Said Benrahma made the difference as West Ham United were held to a 2-2 draw by KRC Genk in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
The game started on the worst possible note for West Ham United. The visitors were seemed to be working like an old diesel engine, as they did not get going early in the game and were caught napping just three minutes in when Joseph Paintsil duly pounced to score from close range.
The Hammers took a fair while to find their feet but could not get back on level terms going into half-time, with Michail Antonio having an effort denied off the goal line. West Ham were hot off the gates after the break and got the deserved equaliser through Said Benrahma, who converted a low cross from Vladimir Coufal to make it 1-1.
West Ham were subsequently in total control of the proceedings, and after probing for over 20 minutes, they went ahead for the first time in the game courtesy of a brilliant goal by Benrahma. However, their lead lasted just five minutes, as a stroke of good luck gifted Genk their equaliser.
In the 87th minute, Tomas Soucek inadvertently headed a cross from Angelo Preciado into his own net, with West Ham forced to share a point. Despite the stalemate, the Londoners have confirmed their place in the knockout stage of the Europa League. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over David Moyes’s men.
Alphonse Areola: 6/10
Areola cannot be directly faulted for conceding either of the Genk goals, but he will reckon he could have done better to deny Joseph Paintsil after getting his hands on the shot. Otherwise, the French goalkeeper was crucial in earning a point for West Ham, making a few important saves to keep his side in the game.
Vladimir Coufal: 7/10
Coufal was not in full flow as he continued to regain sharpness following his return from injury. However, the Czech defender made a telling impact on the proceedings, laying on the assist for the first goal scored by Said Benrahma with a superb low cross. However, he was also wasteful in possession and will hope to do better when linking up with teammates in future games.
Craig Dawson: 6/10
Dawson was not directly at fault for either, but he appeared wobbly at times behind the ball. However, he was imperious in the air, winning four duels while posing a threat during set-piece situations. Precise with the ball at his feet, he also completed all but four of his attempted passes.
Issa Diop: 5/10
A big reason why West Ham were under the cosh after just three minutes into the game, as he was caught napping when Joseph Paintsil scored the opener for Genk. After that moment, Diop grew into the game, making some big tackles, but the damage had already been done.
Aaron Cresswell: 6/10
A game of two halves for Cresswell saw him being pegged back for much of the first half before he was unleashed in the second half. Playing behind Arthur Masuaku did not quite work for him, but he was more expressive post the Congolese international’s substitution and played a game-high five key passes.
Mark Noble: 5/10
Making a rare appearance from the get-go, Noble showed signs of rust in his game and could not move the ball forward at a quick tempo. The West Ham captain cannot be faulted for being precise with the ball at his feet but needed to do more for his side to wrest control from Genk.
Declan Rice: 6/10
Rice appeared to be somewhat shackled with Noble playing alongside him and had to play behind the ball for much of the first half. However, upon the introduction of Soucek, he expressed himself better and directed play smartly in the final half an hour of the game.
Said Benrahma: 8/10
Thursday’s match was a rare occasion when Benhrama was deployed on the right flank, although he essentially had a free role. That the Algerian had the freedom to roam helped him become the most potent threat for West Ham, playing three key passes but most importantly scoring each of the goals for his side. He deserved a win from this game.
9 – Said Benrahma has now surpassed his tally for goals & assists from last season (8), with tonight's brace being the first by a West Ham player in a major European competition since David Cross' hat-trick v Real Madrid Castilla in October 1980 in the Cup Winners' Cup. Special. https://t.co/eIgmz94cDq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 4, 2021
Manuel Lanzini: 6/10
Reprising the no. 10 role, Lanzini had enough freedom to express himself. The Argentine did not seem to be affected greatly by the strong start that Genk made to the game, although he should have done better to carve out the openings. His substitution was not unwarranted.
Arthur Masuaku: 4/10
Handed a rare start by Moyes, Masuaku produced a forgettable performance. Although he barely lost the ball cheaply, the 27-year-old did very little of note apart from fashioning one decent chance. He was rightly one of the first players to be taken off.
Michail Antonio: 5/10
It was a rare game to forget for Antonio, who struggled to get into the game for much of his stay on the pitch. However, the experienced forward can consider himself unfortunate to not have grabbed a goal after coming ever so close to scoring just ahead of half-time. He has to do better against a much better Liverpool side.
Jarrod Bowen: 6/10
Bowen slotted in the central role after replacing Antonio and provided a direct threat with his movement. However, while he created a chance, the Englishman did not see one coming his way and failed to take a single shot.
Tomas Soucek: 6/10
A frustrating evening for Soucek, who knew nothing about the own goal he scored and has to consider himself incredibly unlucky to have cost his side two points. As for the rest of his display, the Czech midfielder provided a more assured presence on the pitch than Noble, which facilitated better control of the game.
Pablo Fornals: 6/10
An average performance by Fornals, who did not pose much of a creative threat despite West Ham’s stronghold over the proceedings for much of his stay on the pitch. However, the Spaniard hardly ever lost possession cheaply, which helped the visitors retain stronger control on the game.
Alex Kral: N/A
A late introduction, Kral got a rare cameo but did not have enough time to make an impact.