Unbeaten Run Continues in Europe
West Ham United maintained their unbeaten start to the season by going to Zagreb and coming away with a 2-0 victory to top Group H.
A changed team was named which included starts for Ryan Fredericks, Kurt Zouma, Manuel Lanzini, Issa Diop and Nikola Vlašić.
Dinamo Zagreb were top seeds in the draw but West Ham got off to an impressive start and dominated possession for much of the first-half. They forced corner after corner in the early stages and always looked a real threat.
Having created pressure it was a mistake that resulted in the first goal. Michail Antonio pounced on Kévin Théophile-Catherine’s badly-judged backpass to roll the ball into the vacant net on twenty one minutes.
Fredericks could have extended their advantage three minutes later but couldn’t beat goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.
Full debutant Vlašić found some space in the box just before the break but his powerful volley was blocked by the home defence.
THe Hammers were looking comfortable and deserved to be in front as referee Ruddy Buquet blew for half-time.
The home side increased their tempo as the second-half began, having replaced the hapless Théophile-Catherine and started to look threatening.
The hosts almost equalised soon after the restart but Bruno Petković shot just wide of the post.
The visitors came up with a quick response which tightened their grip on the game as Captain Declan Rice gained possession on halfway, shrugged off the challenges and scored as he cut in from the left.
Shortly after that David Moyes made his first change introducing Saïd Benrahma for Lanzini.
Dinamo Zagreb kept piling on the pressure and Luka Ivanušec’s shot deflected off Diop and grazed the post.
A further change was made on sixty nine minutes when Vlašić was replaced by Jarrod Bowen.
Both teams were making substitutions, with seven minutes to go so Moyes went for broke and made a triple change bringing on Arthur Masuaku, Mark Noble and Andriy Yarmolenko for Rice, Antonio and Pablo Fornals.
The Irons could not have hoped for a better night’s work but with Antonio’s suspension Moyes will have to make changes ahead of Manchester United’s visit to Stratford on Sunday afternoon.