AZ Alkmaar let a one-goal lead slip at the London Stadium which saw Tijjani Reijnders’ opener cancelled out by Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio in the second-half. The Eredivisie club took the lead with four minutes left of the first-half when Reijnders beat Alphonse Areola at his near post which left some West Ham players seething they should have got a free-kick in the build-up which VAR ruled there was not.
But the Irons responded with a spirited performance in the second-half which saw them secure a win in the Europa Conference League semi-final first-leg clash at the London Stadium. A penalty converted well by Said Benrahma changed the momentum of the match with the Hammers, having been rather passive before then, capitalising on the situation by piling the pressure on their Dutch counterparts.
A corner kick late into the match found Declan Rice whose cross found defender Nayef Aguerd’s head but was cleared off the line by Yukinari Sugawara. However, Michail Antonio read the situation well and tapped the ball in to give the hosts a 2-1 lead on aggregate before their trip to the Netherlands next week.
West Ham United – 2
Alphonse Areola, 5 – Was not tested massively throughout the match but should have done a lot better to deny Reijnders’ effort in the first-half.
Thilo Kehrer, 6
Kurt Zouma, 7
Nayef Aguerd, 7
Aaron Cresswell, 6
Tomas Soucek, 6
Declan Rice, 7 – A commanding presence in the midfield was needed in that match and the captain f
Jarrod Bowen, 6 – Continued to be a threat throughout the match with his positioning but failed to make a serious impact in the final third. Had a great chance to equalise early on in the second-half but sailed wide.
Lucas Paqueta, 6
Said Benrahma, 8 – A solid performance from the Algerian which saw the former Brentford man create plenty of chances, tested the goalkeeper on plenty of occasions and converted the penalty with confidence
Michail Antonio, 7 – Held up play well and a poachers finishers to complete a positive result before he was substituted.
Others: Danny Ings 5, Pablo Fornals N/A
AZ Alkmaar – 1
Mathew Ryan, 6
Yukinari Sugawara, 7 – Covered the defensive gaps well and supported the flanks when AZ were in possession too. Was unlucky to see his goal-line clearance go for nothing when they are from America.
Sam Beukema, 5 – Caught out of position on multiple occasions and failed to find his footing when he came up against the likes of Antonio and Benrahma.
Pantelis Hatzidiakos, 6
Mees de Wit, 6
Jordy Clasie, 6
Tijjani Reijnders, 7 – The midfield was a good one to watch with Reijnders appearing to relish the challenge of coming up against the likes of Rice and Soucek. Took his opportunity to test Areola from long-range well.
Jens Odgaard, 6
Sven Mijnans, 7
Myron van Brederode, 6
Vangelis Pavlidis, 5 – Out-marked and failed to contribute well to the three behind him who were linking up well but desperate to find that ball in the final third from their striker but came to nothing.
Others: Djorde Mihailovic N/A, Mayckel Lahdo, 4