By PA Sport Staff
Gianluca Scamacca climbed off the bench to give West Ham a 1-0 win at Anderlecht and put them in firm control of Group B in the Europa Conference League.
The Italian scored with a clinical finish to make it three wins from three matches of the third-tier competition for the Londoners and effectively put one foot in the knockout stages.
It needed the £35million signing to do the damage nine minutes after coming on, but the Hammers could have had it wrapped up long before that in Belgium.
Victory in Brussels! ⚒️ pic.twitter.com/5tMxgLLSc6
— West Ham United (@WestHam) October 6, 2022
David Moyes’ side wasted a host of chances, with Said Benrahma guilty of several glaring misses, but they got the job done and return to London unscathed ahead of Sunday’s derby with Fulham.
Moyes made nine changes to his side from the one that beat Wolves on Saturday and after a quiet opening 15 minutes, the game burst into life as both sides had chances within a minute.
Anderlecht had the first opportunity as they cut the Hammers open down the right and the ball fell to former Wolves striker Fabio Silva, but his goalbound shot was blocked by his team-mate Francis Amuzu.
Moments later Benrahma thought he had scored for the visitors as a loose ball fell to him at the far post and he picked out the top corner but Amadou Diawara made an important goalline clearance with his head.
Benrahma had two more chances before the break, first as he saw an effort blocked from Vladminir Coufa’s cutback and then skying a glaring chance when Jarrod Bowen put it on a plate for him after a surge down the right.
The former Brentford attacker had another effort shortly after the restart when he shot straight at goalkeeper Hendrick Van Crombrugge.
Scamacca, Lucas Paqueta and Declan Rice were introduced after 70 minutes and nine minutes later the former pair combined to break the deadlock.
Paqueta teed up his team-mate, who controlled, turned and found the bottom corner in clinical style.
Having barely been tested, Alphonse Areola produced a brilliant save to keep West Ham in front in the final 10 minutes as Silva, who struggled to find the net at Molineux, thought he had scored with a powerful header but the Frenchman denied him with a brilliant reflex save.