West Ham 2-1 AZ: Player ratings as Benrahma and Antonio put the Hammers in the driver’s seat
West Ham have taken command of their Europa Conference League semi-final tie after running out 2-1 winners over Eredivisie outfit AZ this evening.
David Moyes’ side needed to mount a second-half comeback after Tijjani Reijnders put the visitors in front against the run of play. Saïd Benrahma once again came clutch from the penalty spot while Michael Antonio registered his sixth goal across seven appearances in this season’s competition.
Both teams reconvene in Alkmaar next Thursday, but for now here’s how the players rated at the London Stadium:
Alphonse Aréola – 6 – He really should have done better for Reijnders’ goal. A stronger hand would have been enough to turn it behind for a corner.
Aaron Cresswell – 5.5 – A subdued performance by his standards. Cresswell did put in three crosses while creating one chance.
Nayef Aguerd – 7.5 – Had a moment in the opening half when he broke forward only to blast a long-range effort wide. Aside from that won all three of his attempted tackles while making two important clearances.
Kurt Zouma – 6.5 – Back in the side after missing West Ham’s last two games through injury. He would go on to register a game-high three interceptions.
Thilo Kehrer – 5 – Nothing outlandish from the German international this evening.
Declan Rice – 6.5 – This could very well be his final home European game in a West Ham shirt. From the get-go, Rice looked like a man determined to carry his side to victory.
Tomás Soucek – 6 – Another disciplined performance from the consistent Czech defensive midfielder.
Saïd Benrahma – 8 – Remains perfect from the spot this season. Overall he attempted six shots in this game, the highest total for a West Ham player in the Europa Conference League this season.
Lucas Paquetá – 8 – An uncharismatic first-half performance from the Brazilian who placed a couple of important passes, which frustrated him. Even so, Paquetá ended the game by creating five chances, more than any other player on either team
Jarrod Bowen – 7 – Produced tonight’s first meaningful chance when his free header went over the bar. At the heart of everything positive West Ham did.
Michail Antonio – 8.5 – AZ’s defenders struggled to cope with him, particularly his strength. Never stopped making intelligent off-the-ball runs and drove West Ham forward whenever in possession. He’s now scored 75 goals in all competitions for West Ham, almost twice as many as anyone since he signed for the club in September 2015 (Bowen, 38).
Danny Ings (for Antonio 79) – N/A – A late sub.
Pablo Fornals (for Benrahma 90) – N/A – A late sub.
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Mathew Ryan – 5 – The former Brighton goalkeeper produced a sensational effort to deny Saïd Benrahma early into this match. But he couldn’t deny the Algerian from 12-yards after he gave away a spot-kick (clattering into Bowen)
Mees de Wit – 5 – Started in place of AZ’s usual left-back Milos Kerkez and subsequently entered the referee’s book for a reckless offence.
Pantelis Hatzidiakos – 5 – Kept on his toes by Antonio.
Sam Beukema – 6 – Tangled with Lucas Paqueta in the build-up to Reijnders goal. No one made more touches (85) in tonight’s game on either side than him.
Yukinari Sugawara – 5 – AZ looked more imposing with him pushing further up the field.
Tijjani Reijnders – 7 – “A very classy midfielder,” came Glenn Murray’s assessment on BBC Radio 5 Live commentary. Put his side ahead, firmly against the run of play, just before half-time through a stunning 35-yard effort.
Jordy Clasie – 5.5 – Saw an effort from long-range go wide. Aside from that one attacking foray he kept possession ticking along. Booked in the second half for time-wasting.
Myron van Brederode – 6 – The exciting 19-year-old forward, another graduate of AZ’s esteemed youth academy, showed why many are tipping him to enjoy a bright future.
Sven Mijnans – 6 – During the visitor’s period of ascendancy, he looked to be a difference-maker, Mijnans was popping up in advantageous positions but once West Ham regained control he — like his teammates — faded into the background.
Jens Odgaard – 5 – Attempted four tackles in this game, more than any other player on either team.
Vangelis Pavlidis – 4 – Hardly involved which should frustrate AZ head coach Pascal Jansen.
Mayckel Lahdo (for Odgaard 69) – 4 – Showed glimpses of his potential.
Mihailovic (for Van Brederode 79) – N/A – A late sub.