West Ham United 1-0 Silkeborg IF
UEFA Europa Conference League Group B, London Stadium, Thursday 27 October 2022
West Ham United secured top spot in UEFA Europa Conference League Group B – and direct qualification to the Round of 16 – with a 1-0 win over Silkeborg IF at London Stadium.
A fifth straight group-stage triumph – and seventh consecutive win in Europe this season – was secured when Manuel Lanzini netted a first-half penalty – his second goal from the spot against Silkeborg in a matter of weeks.
Pablo Fornals and Saïd Benrahma had chances to double the Hammers’ lead in the second half, but they went begging and the hosts were indebted to two Alphonse Areola saves to secure the three points.
The home defence, led by impressive debutant Nayef Aguerd, held on to keep a third clean sheet in five matches and make it six victories in a row at London Stadium.
On his Claret and Blue bow, Moroccan Aguerd quickly showed his quality. After a few neat touches and aerial battles won in the opening minutes, the No27 chipped a delicious 40-yard pass into the path of Vladimír Coufal, although the attack was fizzled out by Lukas Klitten.
The best chance of the opening 15 minutes fell to Michail Antonio – the No9 ran onto a through ball from Conor Coventry but saw his shot saved by Nicolai Larsen after he had tricked through the defence. After a lovely bit of play from Fornals and Benrahma, the ball fell to Coventry, although his effort faded wide of the post.
It was Benrahma’s creativity that brought the opening goal on 24 minutes. A through ball found Antonio, who was tripped by Larsen. Lanzini, just as he did in our 3-2 win in Denmark last month, stepped up and converted with ease from 12 yards.
Benrahma might have netted a second before the break, but his shot arrowed over the crossbar. The Algerian later headed a Coufal cross wide after a brilliant defence-splitting pass from Lanzini.
There were further chances for the Irons to double their lead after the break. Fornals struck wide from inside the area, while Benrahma saw his effort blocked from close range.
Just a goal behind, Silkeborg pushed for an equaliser, but Areola made smart saves to deny Anders Klynge and Søren Tengstedt - who scored in the first meeting in Denmark in September.
Substitute Gianluca Scamacca flicked an Emerson corner over the bar late on, but there would be no further scoring and David Moyes' men had to make do with a single-goal victory.
West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Johnson, Aguerd (Kehrer 76), Ogbonna ©, Emerson, Lanzini, Coventry (Rice 84), Fornals (Downes 68), Antonio (Souček 84), Benrahma(Scamacca 68)
Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Hegyi (GK), Zouma, Cresswell, Potts, Appiah-Forson
Goals: Lanzini pen 24,
Bookings: Coventry Scamacca
Silkeborg IF: Larsen, Østrøm, Salquist, Felix, Klitten, Þórðarson, Gojani (Oggesen 46), Klynge (Kaalund 69), Tengstedt (Lind 84), Jørgensen (Kusk 46), Helenius © (Adamsen 68)
Subs not used: Hedvall (GK), Andrésen (GK), Mattsson, A.Dahl , Calisir, Engel, Busch
Referee: Joni Hyytiä (Finland)