Joe Cole heaps praise on Said Benrahma after impressive showing

‘He could be a hero forever’: Joe Cole leads the praise for Said Benrahma after his impressive showing in Conference League semi-final first leg against AZ Alkmaar… as Owen Hargreaves brands the winger West Ham’s ‘star player’

  • Benrahma scored West Ham’s equaliser from the penalty spot in the second half
  • The Hammers struggled early on but grew into the game and took the win
  • David Moyes’s side travel to Holland to play the semi-final second leg next week 

Joe Cole led the praise for West Ham’s Said Benrahma for his performance in West Ham’s first leg Europa Conference League semi-final victory against AZ Alkmaar.

The Hammers will take a 2-1 lead into the second leg in Holland next week after Michail Antonio scored the winner from close range at the London Stadium.

Benrahma equalised from the penalty spot in a much-improved second half from David Moyes’s side after a disappointing first period as they sat off their opponents.

The Algerian was the Hammers’ star player in the game, converting the spot kick in a game in which he impressed from the wing, proving a constant threat.

Cole praised Benrahma on punditry for BT Sport after the game, suggesting he could be ‘a hero forever’ if he leads his side to a European final.

Joe Cole insisted Said Benrahma could be ‘a hero forever’ after his performance for West Ham

The forward scored the Hammers’ equaliser against AZ Alkmaar from the penalty spot

Cole said Benrahma ‘had his full-back on toast all game’ in what was a match of two halves

‘He had his fullback on toast all game,’ he said. ‘He draws players to him and he’s got the quality. 

‘He’ll draw players to him because he has the ability. I’ve always been a fan of his. He could be a hero forever after tonight.’

Owen Hargreaves and Carlton Cole echoed their colleague’s views, praising Benrahma for standing up in the semi-final.

‘The boys on commentary mentioned he was the best player and he was,’ Hargreaves said. ‘He’s the one that played with the most urgency. No one could really live with him. 

‘He was always running at people and with his ability. He’s really hard to play against, his team mates kept feeding him.’

Cole added: ‘He had bad decision making in the first half. It wasn’t all his fault. But they kept feeding him and he was in the mood. 

‘He did really well. For me he is one of the players that can turn it on or be marked out the game. Today he stood up and was counted.’

Owen Hargreaves (left) said Benrahma was West Ham’s best player, while Carlton Cole (right) praised the Algerian for ‘standing up and being counted’

West Ham will now take a slender 2-1 lead into the second leg in Holland next Thursday

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