West Ham set European record with victory over Freiberg in Germany

Freiberg 1-2 West Ham: David Moyes’ team continued their unbeaten European run

Andy Sims
Thursday 05 October 2023 20:29 BST
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West Ham continued their continental cruise as headers from Lucas Paqueta and Nayef Aguerd secured a 2-1 win at Freiburg and a record 17th match unbeaten in Europe.

The Hammers took control of Europa League Group A with a battling display in southern Germany.

The match may have taken place on the edge of the Black Forest, but it was never going to be a piece of cake against a side eighth in the Bundesliga.

They were also up against 34,000 noisy fans, with no away supporters allowed to attend following incidents during West Ham’s Europa Conference League final triumph in June.

That march to Prague contributed to West Ham’s now record unbeaten streak, putting them one ahead of Bill Nicholson’s Tottenham, Don Revie’s Leeds and Pep Guardiola’s current Manchester City.

Freiburg’s nickname is the Breisgau Brazilians due to their flamboyant style of play, but it was West Ham’s Samba star Paqueta who put them ahead after only nine minutes.

Vladimir Coufal collected the ball from Mohammed Kudus and sent Jarrod Bowen scampering down the right.

Bowen, buzzing after his recall to the England squad, drew his marker out before sending in a cross which Paqueta met with a towering header above two defenders at the far post.

Moments later a shot from Kudus was spilled by goalkeeper Noah Atubolu, who was mightily relieved to see the ball cannon back off the foot of his post.

Then Paqueta had the ball in the net after a surging run into the box from Pablo Fornals, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Freiburg’s cow field of a pitch was making it difficult for both sides to knock the ball around with any confidence.

But West Ham had initially adapted better and could have doubled their lead when James Ward-Prowse got through on the stroke of half-time, but his shot was too close to Atubolu.

The Hammers should have been further ahead but sat back on their lead, so there was an all-too familiar feeling when Freiburg equalised after the restart.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was unfortunate, keeping out Roland Sallai’s shot and the follow-up from Lukas Kubler but Sallai smashed the ball home at the third attempt.

West Ham then had an almighty let-off when Kiliann Sildillia’s header bounced off the woodwork and Lucas Holer blazed the rebound over from six yards out.

Instead the visitors wrapped up the victory after 66 minutes, Aguerd rising highest to head home Ward-Prowse’s corner.

Bowen should have marked his return to the national squad with a sixth goal of the season – only to fire wide when clean through – but West Ham had done enough to sit top of the group with six points from their opening two matches.

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