Rapid Vienna 0-2 West Ham: Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble score in first-half for under-strength Hammers to seal top spot in Group H and a place in the last 16 of the Europa League
- West Ham clinched top spot and avoided a play-off to reach the last 16
- Andriy Yarmolenko put the Hammers ahead with a header in 39th minute
- Mark Noble doubled their lead just before half-time from the penalty spot
Group winners with a game to spare and here’s a few dates for your diaries, West Ham fans. February 25, the draw for the Europa League’s last 16. March 10, the first leg, and March 17, the second leg.
Whoever West Ham meet, David Moyes says they won’t fear them, and nor should they. His men have made Europe look easy, with this victory in Vienna another very professional performance.
They’re unbeaten in this competition this season and now they can dream about who they draw. Maybe Lyon. Maybe Monaco. Maybe one of the clubs that end up dropping out of the Champions League, such as Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or AC Milan.
West Ham secured their place in the Europa League last 16 with a win against Rapid Vienna
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Areola 7; Coufal 7.5, Dawson 7.5, Diop 7.5, Masuaku 7 (Fredericks 78); Noble 7, Soucek 7 (Kral 65, 6.5); Vlasic 7 (Perkins 78), Lanzini 7 (Fornals 65, 6.5), Yarmolenko 8; Bowen 7.5 (Benrahma 65, 6.5)
Subs (not used): Randolph, Cresswell, Zouma, Johnson, Alese, Chesters, Rice
Scorers: Yarmolenko (39), Noble (45+2 pen)
Manager: David Moyes 7.5
‘I don’t see any reason why we can’t keep challenging,’ said Moyes. ‘I’d be happy to take on most teams and I hope we’re able to show that in the coming weeks and months.’
West Ham won comfortably despite making eight changes and leaving Michail Antonio at home ahead of a trip to Manchester City this Sunday. Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble got the goals which did the job in his absence.
Moyes even managed to hand a debut to Sonny Perkins, the 17-year-old who was just six months old when Noble made his own senior bow for West Ham. He came close to scoring from a header, which really would have topped a fine night.
‘I’ve given a few 17-year-olds their debut, and the odd 16-year-old,’ said Moyes, who gave Wayne Rooney his start in football in 2002. ‘It’s always good to give a young boy a chance. Our Under 23s are doing so well and they’re beginning to knock on the door.’
When West Ham sent their scouts to watch Vienna at this stadium previously, they reserved special mention for the raucous support in their report for the manager.
Turns out they need not worry about any wild atmosphere after Austria being placed on lockdown meant this match was being played behind closed doors. Instead this was a reminder of the eerie days of empty stadiums and apologies for any bad language you may heard from the players on television.
Andriy Yarmolenko put the Hammers ahead when he headed in at the back post
That suited West Ham in a way, with the club’s supporters already banned for bad behaviour in Genk. Competition organisers UEFA said this would still count as them serving their suspension.
West Ham should have led after five minutes when Arthur Masuaku drilled in a fantastic cross from the left. Jarrod Bowen slid in but didn’t connect properly, sending his shot wide.
It took until the 40th minute for West Ham to finally turn their possession into a lead. Nikola Vlasic crossed and Yarmolenko headed beyond Vienna goalkeeper Paul Gartler for his first goal since striking in a 4-0 win over Doncaster in January. He’d scored six times for Ukraine since then.
Mark Noble fired his spot kick into the top corner to double their lead just before half-time
Yarmolenko was involved again in first-half stoppage time as he collected a pass from Noble in the box and was tripped by Maximilian Hofmann. Penalty, said Russian referee Sergei Ivanov.
Noble stepped up to take it. Gartler guessed correct but it was so well taken that the ball flew into the top right corner, giving West Ham a 2-0 lead at half time.
Top spot in Group H was now theirs to lose. It could have been 3-0 after 55 minutes when Bowen skipped by three Vienna opponents with fast feet, only to then fail to beat Gartler.
West Ham midfielder Pablo Fornals has a shot saved by goalkeeper Paul Gartler
After an hour, Yarmolenko picked up a loose pass and charged at Vienna’s back line. He cut the ball back into Tomas Soucek who, with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to score. Last season you suspect Soucek would have buried this chance. This season they’re simply not going in for him.
In the aftermath, Bowen lashed a shot which Filip Stojkovic cleared off the line to keep it 2-0.
After 77 minutes, on came Perkins for his first-team bow. At youth level he’s been bagging goals for fun. Within seconds, the 17-year-old could have made this a scoring debut, but his header from a Vladimir Coufal cross was tipped over.
Perkins will get another chance soon enough, maybe in their sixth and final group game against Dinamo Zagreb next month which now represents a dead rubber, thanks to West Ham’s European dominance.
West Ham eased to victory despite resting several players for Europa League match
David Moyes’ side clinched top spot in Group H and avoided a play-off to reach the last 16