West Ham manager David Moyes wants to “try and be in Europe after Christmas” as his side claimed a deserved Europa League group stage win over Rapid Vienna.
Declan Rice’s first-half tap-in and Said Benrahma’s injury-time effort gave them victory at the London Stadium.
Following on from their success at Dinamo Zagreb a fortnight ago, Moyes’ men are in command of Group H ahead of back-to-back meetings with Belgian side Genk.
Rice also hit a post with a near-post flick and Craig Dawson saw his header bounce back off the woodwork.
Substitute Jarrod Bowen should have scored in the second half, but blazed wide with only defender Kevin Wimmer on the line to beat.
Pablo Fornals had a shot saved in stoppage time, moments before Benrahma found the bottom corner with virtually the last kick.
Moyes told BT Sport: “I want to try and be in Europe after Christmas by finishing one or two, so we want to win the group if we can.
“We are not going to let up, we are enjoying it and won’t be letting it go easy, but I have to manage Premier League games too.
“We are capable of handling it and the squad we have can handle it too. It will be tough, but I hope we can manage it.
“Pleased we won, but we did not play as well as we would have liked. We made a few changes but we are in a lot of competitions and we have to make it work for the whole squad.”
The game did not pass without incident.
West Ham’s 29th-minute opener triggered ugly scenes as a number of the 1,300 Rapid Vienna fans jumped over barriers and ran the short distance to goad the home contingent. It triggered numerous objects being thrown in the air by both sets of fans.
A significant police presence ensured the situation did not escalate and, although more objects were thrown when Rapid had a penalty overturned late on, it was not on the same scale.
Thankfully, Benrahma’s effort did not result in a repeat of what happened following the opening goal.
Moyes added: “We want to be a club in Europe and be there regularly. Because of that we want to behave correctly. We don’t know who started that, but we don’t want that reputation.
“We want to be invited to these competitions and we want to be a club who can travel in Europe.”
Rice gets better and better
Rice’s development over the past few years has been impressive.
His performances at Euro 2020 identified him as a top holding midfield player and if anything, he has moved to the next level since then.
Rice’s goal was nothing special, an easy tap-in after Michail Antonio had squared to him in front of an empty net. But the desire to get into that position, deep inside the six-yard area, suggests a hitherto unseen desire to get on the scoresheet.
Indeed, Rice has two already this season, which matches his previous best across a whole campaign.
Moyes added: “It was a really good goal and pleased for Declan, he is doing that more, driving forward and getting into the box.”
Prior to the game, the 22-year-old dismissed speculation about his future and said he was committed to the Hammers.
However, as well as Moyes’ side are doing, it is surely only a matter of time before a player who was released by Chelsea as a youngster, moves on to even bigger things.
Heroes of 1965 acknowledged
After its unveiling on Wednesday, West Ham fans in significant numbers got their first chance to see the sculpture depicting the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup-winning team, that now has pride of place outside the London Stadium.
Many of the players were introduced to the crowd at half-time, including England’s 1966 hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst.
He repeated what he told BBC Sport the day before that, in his view, no English club will ever provide the captain and all the goalscorers from a World Cup final as the club did 55 years ago.
Of course, the debate around that famous day – from a German perspective anyway – was whether Hurst’s second goal crossed the line.
Such debate should never rage again given the existence of both goal-line technology and VAR.
And it was to Ben Johnson’s good fortune the technology was in operation as it allowed German referee Tobias Stieler the opportunity to overrule his own incorrect penalty decision.
The Hammers defender had clearly not touched Marco Grull before the Rapid substitute fell inside the box 20 minutes from time.
West Ham are next in action on Sunday, 3 October when they host Brentford in a top-flight London derby for the first time (14:00 BST).
West Ham United
- 23DiopBooked at 75mins
- 16NobleSubstituted forSoucekat 62′minutes
- 7YarmolenkoSubstituted forFornalsat 76′minutes
- 11VlasicSubstituted forLanziniat 62′minutes
- 9AntonioSubstituted forBowenat 62′minutes
- 30GreimlBooked at 57minsSubstituted forStojkovicat 62′minutes
- 31UllmannSubstituted forAuerat 74′minutes
- 16PetrovicSubstituted forLjubicicat 81′minutes
- 14GrahovacBooked at 44mins
- 9FountasSubstituted forKitagawaat 62′minutes
- 29KaraSubstituted forGrüllat 62′minutes
Match ends, West Ham United 2, Rapid Vienna 0.
Second Half ends, West Ham United 2, Rapid Vienna 0.
Goal! West Ham United 2, Rapid Vienna 0. Saïd Benrahma (West Ham United) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jarrod Bowen.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Emanuel Aiwu.
Attempt missed. Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Saïd Benrahma.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Paul Gartler.
Attempt saved. Pablo Fornals (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Saïd Benrahma.
Foul by Kevin Wimmer (Rapid Vienna).
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt blocked. Robert Ljubicic (Rapid Vienna) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Filip Stojkovic.
Corner, Rapid Vienna. Conceded by Tomas Soucek.
Substitution, Rapid Vienna. Robert Ljubicic replaces Dejan Petrovic.
Attempt missed. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Substitution, West Ham United. Pablo Fornals replaces Andriy Yarmolenko.
Issa Diop (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Issa Diop (West Ham United).
Marco Grüll (Rapid Vienna) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United).
Kelvin Arase (Rapid Vienna) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Rapid Vienna. Jonas Antonius Auer replaces Maximilian Ullmann.