West Ham United 3-1 FCSB
UEFA Europa Conference League Group B, London Stadium, Thursday 8 September 2022
West Ham United came from behind to beat FCSB at London Stadium, on a sombre occasion which marked the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.
The Claret and Blue Army came together to pay their respects to the long-reigning sovereign, whose passing was announced just over 90 minutes before kick-off. The Hammers’ faithful burst into a rendition of the National Anthem and applause – joined by the visiting Romanian supporters – in a moving pre-match tribute.
Andrei Cordea had put FCSB ahead in the first half, but the Hammers responded in the second half following the introduction of Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Lucas Paquetá at half-time.
Bowen equalised from the spot, before Emerson Palmieri and then Antonio ensured West Ham made a winning start in UEFA Europa Conference League Group B.
West Ham could not find the net throughout the first half, despite controlling possession in east London.
Early on, Alphonse Areola denied Andrea Compagno, but in truth, David Moyes’ outfit should have been in front before FCSB found the net. Maxwel Cornet, Gianluca Scamacca and Saïd Benrahma all saw their blocked strikes drift wide, and Declan Rice also sent an effort past the post from distance.
Yet, it was the visitors who took the lead just past the half hour mark when Andrei Cordea tapped home from close range after a pass from Darius Olaru.
There were a few opportunities for West Ham to respond before the interval, but Gianluca Scamacca, who struck in both ties against Viborg FF, was unable to find the net. The Hammers No7 guided two headers off target, before he dragged his effort wide after a good through ball from Flynn Downes.
Trailing at the break, David Moyes rang the changes. On came Antonio, Lucas Paquetá and Jarrod as the second half got underway, and the pattern of the game changed entirely, with Antonio in particular in dominant form.
On 69 minutes, the Hammers were level. French referee Benoît Bastien awarded West Ham a penalty when a Lucas Paquetá pass found Cornet, who bravely leapt for a header and was fouled by FCSB goalkeeper Ștefan Târnovanu. From the resulting spot-kick, Bowen made no mistake, and found the roof of the net from 12 yards.
Buoyed by the goal, and the roar of the home fans, Hammers put the pressure on their hosts, as both Antonio and Bowen went close.
The pressure would pay off with a deserved second five minutes later. West Ham did well to keep the ball in the penalty area via FCSB substitute Ovidiu Popescu, and the ball then fell to Emerson. From close range, he struck past the helpless Târnovanu for his first goal in Claret and Blue.
Another Hammers goal almost followed when Lucas Paquetá fired across the six-yard box, before Fornals and Bowen later worked the visiting 'keeper, and Antonio miscued from the edge of the area.
But West Ham would eventually net a third when Rice found Lucas Paquetá, who flicked the ball into the path of Antonio. The Hammers No9 then held off Estonian defender Joonas Tamm and finished from inside the area to ensure Moyes’ men made a winning start to the group stage.
The Claret and Blue Army ended a unique evening on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by breaking into a second chorus of the National Anthem. It was a fitting tribute on a day we said farewell to Her Majesty after 70 years on the throne.
West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Kehrer, Ogbonna (Dawson 90), Emerson, Rice ©, Downes, Benrahma (Bowen 45), Lanzini (Lucas Paquetá 45), Cornet (Fornals 68), Scamacca (Antonio 45)
Unused subs: Randolph (GK), Hegyi (GK), Zouma, Clayton, Coventry, Potts, Mubama,
Goals: Bowen 69 (pen), Emerson 74, Antonio 90
Booked: Cornet, Ogbonna, Emerson
FSCB: Târnovanu, Crețu, Dawa (Haruț 87), Tamm, Radunović, Olaru (Rusu 90), Edjouma, Oaidă (Radaslavescu 90), Coman © (Oct. Popescu 71), Cordea, Compagno (Miculescu 70)
Unused subs: Vlad (GK), Boboc, Bouhenna, Șerban, Pantea, Dulca, Stoica
Goal: Cordea 34
Booked: Târnovanu, Dawa, Oaidă
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)