Hammers top the group after Rapid are rattled

Brian Jeeves

West Ham United v SK Rapid Wien – UEFA Europa League – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 2-0 SK Rapid Wien

West Ham United made it two UEFA Europa League Group H victories out of two by easing past Austrian outfit, SK Rapid Wien at the London Stadium.

The East Londoners were looking to build on an impressive triumph over Dinamo Zagreb in the opening round of fixtures.

Alphonse Areola and Mark Noble – the latter making his 550th career appearance – took their place amongst seven changes to David Moyes’ starting line-up from Saturday’s win at Leeds United: “It’s what we worked really hard for last season,” the Scotsman explained.

“We’re going into the game and treating it like every other game.

“Obviously, Rapid Vienna have not maybe started in their league as well as they’d have liked, but they have European experience over longer periods, and we’re new to that.

“They have a bit more experience, but with the form we’re in at the moment, the way the squad’s working and how well we’re doing, I’m positive we can get a good result.”

Declan Rice was agonisingly close to handing the hosts an early advantage. His glancing header coming back off the foot of an upright after Aaron Cresswell had delivered from the left – Issa Diop unable to profit from the pieces.

West Ham was enjoying plenty of the ball – the Austrians content to sit tight in numbers and frustrate. Craig Dawson became the second Hammers man to strike the woodwork – his header cannoning to safety following a deep Cresswell flag-kick. But just before the half-hour mark, the home side moved ahead. Rice arrived completely unmarked to meet Michail Antonio’s centre. Undeniably, the goals had been coming – the visitors now forced to rethink their game plan.

GOAL – Declan Rice (Rob Newell CameraSport)

Kelvin Arase provided Rapid’s better moments. Meanwhile, Dawson again headed over as West Ham continued to dominate.

The tie fell a little flat after the restart. Nikola Vlasic and Noble offered up opportunities – Moyes threw Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini and Tomas Soucek into the fray in a bid to rectify the situation.

The Austrians believed they had been presented with an opportunity to level the tie – Ben Johnson adjudged to have tripped substitute, Marco Grull. Germany referee, Tobias Stieler rethinking his penalty decision after advice over the 23-year-olds’ theatricals from VAR.

Bowen should have killed the contest but blazed over after rounding keeper, Paul Gartler following a defensive mix-up. Meanwhile, Pablo Fornals drew a superb save from Gartler as the Hammers finished the tie strongly.

Said Benrahma added gloss with a neat, right-footed finish deep into stoppage-time – Bowen fashioning the opening.

Said Benrahma adds West Ham United’s second goal against SK Rapid Wien at the London Stadium (Rob Newell (CameraSport)

West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, October 3 when Brentford visit the London Stadium (2pm).

West Ham United: Alphonse Areola, Aaron Cresswell, Andriy Yarmolenko (Pablo Fornals 75’), Michail Antonio (Jarrod Bowen 61’), Nikola Vlasic (Manuel Lanzini 61’), Craig Dawson, Mark Noble (Capt) (Tomas Soucek 61’), Said Benrahma, Issa Diop, Ben Johnson, Declan Rice Subs not used: Lukasz Fabianski (GK), Darren Randolph (GK), Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Alex Kral, Aji Alese, Jamal Baptiste

Booked: Issa Diop (foul)
Goals: Declan Rice 29’, Said Benrahma 90+4′

SK Rapid Wien: Paul Gartler, Emanuel Alwu, Kevin Wimmer, Christoph Knasmullner, Taxiarchis Fountas (Marco Grull 61’), Srdjan Grahovac (Capt), Dejan Petrovic (Robert Ljubicic 81’), Ercan Kara (Filip Stojkovic 61’), Leo Greimi (Kohya Kitagawa. 61’), Maximilian Ullmann, Kelvin Arase Subs not used: Bernhard Unger (GK), Niklas Hedi (GK), Thierno Ballo, Thorsten Schick, Maximilian Hofmann, Jonas Auer

Booked: Srdjan Grahovac (foul), Leo Greimi (foul)
Goals: None

Referee: Tobias Stieler (Germany)
Assistants: Christian Gittelmann and Eduard Beitinger (both Germany)
Fourth Official: Florian Badstubner (Germany)

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk