West Ham 1-0 Silkeborg: Hammers maintain perfect record in Europa Conference League and take last 16 as Manuel Lanzini’s first-half penalty scares brave visitors away
- West Ham secured a place in the last 16 of the Europa Conference League
- The 1-0 win maintained their 100% winning record in Europe this season
- Lanzini scored from the spot after Antonio was knocked down by the keeper
Confirmation that West Ham will finish at the top of their group and a promising debut from £30million defender Nayef Aguerd. All in all, this was a good night’s sleep for David Moyes.
West Ham had to avoid defeat by Danish side Silkeborg to advance directly to the round of 16 in the Europa Conference League. There was no drama. No twists. Nothing comes close to what Tottenham experienced 24 hours earlier in their own European draw.
Just a simple win with Manuel Lanzini scoring from the penalty spot in the first half and Aguerd playing 75 minutes, four months after Rennes’ signing.
West Ham: Areola, Coufal, Johnson, Aguerd (Kehrer 76), Ogbonna, Emerson Palmieri, Fornals (Downes 68), Coventry (Rice 83), Lanzini, Benrahma (Scamacca 68), Antonio (Soucek 84).
Subs not used: Cresswell, Zouma, Randolph, Hegyi, Appiah-Forson, Potts.
Booked: Coventry, Scamacca, Soucek.
Goals: Lanzini 24 pens.
Silkeborg: Larsen, Ostrom, Salquist, Felix, Klitten, Thordarson, Gojani (Oggesen 46), Klynge (Kaalund 69), Tengstedt (Lind 84), Jorgensen (Kusk 46), Helenius (Adamsen 68).
Subs not used: Mattsson, Hedvall, Anders Dahl, Calisir, Engel, Andresen, Busch.
Reference: Joni Hyytia (Finland).
He was fit again after injuring his ankle in the preseason and started in the middle of West Ham’s back three. He looked safe and, more importantly for Moyes, fast when needed in foot races.
Better teams than Silkeborg will test his skills, especially in the Premier League, but this was a smooth introduction for Aguerd after such a long hiatus.
This result was important for Moyes as it saves West Ham from the unwanted two-legged play-off that comes with a second-place finish in their group. The manager, aware of their foolish schedule, did not want two more games to be added.
It was with their race list in mind that he made nine changes. Flynn Downes was among those who fell on the bench with the 23-year-old likely to start in the Premier League at Manchester United on Sunday, and his recent midfield appearances make him hard to ignore.
Despite Moyes’ changes, there was more than enough quality for West Ham to win here.
In the 12th minute, Michail Antonio broke from behind, cut back on his favorite right foot and was unable to find the far corner due to the feet of Silkeborg goalkeeper Nicolai Larsen.
A minute later, Vladimir Coufal’s deep cross found Aguerd, whose volley flew into the side net.
Conor Coventry, the 22-year-old academy graduate, narrowly missed his first West Ham goal when he had a chance to shoot from 20 yards.
In the 23rd minute, Said Benrahma’s ball ended up behind Antonio, with Larsen leading the charge and colliding with the West Ham striker. The protests of the visitors were in vain now that the VAR was not in operation.
Referee Joni Hyytia awarded the penalty and Manuel Lanzini stepped up to make it 1-0 and found the bottom right corner, despite the goalkeeper guessing correctly.
Benrahma should have scored a second goal before half-time, but his header went wide.
Silkeborg had won their last two Europa Conference League games 5-0, both against Romania’s FCSB, and Anders Klynge forced Alphonse Areola into a smart save after 54 minutes.
Areola was needed again in the 56th minute when Soren Tengstedt fired a bright shot at his goal. These were warning signs to West Ham that Silkeborg was not here for a participation badge.
West Ham had chances to kill this match but failed to grab them, with Benrahma unlucky in front of goal. A shot from him after 62 minutes was blocked as the net begged to be wrinkled.
Silkeborg put pressure on West Ham in the final phase, but Lanzini’s goal proved enough to put them at the forefront of Group B as they enter the Europa Conference League round of 16.