West Ham had to settle for a point in the Europa League tie away at Genk in what was a dramatic European night in Belgium.
It was a game with qualification to the last 16 of the tournament as the prize in sight, however it was Genk who started brightly showing this would be no means be a walk in the park for our Irons.
Genks fast and courageous start was rewarded on just 4 minutes when the impressive Paintsil latched on to a through ball with the West Ham defence asleep to fire in off Areola, who arguably should have done better.
The mettle for which this side now possesses meant there would be no nerves or panic play from our Hammers side, who crept more and more into the game as it progressed.
Frustratingly it was our final ball and finishing that was proving costly throughout the first half with many wasted chances despite some impressive attacking play. Antonio not his usual clinical self, was the most prominent of the guilty party.
We went into the break trailing but there was a certain confidence that a goal would come for our travelling Hammers. Then only 9 minutes after the restart, it did.
The ever dangerous Said Benrahma fired in a low strike through the legs of the Genk keeper after a clever cut back from Coufal, to level the tie and ramp West Ham up a gear to go for the win.
It was at this point our Irons started looking more menacing, with some slick and impressive movement which was setting the tone for a West Ham winner.
With just 8 minutes remaining on the clock, West Ham took the lead.
It was an outstanding solo goal from Benrahma once again, who weaved into the box to fire low through the keeper to surely take the 3 points back to East London.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
Credit to Genk who responded well and were clearly not going to lie down and accept defeat. With West Ham needing to defend well, a cross was swung in which Tomas Soucek blocked with his head hoping to take out of play for a corner, but he misjudged it and it flew beyond Areola into the net.
A frustrating turn of events with the win within grasp, but the 2-2 result still keeps West Ham firmly top of the group and still unbeaten in the Europa League this season.
Qualification all but confirmed, but sadly not there quite yet with the tie in Genk certainly proving to be the biggest test faced by West Ham so far this season on our European tour.
Written by Mark Carlaw