West Ham v AZ Alkmaar match report


The sun might not have set, but we’re still having a traditional light show before kick-off! A fabulous atmosphere at the London Stadium.

The UEFA anthem is then almost drowned out by a chorus of ‘Come on you Irons!’ as the teams emerge from the tunnel

PEEP PEEP and we are off

(7 minutes)  Benrahma loses his man but chooses not to cross. Instead he checks and finds Rice, who crosses from the left corner of the penalty area and Bowen gets in front of his man and flicks his header over the bar. That was quite a decent chance for Jarrod, to be fair, but he got too much power and elevation on the header.

(10 minutes)   Paqueta collects after a decent interception from Aguerd to halt an AZ attack. The No11 feeds Antonio wide left and he strides forward into space. Beukema is not keen to engage, so Antonio gets into the box, but rather than shooting he prods the ball for Bowen, but it’s too strong and the ball bounces harmlessly away for another goal kick to the Dutch side.

(15 minutes)   Left-back Mees de Wit is booked after a late challenge on poor old Benrahma who has been clobbered a few times so far. Before that, the referee had allowed play to continue and the Hammers missed another opportunity to score as Paqueta’s through ball for Antonio was overhit. The Brazilian has his head in his hands after that one.

(21 minutes)   We are controlling this game (62% possession) and have had the lion’s share of possession. The latest stint ends with Bowen latching onto Soucek’s pass inside the penalty area and going down, but the penalty appeals are muted and the referee is not interested.

(32 ninutes)  A long throw into the box is cleared as far as Aguerd wide on the right wing (!). He drops his shoulder and gets past Pavlidis and then rides another challenge before getting a tad excited and driving high and wide from 25 yards.

(38 minutes) That is arguably the worst decision I’ve seen all season. Benrahma beats his man and crosses left-footed and the ball is chested behind for a corner by de Wit. Except the assistant flags to suggest the ball curled out of play.

It didn’t. It was nowhere near out.

(41 minutes) Just as it looked as the ref was going to blow for a foul on Paqueta, AZ break away, after Paqueta goes down, Reinjders takes on the shot and Areola allows it to bounce and over him. No VAR to the rescue, and the boos ring out. The AZ plan is paying off. And shades of David de Gea in that Areola mistake.

(50 minutes

Benrahma delivers a cross from the left and de Wit heads behind. The Bowen corner causes some panic in the AZ penalty area, with some appeals for handball from the crowd, but the Dutch clear through Reijnders before the No20 crosses too high and out for a goal kick.

(55 minutes)   The second half is just drifting by without much happening so far. There are ironic cheers from the home fans as Benrahma wins a free-kick, but those turn to frustrated jeers again as first Aguerd launches the ball aimlessly into Ryan’s gloves, then Paqueta is late on Hatzidakis and is booked by the referee. He then then books Clasie for time-wasting ( about time!)

(65 minutes)   65 mins

Penalty to West Ham!

A cross from Paqueta is headed back across goal by Soucek. Bowen heads over and is then caught in the head by Ryan. Mr Meler points to the spot and books the goalkeeper.

Benrahma will take it…Smashed into the left and it is

West Ham 1 AZ Alkamaar 1 

(75 minute)  cometh the hour , cometh the man… The big man, the standard bearer for so long get his goal. There was chaos from a corner. Aguerd’s header comes in as Rice guides it back in and the rebound falls for Antonio, his 14th of the season. VAR swiftly waved away 

West Ham 2 The time wasters 1 

(80 minutes)    Off goes Antonio for Ings, and he looks both tired and disappointed to have to leave the field. Well played , big fella !

(83 minutes)   That should be 3-1. Benrahma does superbly on the left wing, combines superbly with Ings – who has been really good since he came on – but then opts for power over accuracy and blazes his right-foot shot over from about 12 yards.

(85 minutes) Bowen flashes the ball across goal and Ings and Benrahma fails to read it. That’s a waste and an inquest is taking place between the Hammers forwards.

(87 minutes)   Zouma makes an interception and leads the charge down the middle before prodding wide right for Bowen. He dribbles infield and crosses low and hard, but it’s a bit early for Ings and the ball flies across the face of of goal and out for a goal kick.

A third West Ham goal would be priceless, it really would.

(90 minutes) I should not be churlish, but I will. Our supremo has done one of his infamous 1 minute to play, substitutions…Pablo for Benrahma

So they we have it , a win for the Hammers. Not the greatest of performances but at least we go to Holland with a one goal lead.

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