By Sam Stone

11th May, 2023 | 9:52pm

West Ham player ratings v AZ Alkmaar: Lucas Paqueta stinks, Said Benrahma stars

West Ham United beat AZ Alkmaar 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final clash against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday evening.

Tijjani Reijnders had opened the scoring for the Dutch side in the first half with a long-distance strike. However, a Said Benrahma penalty and Michail Antonio header mean the Hammers head to the Netherlands with a slender lead.

Here West Ham Zone rates the players out of ten for their performances at the London Stadium on Thursday night.

Alphonse Areola – 3

The Frenchman had to do better with the Tijjani Reijnders opener for the Eredivisie side. It wasn’t too far for the keeper to travel. He should’ve saved it. Goalkeepers are judged on their mistakes and this was a bad one.

Kurt Zouma – 6

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Wasn’t to blame for the goal. Looked relatively comfortable and cleared a number of crosses from the left in the first half. Needed to play faster at times.

Thilo Kehrer – 6

Was given a runaround by Myron van Brederode at times. However, on the whole, it was a comfortable and competent performance from the German. Picked some nice passes into midfield and into Michail Antonio’s feet.

Nayef Aguerd – 6

Much like Zouma was good when it came to defending crosses. Will be disappointed along with a number of West Ham players when it came to AZ’s opener. Stepped out of defence and challenge and was aggressive. Decent night from Aguerd. A couple of aimless long balls let him down.

Aaron Cresswell – 5

AZ looked to attack primarily down the left flank so Cresswell had a largely quiet night defensively. Needed to get forward more and provide support for Benrahma. Delivery was sub-par.

Declan Rice – 6

His quarter-final performance was always going to be hard to replicate, however, this was a flat performance from the midfielder. He didn’t get on the ball in an attacking sense and was a frustrated figure. Will be looking to return to his best in the second leg. Produced a clever cross for West Ham’s winner.

Tomas Soucek – 5

Looked to provide the Hammers with a presence in the box but didn’t give AZ’s backline too much to think about. Should’ve done better with the opening goal. He didn’t get out and press which allowed Reijnders to pick his spot.

Lucas Paqueta – 3

Extremely frustrating from the Brazilian. His passing was largely poor, he gave the ball away for fun and couldn’t impact the game in an attacking sense. Far from his best. Had a few nice touches but he was bought to make a difference and he failed. Nothing would come up for him tonight. Don’t let the odd backheel and flick detract from what was a poor performance.

Said Benrahma – 9

Easily the pick of West Ham’s attackers. Had numerous efforts on goal, looked to drive forward whenever he could and gave the visitors something to think about. Looked like the most likely player to score for the Hammers. Superb penalty under immense pressure.

Jarrod Bowen – 6

Lively at times but was let down by a lack of quality in the final action. Did brilliantly to win West Ham a penalty and a route back into the game. Definitely gave the visitors something to think about.

Michail Antonio – 5

Huffed and puffed but was let down by some clumsy control. Held the ball up relatively well but wasn’t able to cause too many issues going forward. Tireless display and cannot be faulted for lack of effort. Excellent poaching play to get on the scoresheet.


Danny Ings (on for Antonio, 79′) – 6

Pablo Fornals (on for Benrahma, 90′) – 5