Thursday, December 2, 2021

West Ham 3-0 Genk: Hammers cruise to go six points clear in Group H

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Oct 2021

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West Ham are making light work of Europa League Group H as they made it three wins from as many matches with Thursday’s 3-0 defeat of Genk.

The Belgians travelled to London having lost four of their previous five matches across all competitions and West Ham piled on the misery to go six points clear at the top of the group.

Genk looked bright during the early exchanges but West Ham grew into the occasion and went ahead on the stroke of half-time, Craig Dawson’s looping header finding the net.

West Ham put the game beyond Genk with a quickfire double just before the hour, Issa Diop and then Jarrod Bowen scoring 72 seconds apart to leave David Moyes’ men on the brink of qualification for the knockout phase.

West Ham briefly appeared to have fallen behind early on as Theo Bongonda’s diving header found the net, but the hosts were let off the hook as Junya Ito strayed offside in the build-up.

Maarten Vandevoordt was alert to prevent Jhon Lucumi putting into his own goal from an Aaron Cresswell cross just before half-time, though the Hammers did get the breakthrough from the resulting corner.

Dawson beat two markers in the air to meet Cresswell’s delivery and Bryan Heynen could not prevent the header finding the top-left corner.

Another Cresswell set-piece brought West Ham’s second goal, Diop seeing his header go in off the crossbar in the 57th minute.

A little more than a minute later, the Premier League side wrapped up the win as Manuel Lanzini found Bowen, the winger ran at the heart of the Genk defence and his shot squirmed past Vandevoordt.

What does it mean? Hammers a cut above

Genk certainly had their moments here, with Paul Onuachu threatening in the first half, Ito generally looking lively and that early disallowed goal, but West Ham were clinical and far more authoritative in the final third.

It will take something remarkable from here to deny West Ham top spot in Group H, even if only one of their next three Europa League games is at home.

They are making light work of a group that could have been problematic.

Cresswell? More like cross well…

West Ham left-back Cresswell was really bright here. His deliveries were a regular source of danger and two of them led to goals. Of course, praise should be reserved for Diop and Dawson for making the most of those crosses, but Cresswell put them into the right areas and you cannot ask for much more than that.

Johnson solid but unspectacular

To say he played the full game and had the third-most touches (84) of anyone on the pitch, Ben Johnson might have offered a little more going forward from his full-back berth. While solid enough at the back, he did not manage any key passes despite not having a lot of defending to do.

What’s next?

These two meet again on the next Europa League matchday, as West Ham travel to Belgium on November 4.

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