Silkeborg 2-3 West Ham: Hammers battle through unnecessarily difficult evening
Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

An early goal from Kasper Kusk and a late one from Søren Tengstedt caused West Ham significant issues at Silkeborg. However, three goals between the host's two strikes were enough to have the visitors escape with all the points.

A Manuel Lanzini penalty, just eight minutes after Kusk's opener, helped to alleviate some of the early nerves for the visitors. West Ham went on to score twice more before the break and take a comfortable lead into half-time.

Gianluca Scamacca and Craig Dawson seemed to have given West Ham a buffer good enough to negotiate the second-half comfortably and, initially, that was the way that things seemed to be going.

However, with 15 minutes left, Tengstedt's rebounded effort brought the game and crowd back into life. West Ham were just about able to negotiate some very nervy moments in the last period of the game and hold on to the 3-2 win.

The result puts West Ham top of Group B. FCSB and Anderlecht drew 0-0 in the other game of the group. The Belgian side are in second place in Group B, trailing The Hammers by two points. The two will now meet in back-to-back games.

Story of the match

A fresh West Ham team, following their postponed fixture last weekend, were the clear favourites going into their second game of the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage campaign.

What seemed like it may be a comfortable night, started off in the worst way possible. After just five minutes, Silkeborg opened the scoring. Kusk produced a first-time, side-footed finish, following Lukas Engel's low cross from the left side. Alphonse Areola was left flat-footed, as the hosts took a shock lead. 

However, the visitors did not need to wait long for a chance to draw back level. A moment of stupidity from Tobias Salquist - the defender decided to needlessly shove Maxwel Cornet down to the ground in the box, provided them with just that. Vladimir Coufal's cross was well overhit and way over Cornet's head, leaving the defender's decision-making to be seriously questioned. 

Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images
Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

Lanzini, even with a slight slip with his planted foot, was able to slot the penalty past the keeper. Tobias Larsen guessed the right way, but was unable to stop a well-placed strike.

West Ham turn the game around, again

After 25 minutes, a loose pass from Mark Brink left Silkeborg in a lot of danger. The ball rolled to Cornet and his smart, first-time pass to Scamacca found the forward in enough space, for him to turn and unleash a powerful strike from around 20 yards. Just like last week, West Ham were able to come from behind and take the lead. 

Shortly after the half-hour mark, from a corner which shouldn't have been - as replays showed a clear final touch from a Silkeborg player, the hosts almost got themselves back level. This time, the referee was able to spot the block by Stefan Thordarson on Areola, preventing the keeper from collecting the ball which eventually ended up in the back of the net. 

A sublime bit of link-up from Lucas Paqueta, Lanzini and Emerson on the left side led to the latter having an effort at goal from outside of the box. The strike had to be well saved by Larsen.

Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images
Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

It was from the resulting corner that Dawson got West Ham's third goal of the half. A pinpoint delivery from Aaron Cresswell onto the near post was met by the charging centre-back, who got his first goal of the season, on his first start.

A 3-1 lead at half-time seemed a good enough advantage for the visitors, who certainly seemed a class apart from the Silkeborg.

The initial period following the restart was a very unrewarding watch. The hosts settled on neatly keeping possession in their own half, with no intention of asking any questions of West Ham's backline. 

Just after the hour mark, a treble change for both teams did nothing to bring any life to the slowly dying game. Paqueta, Declan Rice and Scamacca were all preserved, with Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Said Benrahma introduced to the action.

Following the changes, West Ham were close to creating a few chances, but their final pass was often lacking. 

Unexpected goal sets up nervy ending

Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images
Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

Instead, it was the hosts who, out of nowhere, got themselves back in the game. Bowen held onto the ball for too long, as most of West Ham's team were still up from the initial corner and him being dispossessed led to the host's counter. The initial effort was well parried by Areola, but it was tapped in by Tengstedt, to set-up a potentially exciting last quarter of an hour.

All of a sudden, Silkeborg found some life. Tonni Adamsen had a brilliant chance to draw the hosts, remarkably, level. The substitute was able to find the space to make Areola make a great save, following his powerful strike from just inside of the box.

In the 89th minute, Coufal's critical, last-ditch tackle prevented the hosts from having another clear effort on goal. A very dangerous moment, symbolising the nervousness of the last few minutes. 

After four minutes of added time, the final whistle went, to the great relief of West Ham. A fairly sloppy performance against a stubborn Silkeborg team, but it was enough for The Hammers to pick up a maximum six points from their opening two games of the group.

Player of the match - Gianluca Scamacca

Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images
Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

A fairly difficult decision, as no player massively stood out on the night.

Scamacca's goal was one of the night's very few moments of quality. The Italian's link-up play was impressive throughout and this was a much-improved performance from the forward, compared to last week.

He was taken off after just 63 minutes, which may suggest he has a chance of keeping his place for West Ham's trip to Everton on Sunday. With him and an in-form Antonio as the forward options for David Moyes, it will be a very tough decision to make for the manager.

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