The likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Cristiano Romero and Hugo Lloris did not travel to Holland with Sunday’s clash at West Ham in mind and a second string were undone by Maximilian Wittek’s 78th-minute strike.
The side Nuno Espirito Santo picked still had nine international players, but they were never really in the game and Bryan Gil’s shot that hit the crossbar early in the second half was their only moment of note.
Last time Tottenham played in Holland they enjoyed one of the most famous nights in their history as Lucas Moura’s hat-trick against Ajax sent them through to the Champions League final.
This time the Johan Cruijff ArenA was nothing but a stop on the trainline between Amsterdam and Arnhem and that Moura miracle must seem a long time ago as Spurs now compete in the third tier of European football.
Nuno has shown the competition respect so far, but made it clear where his priorities lay, leaving the entire XI that played 90 minutes at Newcastle last weekend at home to train ahead of Sunday’s Premier League visit to the Hammers.
With the return fixture in a fortnight and then a trip to the weakest team in the competition NS Mura to come, the Portuguese decided that leaving his big guns back in London for this game was a risk worth taking.
It was a gamble because this was a big night for Vitesse, who sold out their GelreDome stadium for the first time in seven years.
Before kick-off their partisan fans held up a banner reading “For the city, the colours and our club: This is our night” and, fresh from a derby win over NEC Nijmegen at the weekend, they started with intent.
Nikolai Baden Frederiksen forced Pierluigi Gollini into a save with his feet after being played in in the third minute and then Jacob Rasmussen flashed a header just wide from a corner.
Unsurprisingly given the amount of changes, Spurs were not up to much in an attacking sense in the first half, with teenage striker Dane Scarlett up against it in a lone role in attack.
They immediately showed more after the break and were within inches of taking the lead in the 47th minute.
Giovani Lo Celso showed why he is becoming a key player for Argentina as he went on an enterprising dribble before laying it off for Gil, whose first-time shot rattled the crossbar.
That was as good as it got for Spurs who were pinned further and further back as the second half wore on, with Eli Dasa twice going close with efforts from distance, the second effort bringing a smart stop out of Gollini.
It was no surprise when the goal came 12 minutes from time as Wittek brilliantly volleyed home Dasa’s cross from the edge of the area to send the home crowd wild.
Jarrod Bowen shines as West Ham dispatch Genk to extend Europa League party
While West Ham’s last Europa League home game felt like a full-blown festival, Thursday evening’s fixture looked set to be the house party on a night when the best people had made other plans.
Of course, there was the keen group gathered in the corner – on this occasion, Genk’s travelling supporters – undeterred by the outdated playlist and underwhelming snack choice, but the most engaging attendees had stayed home. That was, until they walked in the door just in time to inject life into the party and rescue the evening.
For just minutes before West Ham’s group-stage hosting of Belgian side Genk, the London Stadium filled out, showing that fans of the east London club are rightly refusing to take their presence in Europe for granted.
Nor are West Ham’s players, who evidenced that fact here with an impressive 3-0 win to retain top spot in Group H.
West Ham 3-0 Genk: David Moyes’ side made it three wins from three games in Europe to stay top of Group H
Jarrod Bowen’s reaction
Jarrod Bowen spoke to BT Sport after the game to talk about his goal, playing through the middle and his journey to European football via non-league. He said:
West Ham stay perfect in Europa League with comfortable victory over Genk
West Ham continued their European cruise with a thumping 3-0 win over Belgian side Genk.
West Ham are already six points clear at the top of Group H and could even secure qualification as group winners in their next match, in Genk in a fortnight, with two games to spare.
Craig Dawson, Issa Diop and Jarrod Bowen all found the net.
Reaction from Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson spoke to BT Sport after the match to give his reaction to West Ham’s impressive win. He said:
West Ham United vs Genk: Five things we learned as Hammers cruise in Europa League
Here’s what we learned from a very impressive performance and 3-0 victory:
The Hammers earned a third European win in three matches to continue their fine form under David Moyes
Hammers yet to concede
West Ham are only the second English side to win each of their first three group games in a single Europa League campaign without conceding, after Spurs in 2013-14.
The last team from any nation to do so won the competition, Sevilla in 2019-20. A sign of things to come?
Cresswell on top form
Aaron Cresswell had a great game for West Ham. He was a constant threat down the left side and provided two assists from set pieces.
Full-time: West Ham 3 - 0 Genk
90+2 mins: Job done for West Ham. Two goals in two minutes in the second half killed the game off and made the Hammers’ lead unassailable.
They’ve won every game so far in the Europa League and have yet to concede a goal. It’s a good confidence builder for David Moyes’ team ahead of a clash with Tottenham at the weekend.
West Ham 3 - 0 Genk
90 mins: Two minutes of added time to play.
West Ham 3 - 0 Genk
88 mins: Now here’s a moment. Manuel Lanzini is replaced with 19-year-old Daniel Chesters an academy graduate for West Ham who makes his European debut for the club.
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