West Ham secured an important 1st leg advantage in the Europa Conference League last 16 round, with a solid 2-0 win over AEK Larnaca in Cyprus.
Following a disappointing weekend in the Premier League, it was pivotal that David Moyes’ side responded well to lift a downcast mood in East London this season, and that they did.
Despite starting the opening exchanges somewhat on the back foot, West Ham settled down well and took control of proceedings, with some crisp and patient football to demonstrate the quality on show.
It was after the half-hour mark when our Hammers took the lead, with a well guided header from Antonio flying into the bottom corner to give West Ham a fully deserved advantage.
From that moment Moyes’ side looked dominant and were hungry to extend the lead. Then just before half time, the moment of the game delivered exactly.
Antonio picked up the ball 20 yards from goal, with minimal pressure from the home sides defence, he took his time to curl in a stunning effort into the top corner to signify another positive night on the European stage for West Ham was to be realised.
The second half saw much of the same as West Ham conducted a professional performance to see off the home side, although the frustration will be that the advantage wasn’t more than just 2 goals.
Lucas Paqueta was guilty of missing a golden chance towards the end, but the advantage going into the second leg sees our Hammers with one foot firmly in the quarter finals of the competition.
Another huge positive of the night was seeing Max Cornet return to action, having spent over 5 months on the sidelines with a calf injury – with the Ivory Coast international looking sharp and refreshed.
The West Ham Way Podcast duo Dave Walker and ExWHUEmployee were both delighted with the result and performance, hoping that our Hammers can push on and gain momentum going into Sundays Premier League clash with Aston Villa.
“I was a bit worried in the first half,” admitted Walker after the game. “I think they started better than we did but after the first goal we settled down and ultimately got the job done which is all that matters. A decent result away from home”
“A very professional performance,” added Ex. “Job done. Well played West Ham!”