. The Moyes' Hammers have enjoyed impressive European nights at London Stadium this season as the team has returned to the continental stage in style.

They topped Group H with a game to spare after fine home wins over Austrians Rapid Vienna and Belgian Cup holders KRC Genk, then overcame Sevilla on an unforgettable night, courtesy of goals from Tomas Soucek and Andriy Yarmolenko.

But Lyon has a brilliant record against English teams. They are currently unbeaten in six matches against English sides, having won four and drawn two.

They had two wins each against Everton and Manchester City and most recently eliminated City in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2019-20. This will be West Ham’s fifth quarter-final tie in European competition, progressing from three of the previous four.

Lyon has an extensive list of injuries, as Maxence Caqueret (knee), Léo Dubois (suspension), and Sinaly Diomandé (ankle) are also missing because of knocks. However, Lyon manager, Bosz, will field an impressive lineup in an attempt to extend their unbeaten streak against English opponents to seven games, dating back to 2013.

If he gets the thumbs up from Bosz tonight, Kadewere is set to face English Premiership opponents for the first time.

A possible clash with European giants Barcelona in the semi-finals is looming if the Catalan side progress from their last eight tie against German side Frankfurt.