Top of the group confirmed, and a few dates for your diaries, West Ham fans. February 25, the draw for the Europa League’s last 16. March 10, the first leg, and March 17, the second leg.
Whoever West Ham meet, David Moyes says they won’t fear them, and nor should they. His men have made Europe look easy, with this victory in Vienna another very professional performance.
Now they can dream about their next European away day. Maybe Lyon. Maybe Monaco. Maybe one of the clubs that end up dropping out of the Champions League, such as Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or AC Milan.
West Ham secured their place in the Europa League last 16 with a win against Rapid Vienna
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Areola 7; Coufal 7.5, Dawson 7.5, Diop 7.5, Masuaku 7 (Fredericks 78); Noble 7, Soucek 7 (Kral 65, 6.5); Vlasic 7 (Perkins 78), Lanzini 7 (Fornals 65, 6.5), Yarmolenko 8; Bowen 7.5 (Benrahma 65, 6.5)
Subs (not used): Randolph, Cresswell, Zouma, Johnson, Alese, Chesters, Rice
Scorers: Yarmolenko (39), Noble (45+2 pen)
Manager: David Moyes 7.5
For now, attention will turn back to the Premier League, with West Ham winning here despite making eight changes and leaving Michail Antonio at home ahead of Manchester City on Sunday.
Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble got the goals which did the job. Moyes even managed to hand a debut to Sonny Perkins, the 17-year-old attacker who was just six months old when Noble made his own senior bow. He came close to scoring from a header, which really would have topped a fine night.
Perkins will get further chances, perhaps in the dead rubber at home against Dinamo Zagreb next month when West Ham will look to end their Group H campaign on a high.
Andriy Yarmolenko put the Hammers ahead when he headed in at the back post
When West Ham sent their scouts to watch Vienna at this stadium previously, they reserved special mention for the raucous support in their report for the manager.
Turns out they need not worry about any wild atmosphere after Austria being placed on lockdown meant this match was being played behind closed doors. Instead this was a reminder of the eerie days of Covid-enforced empty stadiums and apologies for any bad language you may heard from the players on television.
That suited West Ham in a way, with the club’s supporters already banned for bad behaviour in Genk. UEFA said this would still count as them serving their suspension.
Mark Noble fired his spot kick into the top corner to double their lead just before half-time
West Ham should have led after five minutes when Arthur Masuaku drilled in a fantastic cross from the left. Jarrod Bowen slid in but didn’t connect properly, sending his shot wide.
Vienna know they cannot qualify from Group H, which perhaps explained why their main goalscorer Ercan Kara was dropped. West Ham dominated possession – 75 per cent after half hour – but the visitors were struggling to test goalkeeper Paul Gartler. Rather it was Vienna’s Kelvin Arase who forced a low save out of Alphonse Areola.
In the 40th minute, though, West Ham finally made their control count. Nikola Vlasic crossed and Yarmolenko headed beyond Gartler for his first goal since striking in a 4-0 win over Doncaster in January. He’d scored six times for Ukraine since then.
West Ham midfielder Pablo Fornals has a shot saved by goalkeeper Paul Gartler
Yarmolenko was involved again in first half stoppage time as he collected a pass from Noble in the box and was tripped by Maximilian Hofmann. Penalty, said Russian referee Sergei Ivanov.
Noble stepped up to take it. Gartler guessed correct but it was so well taken that the ball flew into the top right corner, giving West Ham a 2-0 lead at half time.
Top spot in Group H was now theirs to lose. It could have been 3-0 after 55 minutes when Bowen skinned three Vienna opponents with fast feet, only to then fail to beat Gartler.
West Ham eased to victory despite resting several players for Europa League match
After an hour, Yarmolenko picked up a loose pass and charged at Vienna’s back line. He cut the ball back into Tomas Soucek who, with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to score. Last season you imagine Soucek would bury this chance. This season they’re simply not going in for him.
In the aftermath, Bowen lashed a shot from inside of the six-yard box but Filip Stojkovic produced a goal-line clearance to keep it 2-0.
After 77 minutes, on came Perkins for his first-team bow. For the youth sides, he’s scored nine goals in 14 games this season. Within seconds, the 17-year-old could have made this a scoring debut, but his header from a Vladimir Coufal cross was tipped over.
What a story that would have been. Never mind, because West Ham are through to the Europa League’s last 16 nonetheless.
David Moyes’ side clinched top spot in Group H and avoided a play-off to reach the last 16