West Ham United bounced back impressively to do the double over Bundesliga side Freiburg with a 2-0 win that seals the top spot in UEFA Europa League Group A.
Both teams were assured of qualification before kick-off, but the winners of the group would avoid the competition’s additional play-off round, and West Ham delivered a highly professional performance to avoid those extra knockout games.
Mohammed Kudus opened the scoring, making a terrific run to break the offside trap and latch onto a classy ball over the top from Edson Alvarez, finishing at the second attempt to put The Hammers on their way after 14 minutes.
And the excellent Edson added a goal to his assist, playing a delightful one-two with Jarrod Bowen before calmly slotting home West Ham’s second before the break.
Freiburg threw different options at The Hammers after the interval, but David Moyes’ side always looked in control and were able to rest their star players as they eased to a comfortable win to progress to the knockout stages.
TALKING POINT – WEST HAM EYE MORE EUROPEAN GLORY
There are going to be some very handy teams in the knockout stage of the Europa League, but West Ham will certainly count themselves among that number and will have half an eye on adding a Europa League trophy to their Conference League crown from last season.
This was a professional performance against a Freiburg side who are eighth in the Bundesliga but were made to look a lot worse than they are. And nobody will want to draw a team with West Ham’s combination of defensive organization and attacking x-factor.
Can they win it? There’s a long way to go, but winning Group A is a great start.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MOHAMMED KUDUS
The Ghana international has been a superb addition this season, joining from Ajax with plenty of hype, and delivering in style so far for The Hammers.
He’s been a real goal threat cutting in from the wing, causing all sorts of one-on-one issues for opponents and working his socks off too.
This was no exception and he put in a real shift, scoring the opening goal and continuing to develop his excellent on-field relationship with Edson.