West Ham cruise past Viborg and into Europa Conference League group stage
West Ham rediscovered their goalscoring touch as they booked another European tour with a 3-0 win over Danish side Viborg.
The Hammers, without a point or a goal after three matches in the Premier League, ran out comfortable 6-1 winners on aggregate over the two legs of their qualifying play-off to reach the group stages of the Europa Conference League.
Italy striker Gianluca Scamacca, the £30million signing from Sassuolo, opened the scoring midway through the first half with his second goal in two European appearances.
Said Benrahma and Tomas Soucek also found the net after the break to put the seal on an ultimately comfortable evening in front of 1,000 noisy travelling fans in Denmark.
Leading 3-1 from the first leg, last season’s Europa League semi-finalists knew an early goal would settle any nerves and Soucek headed narrowly over from a corner before Scamacca’s low first-time shot was saved.
The opening goal arrived after 22 minutes when full-back Ben Johnson fed Soucek on the right wing and the Czech midfielder’s cross was expertly swept home by Scamacca at the near post.
Viborg almost equalised when former Leeds striker Jay-Roy Grot outstripped Manuel Lanzini and fizzed a shot narrowly wide.
Jakob Bonde, Viborg’s goalscorer in east London, then planted a free header straight at Hammers keeper Alphonse Areola.
More European nights under the lights to come 😍 pic.twitter.com/OuDmu53RMO— West Ham United (@WestHam) August 25, 2022
And West Ham were living dangerously before half-time when Areola had to make a double save to deny Grot and Justin Lonwijk.
But they doubled their lead six minutes into the second half when Benrahma ran on to Maxwel Cornet’s through ball and slotted home.
It was three just after the hour mark when Soucek bundled home the rebound after Thilo Kehrer’s header was blocked.
Cornet should have opened his West Ham account moments later when he was teed up by Benrahma but the summer signing from Burnley somehow lifted the ball over an open goal.
Nevertheless it was a satisfying evening’s work for David Moyes’ side and their fans, who will find out where their second straight European adventure will take them when the draw is made on Friday.
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