Michail Antonio scored moments before he was due to be substituted

Michail Antonio gave West Ham the lead in crucial Conference League first leg tie against AZ Alkmaar MOMENTS before he was due to be substituted… as Robbie Savage hails ‘brilliant’ Hammers in dominant second period

  • Antonio poked in from close range after good play from Declan Rice out wide
  • West Ham had trailed after a disappointing period in the first leg of the tie
  • Said Benrahma netted an equaliser from the spot after a foul by Matt Ryan

Michail Antonio was set to be taken off just before he scored West Ham’s second goal in their Conference League semi-final first leg victory against AZ Alkmaar.

The forward poked home from close range in the 75th minute to put David Moyes’ side 2-1 ahead after they had trailed following a disappointing first half, with the game finishing with the same scoreline.

The Hammers upped the intensity in the second period after sitting off their Dutch opponents early on, and turned the game around to take a slender lead into next week’s second leg.

West Ham had given the fourth official the information that they were going to replace Antonio with Danny Ings, but the forward netted after good play from Declan Rice.

He made way for Ings just minutes later, receiving a round of applause from those in attendance at the London Stadium on his way off.

Michail Antonio scored moments before he was due to be substituted on Thursday evening

Antonio poked in from close range versus AZ Alkmaar after good play from Declan Rice

He made way for Danny Ings soon after and received a round of applause from the home fans

Robbie Savage, on commentary for BT Sport in the game, praised West Ham for turning the game around, and Antonio for the finish.

‘We said they’d up the intensity, Savage said. Brilliant from West Ham. Antonio getting the congratulations. 

‘Was the ball across the line? He made sure. I think it comes off the shoulder. Antonio is alive. Rice does ever so well and Antonio is there. Big goal.’

The Hammers started poorly but came out for the second half a different side, equalising through Said Benrahma from the penalty spot after Matt Ryan had fouled Jarrod Bowen.

Robbie Savage led the praise for West Ham’s second half performance at the London Stadium

Joe Cole (left) and Owen Hargreaves (right) agreed that the Hammers have set the blueprint for the second leg

BT Sport’s other pundits went onto praise the Hammers for their response in the second period, with Joe Cole claiming the performance should be a blueprint for the return leg.

‘The goal changed the game,’ he insisted. ‘There was a little upsurge but you could feel the tension and frustration. 

‘The players played on the front foot and they could have got it done tonight. Get on the front foot. Stop the rhythm at source. That’s how they need to approach the second leg.’

Owen Hargreaves added: ‘The stadium looks perfect. They fans were up for it. They showed them too much respect. Joe is right, that is a blueprint for the second game.’

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