East Ham came from behind to beat Serbian league leaders TSC Backa Topola 3-1 in their Europa League group stage opener.
The Hammers won the European Conference League last season and were expecting a comfortable evening at the London Stadium, but an Angelo Ogbonna screamer allowed Petar Stanic to put the visitors ahead just after the break.
West Ham failed to show an immediate response, but new signing Mohammed Kudus – in his first start for the club – came to the rescue, putting the hosts in front after a Nemanja Petrovic own goal. A goal from substitute Tomas Soucek made it 3-1 with eight minutes remaining.
Dom Smith was at the London Stadium to assess West Ham’s performance…
Lucas Fabianski — 6
Made two decent saves and was otherwise a spectator – until TSC pounced after the break.
Thilo Kehrer — 7
An excellent low shot was saved by goalkeeper Nikola Simic and impressed.
Konstantinos Mavropanos — 7
A good first start from the Greek. He could have scored with a glance of his head.
Angelo Ogbonna — 4
Far too easily pressed in the corner of his own half when Sasa Jovanovic closed in on him in the first half, then forgot balls existed as Stanic stole it and raced to score.
Aaron Cresswell — 5
Passed far too safely in the first half and eliminated at the break.
Pablo Fornals — 6
Carried the ball well for West Ham. As expected, he looked like a much better player than those who were marking him up close.
James Ward-Prowse — 7
His excellent corner resulted in assists for Kudus and Soucek.
Lucas Paquetá — 7
Got off to a good start and was involved in much of West Ham’s build-up throughout the match. Smart decision making and cute touches.
Mohammed Kudus — 8
Was West Ham’s most dynamic player and turned the game on its head. Played a part in Petrovic’s own goal, before his strike gave the Hammers the lead.
Danny Ings — 6
Stung Simic’s gloves in the first half. Was isolated at times, even though it wasn’t his fault.
Said Benrahma — 6
Had a wayward shot in the first half, but his key involvement was creating Kudus’ crucial equalizer with excellent play down the left.
Emerson (Cresswell, 46′) — 6
A few little touches. Did his job well.
Michail Antonio (Fornals, 61′) — 6
I had a few chances to score, but it was Kudus’ night.
Tomas Soucek (Ings, 77′) — N/A
It wasn’t long enough to get a score, but he scored a very well-taken third for West Ham from a corner.
Maxwel Cornet (Paqueta, 86′) — N/A
Unused subs: Areole, Anang, Johnson, Zouma, Coufal, Aguerd, Coventry, Mubama