UEFA have confirmed that star West Ham duo Declan Rice and Manuel Lanzini face a Europa League ban as the Hammers gear up for Sevilla.
We are now just a day away from West Ham’s biggest match for 16 years as David Moyes’s side welcome Sevilla to the London Stadium on Thursday night.
West Ham must turn around a narrow 1-0 deficit in the huge Europa League last 16 second leg clash.
But two key players will be walking a disciplinary tightrope in the all or nothing match.
After the first leg last week we reported that two absolutely key West Ham stars were facing the prospect of quarter-final bans in Europa League second leg clash against Sevilla.
Changes in UEFA disciplinary rules over the years have led to some confusion over how the suspension system works.
Hammers News reported last week that players booked three times from the Europa League group stages up to and including the quarter-final stage get a one-match ban.
West Ham will benefit from that this week because Sevilla danger-man Lucas Ocampos will be suspended for the second leg at the London Stadium following his yellow card after that flashpoint with West Ham star Rice in the last game.
Lanzini was also booked in that game.
UEFA confirm star West Ham duo face Europa League ban as Hammers gear up for Sevilla
And now in the West Ham v Sevilla ‘match press kit’ made available for the media by UEFA, it confirms star Hammers duo Rice and Lanzini face a Europa League ban for the quarter-final first leg if they are booked against Sevilla.
Rice and Lanzini were both booked in the Europa League group stages as West Ham qualified for the last 16 by topping Group H.
And the key midfield pair were both booked in last Thursday night’s first leg in Seville too.
That means should either pick up a booking as West Ham desperately fight to turn the tie around in the second leg, they will be suspended for the first leg of the quarter-final – should the Hammers qualify.
In an ideal world with a deeper, better squad, Moyes would not even have to worry about the situation.
But losing either would be a big blow if West Ham do qualify.
West Ham – and Rice in particular given the position he plays – cannot afford to tread on eggshells in the second leg.
So it may be a case that Moyes tells his players not to change their approach as a result of the yellow card situation and worries about this particular “suspension bridge” if and when he has to cross it.
West Ham wasted more golden chances in the defeat in Seville – Lanzini among them.
But the Hammers looked good in victory against Aston Villa and Rice was back to his imperious best ahead of the Sevilla game.
This is undoubtedly West Ham’s biggest football match since for nearly two decades.
Let’s hope for a magical night.
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