Daily Express

Hammers back to rude health


- By Neil McLeman

WEST HAM cast off their recent sickness bug to complete a perfect 10 of consecutiv­e European home wins and top Group A and revitalise their season.

The unhappy Hammers suffered a gut-wrenching 5-0 defeat at Fulham on Sunday to leave their fans feeling sick.

But former Ajax stars Mohammed Kudus and Edson Alvarez, who both suffered with the virus, netted first-half goals to ensure a painless passage to the last 16. The excellent Mexican scored his first goal for the club and provided the assist for Kudus before he was subbed.

David Moyes, right, has now led his side to just one defeat in eight – the last time the Hammers failed to win a European game at the London Stadium was against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final in April 2022.

But last night’s German opponents never threatened a repeat in a largely one-sided containing job by the home side. The white-clad army of supporters from the Black Forest made the biggest impression on the night.

But the Europa League Conference winners top their group for the third consecutiv­e season and avoid a February play-off with Champions League dropouts such as Milan or Benfica or Shakhtar Donetsk.

Both clubs had already qualified before last night and the Hammers only needed a draw to finish above the visitors after their October victory in Germany.

Lucas Paqueta’s shot had already rattled the bar before Kudus gave Hammers the 14th-minute lead.

Alvarez was given time and space in the centre circle to pick out the Ghanaian’s angled run past left-back Jordy Makengo. His chest control before his shot passed a VAR check for handball.

It was Kudus’ seventh goal since his £38million summer signing from Ajax. The

Hammers nearly doubled their lead from another simple ball over the top. This time Jarrod Bowen was caught offside.

But the second goal inevitably came three minutes before the break with Bowen, who is relishing his new role down the middle, this time the provider.

The England star exchanged slick passes with Alvarez before the Mexican lashed home his first goal for the club. The Germans had 11 shots but Lukasz Fabianksi’s only proper save was from Ritsu Doan.

 ?? ?? ANOTHER ONE: Kudus has an eye for goal
ANOTHER ONE: Kudus has an eye for goal
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