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West Ham stay perfect in Europa League with comfortable victory over Genk

By October 21, 2021No Comments

West Ham continued their European cruise with a thumping 3-0 win over Belgian side Genk.

Goals from Craig Dawson, Issa Diop and Jarrod Bowen made it three wins out of three for the Hammers in their maiden Europa League group campaign and kept them firmly on course for the knockout stages.

West Ham are already six points clear at the top of Group H and could even secure qualification as group winners in their next match, in Genk in a fortnight, with two games to spare.

Unlike Sunday’s opponents Tottenham, who left their entire starting XI at home for their unsuccessful continental trip to Vitesse Arnhem, Hammers boss David Moyes kept the likes of Bowen, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Aaron Cresswell in his line-up.

Moyes is clearly eager to secure qualification as quickly as possible, although he took no risks with striker Michail Antonio, having rested him completely ahead of the London derby.

Antonio’s absence as the focal point of West Ham’s attack was felt in a disjointed first half against the Belgian Cup holders.

The hosts were given an early fright when Genk had the ball in the net after Theo Bongonda converted a cross from Junya Ito, but the latter was offside.

Soucek had needed plastic surgery on some horrific facial injuries earlier in the week, having been caught by a stray boot against Everton on Sunday.

But that did not stop the Czech international getting his head to a Rice cross for West Ham’s best chance of the opening stages, with Genk goalkeeper Maarten Vandevoordt making a diving save.

With the Hammers settling down, Bowen missed a golden opportunity on the half hour when he kicked at thin air in front of goal from Ben Johnson’s inviting low cross, and Dawson headed over from a corner.

Yet West Ham had another lucky escape when goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was beaten to a cross by Genk’s towering striker Paul Onuachu, whose header looped just wide.

Bowen failed to get on the end of another low cross, this time from Cresswell, before West Ham broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.

Cresswell swung in a corner and centre-half Dawson rose highest to steer the ball home off his shoulder.

West Ham have become set-piece specialists under Moyes and they were at it again at the start of the second half, Dawson’s defensive partner Diop heading home at the near post from Cresswell’s free-kick.

Moments later the hosts stole possession near the halfway line and Bowen galloped forward before firing home a fine solo goal to wrap up the victory.