West Ham vs AZ Alkmaar: when is UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final second leg - do away goals count?

West Ham will travel to AZ Alkmaar with a 2-1 lead in UEFA Europa Conference league semi-final

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West Ham were able to scramble a slender lead as they took on the Dutch outfit of AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final.

David Moyes’s hopes of leading West Ham to a European final were dramatically hanging by a thread when AZ Alkmaar’s Tijjani Reijnders netted the opening goal just before half-time. However the Hammers were awarded a second-half penalty with Said Benrahma making no mistake to even the scoreline. 15 minutes before the final whistle, Michail Antonio then hit the winner from close range to put the London side narrowly in front.

“We’ve got a narrow lead but nothing more than that,” Moyes said after the match. “The tie is very evenly balanced, there is very little in the game, if we were losing by a goal I wouldn’t be saying we were out of the tie. I’m pleased we’ve got ourselves in front, which is a big thing. It was a difficult night.

“I hugely believe we’ve got a big resilience here, through the club, through the team and we’ve needed it. We have a big job to do next week.”

Here is all you need to know about the next leg...

Said Benrahma celebrates scoring a penalty against AZ AlkmaarSaid Benrahma celebrates scoring a penalty against AZ Alkmaar
Said Benrahma celebrates scoring a penalty against AZ Alkmaar

When is AZ Alkmaar vs West Ham?

The Hammers will travel to AZ Alkmaar for the return leg on Thursday 18 May 2023. The match is set to kick-off at 8pm BST at the AFAS Stadion. The AFAS Stadium holds 19,500 people and bears the name of a Dutch software company but due to UEFA’s sponsorship regulations, the stadium is named AZ Stadion in European fixtures.

BT Sport will have all of the coverage from the Netherlands with coverage of the match starting at 7pm. BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate will both show the second-leg with fans able to stream the fixture through the BT Sport app and BT Sport website. Accounts for BT Sport cost from £29.99/month.

Do away goals count in UEFA Europa Conference League?

In the 2021/22 season, UEFA made the decision to scrap the away goal rule. To the dismay of many fans, goals that are scored away from home will not serve to break aggregate-goal ties after the 180 minutes have been played. The rule had been in place since 1965 and while the decision to change it was extremely controversial for many, UEFA made the change in order to make the second legs of ties more competitive.

If all scores are even at the end of the second leg, the match will then go into extra-time before a penalty shoot-out if no deciding goal has been scored following the additional 30 minutes.

At the time of the decision, the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965. However, the question of its abolition has been debated at various UEFA meetings over the last few years.

“The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage.

“There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored.”

“Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”