Declan Rice and Said Benrahma maintain Hammers’ perfect Europa League record in comfortable victory marred by clashes between fans
- West Ham enjoyed a 2-0 win over Rapid Vienna in their first big European home game for 15 years
- Declan Rice scored in the first half and Said Benrahma in second-half injury time
- Rapid were stronger in the second half and had a penalty overturned by VAR
Pretty easy, this European lark. At least that’s the way West Ham are making it seem, and Declan Rice too. It’s two wins from two for the club, and two goals in two for their midfielder.
Anyone who dismisses Rice’s opener as a ‘tap-in’ is overlooking the run he made, from deep midfield and into the box, to get on the end of Michail Antonio’s assist.
It was the type which saw Frank Lampard rack up numbers for club and country. The last West Ham player to score at home in the main draw of a European competition, incidentally, was Lampard. In 1999, against Croatian side Osijek in the UEFA Cup.
West Ham ran out comfortable 1-0 winners against Rapid Vienna in their Europa League match
Declan Rice (No 41) swept the ball home from a Michail Antonio cross to put West Ham 1-0 up
The England midfielder scored his second Europa League goal for West Ham in as many games
Said Benrahma then put the tie to bed with a second goal deep into second half stoppage time
Rice wants to add goals to his game, too, and he’s taken to the European stage nicely. The ‘ultras’ from Vienna tried to ruin the fun, with some storming towards the home end after Rice’s opener and throwing whatever they could. Ultimately they weren’t successful in spoiling West Ham’s party, as Said Benrahma capped an enjoyable evening under the lights in Stratford.
Word among the Austrian journalists at the London Stadium last night was this would, most likely, end in embarrassment for the team they were here to cover. Nine games into the start of the Austrian Bundesliga season, Rapid Vienna are joint-bottom after losses to clubs who won’t register much recognition in England, like Admira Wacker Modling and Rheindorf Altach.
They’d be content to lose by only four goals, claimed one reporter before kick off. Because of a relegation six-pointer this Sunday against Swarovski Tirol – the other team bottom of the Austrian table – Vienna even dropped their best player, Marco Grull, to the bench.
A massive night at the packed London Stadium saw West Ham host their first European home game for 15 years
West Ham nearly took an early lead but Declan Rice’s header agonisingly bounced off the post
The Hammers hit the woodwork once again as Craig Dawson’s header also rattled the post
Still, their supporters were here in their numbers, loud and proud and topless and tipsy. Some of them seemingly more interested in winding up the home fans than the match itself, mind.
Those who were watching the game saw West Ham start on top. They were inches from opening the scoring inside seven minutes when Aaron Cresswell whipped in a free-kick which Rice headed on to the far post. It bounced back and Issa Diop directed his rebound wide.
Vienna looked particularly vulnerable from set pieces with a Cresswell corner flying through the six-yard box. All it required was a properly-timed run and it would have been 1-0.
Then came another corner from Cresswell and again, the woodwork denied West Ham. Craig Dawson wouldn’t be stopped as he charged towards the cross but his header crashed back off the post. Cresswell began to wonder what he had to do to bag that assist bonus.
Yet West Ham would have the lead before the half-hour mark. It started with Antonio chesting down the ball brilliantly after a pass by Andriy Yarmolenko. He then squared it to Rice for his second goal in as many games in Europe.
The 22-year-old England international ran to the corner for a knee slide, in front of the away end. He didn’t do it to antagonise. He was looking towards the home end the entire time. But some Vienna supporters took this as an opportunity to spill out of their pen and charge towards the home contingent, hungry for violence.
A feisty atmosphere saw West Ham and Rapid Vienna fans clash after Rice scored the opener
Mark Noble (left) captained the West Ham team on his 550th appearance for the club
West Ham saw a penalty given against Ben Johnson (right) overturned after a VAR review
One even picked up a photographer’s steel chair and tried to use it as a weapon. Thankfully, he was tackled by quick-thinking stewards before any damage was done.
At half time, Sir Geoff Hurst spoke to the crowd. A statue of West Ham’s favourite sons who won the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup had been erected outside of the London Stadium, showing Hurst and Martin Peters holding up Bobby Moore on their shoulders. West Ham’s players would not have to venture far, therefore, to see what being victorious in Europe can do for you. Win and you can become a club legend.
There was almost a plot-twist in the 70th minute when Ben Johnson challenged Grull for the ball. Referee Tobias Stieler pointed to the penalty spot but several angles made it seem as if the Vienna attacker had tripped himself up.
Stieler visited his pitch-side monitor and reversed his original decision. No spot-kick. Still 1-0.
The hosts had not created much in the second half, in truth. David Moyes made several changes to try to regain some sense of authority against a side struggling so significantly in Austria.
In stoppage time, the win was sealed. Said Benrahma cut inside on to his right foot and found the corner, capping another enjoyable European night for West Ham.
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