West Ham continued their perfect start to the Europa League group campaign with a dominant 3-0 victory over Belgian side Genk.
The east Londoners went into the match high in confidence, having beaten Everton in the Premier League during their last outing. And they went on to make it nine points from a possible nine in Group H thanks to goals from Craig Dawson, Issa Diop and Jarrod Bowen.
Genk had a goal ruled out in the ninth minute. Japanese winger Junya Ito was sent down the right flank by a nice through ball. He crossed for West Ham and Tottenham target Paul Onuachu, who somehow failed to convert from just yards out. Theo Bongonda then headed in but the flag immediately went up.
West Ham’s first real effort came in the 21st minute. A corner was taken short, allowing Declan Rice to swing a cross in. Tomas Soucek rose tall at the back post, only for his header to be palmed away by Genk goalkeeper Maarten Vandevoordt.
Manuel Lanzini then picked out Ben Johnson on the right wing, who pulled the ball back for makeshift striker Bowen. The 24-year-old should have scored but completely missed the ball, in a huge let off for Genk.
The in-form Onuachu almost put his team in front in the 37th minute. A cross came in from the left and Areola went searching but was beaten to it. Onuachu headed towards goal, only for his effort to land just wide of the mark.
The Hammers continued to probe before half-time. Aaron Cresswell caused problems down the left and put in a dangerous cross, which Bowen failed to convert.
West Ham eventually broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time. Cresswell whipped in a corner, with centre-back Dawson challenging Onuachu for the header. The ball looped off Dawson’s shoulder, beating Vandevoordt and giving Moyes’ side the lead.
Cresswell turned provider again after the interval. He swung in a free-kick which was met by Issa Diop. The defender headed onto the crossbar and over the line to open his account for the season.
Bowen bags first Europa League goal
Bowen got in on the action just a minute later. Andriy Yarmolenko won the ball back from the restart, allowing West Ham to break. Bowen received the ball and drove into the box before firing a left-footed drive at goal. Vandevoordt got some contact on it but couldn’t keep it out.
Two goals in two minutes for West Ham! 💥
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 21, 2021
Skipper Declan Rice was brought off in the 67th minute as Moyes started to look ahead to the weekend, when they face Tottenham. Mark Noble came on in midfield, while Cresswell was replaced by speedster Ryan Fredericks.
Genk didn’t give up and could have got one back with 69 minutes gone. Onuachu headed a cross down into the path of Kristian Thorstvedt, who should have challenged Areola but failed to get any meaningful contact.
Onuachu was hauled off and replaced by former Chelsea youngster Ike Ugbo. The striker met an Ito cross soon after he came on but his header went wide under pressure from Dawson.
West Ham dampened any Genk attacks late on and held out to gain all three points. Their next match in the competition is against Genk once again on November 4.