Mohammed Kudus on Target for West Ham United against TSC : West Ham United were made to work for it but they got their UEFA Europa League campaign off with a 3-1 win over tournament debutants Bačka Topola. Victory for the Hammers extended their unbeaten run in Europe to 16 matches.
Ghana international Mohammed Kudus performed creditably well for The Hammers as he netted his first goal for his new team.
Bačka Topola were making their debut in the group stage of an European tournament, and their game plan was clear from the off – to get every man behind the ball and try to nick something on the counter.
David Moyes would have known the onus would be on his players to break down a stubborn defence and his attacking team selection nodded to that. Moyes would have known the importance of getting an early breakthrough to ease any nerves, and they nearly had that, after creating a barrage of attacks.
First, James Ward-Prowse, a set piece specialist, almost opened the scoring with a free-kick in the fifth minute, and then Saïd Benarahma saw a goalbound effort deflected wide.
Thilo Kehrer was next to come close but the defender’s shot was superbly saved by Nikola Simić. The Hammers were finding it problematic in breaking down the stubborn visitors defence, and went into the HT break goalless, having had almost three-quarters of the possession, and 15 shots on goal but nothing to show for it.
The second half started with a bang, and it wasn’t the one the Hammers fans expected or wanted. Angelo Ogbonna was caught in possession on the halfway line as Petar Stanić nicked the ball and made him pay, running through on goal and finishing with aplomb, curling past Łukasz Fabiański. With the prospect of being on the end of one of the most embarrassing moments in the club’s history, Moyes’ players turned a screw, and restored parity and peace around the London Stadium.
Benerahma’s cross to the far post was turned into his own net by Nemanja Petrović, who was under pressure by Mohammed Kudus. The Ghanaian then completed the turnaround four minutes later as he did well to fashion space in the box and nod in from Ward Prowse’s corner.
Watch the goals and match highlights here :
With a narrow but perhaps deserved lead, the Hammers went searching for a third goal to make things comfortable, and it arrived in the 82nd minute. Once again, a Ward-Prowse corner kick was turned in – this time by Tomáš Souček. The home side saw out the remainder of the match with relative ease, and no doubt relieved the fears of the fans inside the London Stadium, who were left anxious for over 60 minutes.
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