Kenza Dali was thrilled to net her first West Ham United women’s goal on Sunday and is now targeting even more in the near future.
The France international stepped up to coolly slot home her first Irons finish from the penalty spot for West Ham’s second at Brighton & Hove Albion, helping her side to a 3-1 Barclays FA Women’s Super League victory.
Dali’s efforts saw the No21 named the NicheSolutons Hammer of the Match and the midfielder wants to keep playing a crucial part in front of goal for her team. But, having seen striker Martha Thomas open the scoring for West Ham, Dali would rather help her teammate continue to add to her tally, praising the No9’s work-ethic.
“I’m so happy with my first goal,” Dali told whufc.com. “It’s my job on the pitch to score or get an assist. If it helps the team, then that’s the most important thing. We needed to finish them off. A two-goal lead is different to one goal, in their heads, so it was an important goal to score. I was happy to get it and I hope it’s the first of many.
“I hope I can keep scoring but I’d prefer Martha keeps scoring. She works a lot, as our striker, so I think she deserves it. If she scores, I’m happy too.”
West Ham headed into Sunday’s match with three points from their opening three league games, and Dali was particularly frustrated with the most-recent loss, at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
However, the midfielder feels everything clicked into place against Brighton & Hove Albion as West Ham showed just what they are capable of.
She continued: “We needed this victory after the Tottenham game. It was so hard because we didn’t have time to talk together because of the internationals. We were frustrated after that because we didn’t deserve to be defeated.
“We had to work hard and we needed this victory. It was so important for the team. We needed to get it to prove that the work we’ve done is paying off, and it is. I’m really, really happy to have the three points and now we can breathe a bit better.
“When we scored the first goal, I had the feeling that nothing wrong would happen for us today. I just had such a good feeling in the team. We concentrated the whole game and played our way. We didn’t allow them many opportunities. We scored three goals so that was fantastic.”
Dali is happy with how she is adapting to the English game, having spent her entire career in France up until this summer, and was particularly pleased with how the entire side dealt with Brighton’s aggressive style of play.
“I’m getting used to English football to be honest,” Dali added. “It was hard in pre-season. My GPS tracking was always high and elevated, which never happened in France for me. It was hard for me at the start but now I’m getting used to it.
“It was really physical though. Brighton are very aggressive, so we had to stay calm and play our own game. I think we did that really well.”
Dali and her West Ham teammates will hope to make it back-to-back wins when they host Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Women's Continental League Cup on Sunday at Rush Green Stadium. Kick-off is at 3pm.