Yarmolenko, Noble net as West Ham secure top spot in Europa League
Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble scored for West Ham as David Moyes’ side secured top spot in their Europa League group with victory over Rapid Vienna.
The Hammers made it four wins from five matches in the competition by beating the Austrian outfit 2-0 away from home. Moyes had made eight changes to the team which lost 1-0 to Wolves in the Premier League last time out. Only Craig Dawson, Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen kept their places as the Scot rested most of his key stars for the weekend.
West Ham started brightly and could have gone ahead inside six minutes. Arthur Masuaku put a cross in from the left, which Bowen slid in to reach. He could only get a toe on it as the ball went narrowly wide.
Summer signing Nikola Vlasic had a chance of his own five minutes later. Some nice build-up play saw the Croatia international receive the ball in the box, and he turned to fire at goal. But it was too high and failed to trouble Vienna goalkeeper Paul Gartler.
The home side had their first opportunity soon afterwards. A pull-back from the left found Greek striker Taxiarchis Fountas, who failed to keep his first-time effort down.
West Ham began to get sloppy in possession but managed to break the deadlock with 39 minutes gone. Vlasic crossed on his left foot and found the head of Yarmolenko. The Ukraine captain headed into the far corner, giving Gartler no chance.
The opener represented Yarmolenko’s first of the campaign, as well as Vlasic’s first goal involvement since his £25m move from CSKA Moscow.
A lovely cross to put it on a plate for Andriy Yarmolenko! 👌
West Ham are loving life in the Europa League ⚒ #UEL pic.twitter.com/tNCH7H9hZA
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 25, 2021
Moyes’ men had a two-goal lead by first-half injury time. Yarmolenko was clipped in the box, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Veteran midfielder Mark Noble stepped up and confidently dispatched of the spot-kick by placing it in the top corner.
West Ham should have made it three after the break. A free-flowing move saw Manuel Lanzini play in Bowen, who should have smashed the ball into the net but instead tried to be clever and set up a team-mate, allowing the ball to be cleared.
Soucek and Bowen both had good chances soon afterwards but were kept out by some solid goalkeeping and a great defensive block.
Moyes decided to rest Bowen, with the former Hull City man being subbed alongside Lanzini and Soucek. Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals and Alex Kral came on in their place.
Fountas had another chance for Vienna in the 73rd minute, but he fired wide from a good position.
Moyes made more changes moments later as speedster Ryan Fredericks came on for Masuaku. The manager also gave teenager Sonny Perkins his senior debut, as the England U18 international replaced Vlasic. He nearly scored with his first touch as a close-range header was pushed over the bar.
West Ham continued to dominate possession in the final stages and completed the win to reach 13 points in Group H.
Their next match is a league clash against Man City on Sunday at 14:00.
Source: All The News – TEAMtalk
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