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Hammers cruise into Conference League knockouts

West Ham cruised past Anderlecht to effectively qualify for the Europa Conference League last-16.

The Hammers are now well aware that they will effectively get a break from European action for the next two months,

David Moyes’ side turned in a polished, professional performance at the London Stadium and were comfortably the better side throughout the 90 minutes.

Said Benrahma scored the opening goal after 14 minutes, bending an absolutely superb free-kick into the bottom corner from around 20 yards.

Jarrod Bowen added a second on the half-hour mark, collecting the ball on the edge of the box and lashing it beyond the Anderlecht goalkeeper.

The Hammers largely played the game out from there in a performance that encouraged possession over progression on the ball, although Anderlecht won a penalty late on after Ben Johnson made a clumsy challenge in the box. Sebastiano Esposito scored the spot-kick.

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However, there is some concern over Craig Dawson, who was substituted after sustaining what appeared to be a knock in the second half.

Overall, the Hammers did virtually what was needed to qualify for the knockout stages to can start preparing for European football after Christmas.

The Irons have now essentially confirmed their place in the knockout stages due to beating Silkeborg, meaning they have a head-to-head advantage over the only team that can catch them in the group.

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.

4 comments on “Hammers cruise into Conference League knockouts

  1. How have we won the group? We need a point, I think.

  2. We have not yet won the group.

  3. Not to put a downer on anything but we have not officially won the group just yet. Still need 1 point officially. Silkenborg can still mathematically catch us and win the group if we lose both games and they win theirs. Does seem highly unlikely I know but stranger things have happened.

  4. Without a doubt West Ham cruised past Anderlecht. But unfortunately the Anderlecht fans were an absolute disgrace. Everything seemed fine up until the teams took to the pitch. Then the Anderlecht fans set off numerous flares in their end. The Anderlecht fans in the upper tier tried to throw flares at the West Ham fans below. Fortunately they didn’t reach and landed on the tarpaulin between the upper and lower stands. These burnt through and fell below.
    Fortunately they then calmed down once the match started, and they calmed down. Until about 10 minutes before then end. First about seven Anderlecht fans tried to run onto the pitch. One managed to challenge Areola, who was trying to take a free kick, before being brought down by the stewards. Then the Anderlecht fans started lighting flares in the stand, again, in both the upper and lower tiers. Then the Anderlecht fans turned really nasty. They ripped up the seats and started throwing them and flares at the West Ham fans.
    Yes a few of the seats and flares were thrown back at them but only a few.
    A never thought the Belgium/ Anderlecht fans would ever be as bad as this.
    Unfortunately I can see West Ham and their fans will get tarred with the same brush, but I can assure you the Anderlecht fans were an absolute disgrace, and went out of their way to cause trouble, were there was no reason what so ever. I was sat to the right of the Anderlecht fans and have a lot of video footage of the mayhem they caused. If Hugh or Sean would like me to forward them, I would be more than willing. I really fear that West Ham will take a lot of the blame, where they truly didn’t do anything wrong.

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