Bowen bullseye ensures Hammers Euro progress

West Ham United v AEK Larnaca – UEFA Europa Conference League Round of Sixteen, Second Leg – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 4-0 AEK Larnaca

(West Ham United won 6-0 on aggregate)

West Ham United booked a UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final place with a comfortable 4-0 victory over AEK Larnaca at the London Stadium. The East Londoners progressing 6-0 on aggregate.

Putting their Premier League woes to one side, David Moyes expressed the importance of finishing the job they had started in Cyprus a week previous: “It’s a good opportunity to get some more momentum and reach the quarter-finals,” the Scotsman explained.

“It’s something we’ve worked really hard for last year, finishing seventh in the league, which gave us the chance to be in the Conference League. We’re enjoying it, we’ve enjoyed the trips to Europe, we enjoyed the result last week.

“We’ve got a job to do on Thursday night to ensure we get the job done and finish it off, and if we can do that we’d reach another quarter-final in European competition two years in a row. It’s important, it really is.”

Moyes made six changes to the side that started Sunday’s Premier League draw with Aston Villa at the London Stadium with Gianluca Scamacca Ben Johnson, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals handed an opportunity to impress by the Hammers boss.

And it was Scamacca who was a whisker away from extending the East Londoners’ aggregate advantage with a fizzing, angled effort in the opening minutes.

But the Cypriot resistance was breached just before the twenty-minute mark. Scamacca tip-toed inside. AEK goalkeeper, Kenan Piric was left embarrassed as the Italians half-hit shot squirmed underneath him and into the net.

Scamacca was denied a quickfire second by an assistant’s flag. Meanwhile, AEK’s celebrations were cut short following a lengthy VAR check after Nikolic beat Alphonse Areola having dashed clear.

But West Ham was very much already in the ascendancy. Pablo Fornals slapped the face of the crossbar. AEK’s issues mounted when the referee, Georgi Kabakov, was invited to have another look at Gustav Ledes’ foul on Fornals. The outcome, his yellow card was upgraded to a red just before the interval.

West Ham took just over a minute to extend their advantage further. Jarrod Bowen squeezed home from an acute angle after Piric had saved Scamacca’s initial attempt.

Bowen soon added another, meeting Aaron Cresswell’s cross with a glancing header from close range and elevating him to West Ham’s record goalscorer in European competitions, moving ahead of Michail Antonio, David Cross and Johnny Byrne.

Substitute Divin Mubama is hot property at West Ham. The Newham-born 18-year-old arrived to add gloss to the scoreline with his first goal for the club. Cresswell again the provider, this time from the corner flag.

West Ham United returns to Premier League action on Sunday, April 2 when Southampton visits the London Stadium (2pm).

West Ham United: Aréola, Johnson, Zouma (Laing 69′), Ogbonna, Cresswell, Soucek (Potts 69′), Lucas Paquetá (Cornet 54′), Bowen (Mubama 54′), Lanzini, Fornals, Scamacca (Ings 54′) Subs not used: Benrahma, Kehrer, Aguerd, Emerson, Rice, Hegyi (GK), Anang (GK)

Booked: Mubama (foul)

Goals: Scamacca 20′, Bowen 47′, 49′, Mubama 65′

AEK Larnaca: Pirić, Casas, Tomović, Gonzalez (Capt)(Christoforou 46′), Englezou, Ledes, Sanjurjo (Pons 66′), Mamas, Jakoliš (Altman 66′), Nikolić (Lopes 66′), Naoum (Faraj 81′) Subs not used: Toumpas (GK), Stylianidis (GK), Tričkovski, Miličević, Rosales, H.Andreou

Booked: None

Sent-Off: Ledes (foul)

Goals: None

Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bu)

Assistants: Martin Margaritov and Diyan Valkov (both Bul)

Fourth Official: Radoslav Gidzhenov (Bul)

Video Assistant Referee: Fedayi (San Sui)

Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Lionel Tschudi (Sui)

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk