West Ham United came from behind to get the job done against FCSB at the London Stadium in their UEFA Europa Conference League opener.

West Ham United kicked off their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign with a 3-1 home win against Romanian side FCSB. Andrei Cordea’s first-half strike gave the visitors a surprise lead before the interval, but second-half goals from Jarrod Bowen, Emerson Palmieri, and Michail Antonio turned the tables.

As expected, West Ham, being the superior of the two sides, had the lion’s share of possession and were patient with their build-up play, moving the ball well and probing the flanks early. However, their dominance did not translate into something more tangible, and it was FCSB who drew the first blood.

It was a well-worked goal when Darius Olaru wrapped his left foot around the ball and whipped it across the six-yard box to Andrei Cordea, who was waiting at the back post for a simple tap-in. West Ham should have equalised before half-time when Flynn Downes sent Gianluca Scamacca through on goal, but the Italian striker skewed his strike way wide.

After an underwhelming showing from his side, manager David Moyes made a triple substitution at the break, with Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen, and Lucas Paqueta coming on. And the flurry of subs did the trick; the Hammers equalised in the 65th minute via a Bowen penalty after Maxwel Cornet was fouled by FCSB keeper Stefan Tarnovanu when contesting for a high ball inside the box.

Soon after, summer signing Emerson pounced following a scramble inside the penalty area, before Antonio burst through the FCSB defence to seal the deal with a minute remaining. Here at The Hard Tackle, we look at how David Moyes’s men fared in their Conference League group opener against FCSB.

Alphonse Areola: 6/10

Areola could not have done much to prevent the FCSB goal. Otherwise, he did not have much to do between the sticks. But he did his due diligence in dealing with awkward balls in behind, and he came off his line smartly in first-half stoppage time to cut off the potential for a second goal.

Vladimir Coufal: 6/10

The cross for the opening goal came down Coufal’s side, and the full-back needed to be more physical when on recovery runs. He looked okay going forward but was wasteful with his final ball, notably sending one dreadful cross after a fine Paqueta pass. But he set up a fine late chance that Antonio squandered.

Angelo Ogbonna: 6/10

Another 90 minutes under the belt for the Italian, who largely kept FCSB at bay and made an important second-half recovery run after being caught off guard. With little defending to do, he simply knocked the ball around and fed the attacking players ahead of him in possession. He was replaced at the end by Craig Dawson.

Thilo Kehrer: 6/10

It was an improved performance from the German international, who has had a tricky couple of games since arriving at the London Stadium. This was a relatively quiet evening, though, as he looked comfortable and untroubled at the back, with West Ham in control of proceedings for the majority of the game. However, when the Romanians attacked on a few occasions, he struggled to cope with it.

Emerson Palmieri: 6/10

Emerson was caught ball-watching for Cordea’s early chance, and the same player opened the scoring in similar fashion, suggesting that the Italian international certainly did not learn from his mistake. But then he played a part in the penalty with a hopeful ball towards Cornet and scored the second goal to complete his redemption arc.

Declan Rice: 6.5/10

With Downes operating in a more conservative role, Rice had the licence to drive forward. The West Ham captain looked a bit off-colour but still did not put a foot or pass wrong and marshalled the middle of the park alongside Downes.

Flynn Downes: 8/10

Downes made his long-awaited first start for West Ham against FCSB. The former Swansea City midfielder was a composed presence in the middle of the park for the Hammers. He kept things ticking and moved the ball around with ease. Defensively, he was tenacious and full of energy, completing three tackles. He provided a solid shield for the back-four while also creating three key passes. So, all in all, it was a brilliant showing from the young playmaker.

Maxwel Cornet: 6/10

Cornet was just about lively enough in the first half to survive the half-time triple substitution. He tried to make things happen and won the penalty which Bowen converted. Forced off with a head injury.

Manuel Lanzini: 5/10

Lanzini has fallen further down the pecking order since the arrival of Lucas Paqueta in the summer, and he did little in 45 minutes here to indicate that he is good enough to start in the Conference League, let alone the Premier League. There were a few nice touches and passes but not enough to break FCSB’s low block. He was taken off at half-time, with his team needing a goal.

Said Benrahma: 5/10

Benrahma was very quiet for someone renowned for his dribbling and ability to beat opponents in one-on-one situations. He failed to get West Ham going during his time on the pitch. At times, he linked effectively with Gianluca Scamacca and had an early attempt well stopped. But he was another player who only saw 45 minutes of action, with his team trailing 1-0.

Gianluca Scamacca: 5/10

Started after missing the Chelsea trip due to illness, Scamacca showed bits of nice hold-up play, but he inexcusably missed a couple of chances in the first half, perhaps due to rustiness. He scuffed a shot wide when played in by Downes, while he should have buried a free header from six yards out.


Jarrod Bowen: 7/10

Bowen was introduced as a half-time substitute, and he stepped up to fire West Ham level with a brilliant penalty. After a slow start to the season, he showed signs of regaining his mojo with a bright cameo and almost scored a second goal.

Lucas Paqueta: 6/10

Paqueta is such a classy midfield operator thanks to his precise passing and excellent decision-making in the attacking third. His ball into the box led to a West Ham penalty, while he almost grabbed an assist with another tempting ball across the box.

Michail Antonio: 7/10

Antonio was brought on at half-time for Scamacca with West Ham down 1-0. His physicality and runs in behind stretched the FCSB backline and were a nuisance that created the goal for Emerson. He got a late chance from Coufal’s pull-back but got his shot all wrong before being rewarded with a late clincher to seal the tie.

Pablo Fornals: 5/10

Fornals was subbed on for the injured Cornet. He played his part in the second goal and came close to scoring but was stopped by an amazing save by Tarnovanu.

Craig Dawson: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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