Viborg FF 0-3 West Ham United
West Ham United win 6-1 on aggregate
UEFA Europa Conference League play-off round second leg, Energi Viborg Arena, Thursday 25 August 2022
West Ham United booked their place in the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage by beating Viborg 3-0 in the second leg of our play-off round on Thursday night, securing a 6-1 aggregate success.
Gianluca Scamacca got the scoring started midway through the first half, adding to his strike from the first leg, before second half goals from Saïd Benrahma and Tomáš Souček wrapped up victory.
It amounted to an ultimately comfortable night for David Moyes’ men, who dealt with the hosts enthusiasm – both on the pitch and in the stands – to stamp their authority on the contest and complete their task efficiently.
West Ham, sporting our new White and Orange third kit, made four changes from the side which triumphed 3-1 at London Stadium a week ago.
Aaron Cresswell returned from suspension at left-back, while Thilo Kehrer, Pablo Fornals and Benrahma also came into the starting XI.
Viborg were sharp out of the blocks, though, and Ben Johnson had to be alert in the opening minute to shepherd Jar-Roy Grot’s low cross to safety.
At the other end, Scamacca was showing early signs that he was feeling sharp, as he got across the near post to meet a right-wing cross with a header that flew over.
The Hammers began to take control of possession as the contest settled down, and after Scamacca had a low shot from 18 yard pushed away by goalkeeper Lucas Lund, the Italian gained his reward with 22 minutes played.
Fornals’ cross from the left was a dangerous one, and after it was only half dealt with, Johnson picked up the pieces, nudging back for Souček to cross and Scamacca to covert with a deft near-post touch.
The goal put the Hammers firmly in control of the tie, although Viborg’s boisterous home support would not be quietened.
They almost had something to cheer on the stroke of half-time too, as Alphonse Areola had to get down at his near post to parry Grot’s shot, and then spring up to deny Justin Lonwijk on the rebound.
West Ham weren’t about to give the home side hope, though, and they all but wrapped up the tie with a second six minutes after the break.
First goalscorer Scamacca was involved, getting the ball up to fellow summer arrival Maxwel Cornet, whose ball around the corner sent Benrahma clear down the middle. The No22 had plenty of time to size up his options and made no mistake, finishing coolly past Lund in the Viborg goal.
The visitors kept their foot on the pedal and added a third twelve minutes later. Cresswell crossed dangerously from the left, and although Lund got down to save Kehrer’s firm header, Souček was on hand to gobble up the rebound.
Cornet had the chance to notch his first Hammers goal shortly afterwards, when Benrahma again burst clear in the right channel, but this time opted unselfishly to pick out his teammate. Had Cornet hit the target, surely it would have been 4-0, but his effort cleared the crossbar instead.
There was still time for a first team debut from the bench for Armstrong Okoflex as the Hammers saw out time and secured their place in the group stage.
Viborg FF: Lund, Gaaei, Burgy, Zaletel, Sørensen, Leemans (Søndergaard 78), Grønning ©, Bonde (Zambůrek 60), Lonwijk (Mortimer 60), Grot (Jatta 60), Said (Berger 78)
Subs: Killerich (GK), Lauritsen, Thorsen
West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Ogbonna, Kehrer, Cresswell © (Zouma 81), Fornals, Souček (Downes 68), Benrahma (Coventry 68), Lanzini (Okoflex 82), Cornet, Scamacca (Antonio 68)
Subs: Randolph (GK), Hegyi (GK), Ekwah, Swyer, Bowen, Mubama
Goals: Scamacca 22, Benrahma 51, Souček 63
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)