West Ham opened their Europa League Group H campaign with a comfortable win at Dinamo Zagreb.
Michail Antonio set the Hammers on their way with his fifth goal of the season, latching on to an under-hit backpass from Kevin Theophile-Catherine to round home goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and slide the ball into an empty net.
It was no more than the visitors deserved after dominating the early stages against the Croatian champions.
Declan Rice sealed an exemplary away performance with a superb second on his 150th appearance for the club.
The England midfielder brilliantly won back possession and drove into the Dinamo area before dispatching a powerful left-foot shot through Livakovic’s legs.
Bar qualifiers, it ensured a first victory in Europe for West Ham since 1999 and vindicated manager David Moyes’ decision to introduce several players into his starting XI for the first time this season.
Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic were both impressed on their full debuts for the club, while Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini and Issa Diop all appeared up to speed on their first starts of the season.
The Hammers are joined at the top of Group H by Genk, who scored a stoppage-time winner at Rapid Vienna.
A perfect night for West Ham and Moyes
As far as European away trips go few are likely to prove as straightforward as this for West Ham.
On paper, they appeared to have been handed a difficult opening assignment against last term’s quarter-finalists and conquerors of Tottenham.
However, the only disappointment was that the scoreline was not more emphatic.
Roared on by about 2,000 visiting fans inside at Stadion Maksimir, Moyes’ team pushed forward from the outset and the likes of Fredericks, Vlasic and Lanzini all failed to capitalise when presented with good opportunities to score.
Aside from the aggressive nature of West Ham’s pressing, Moyes will have also been delighted by the way his side nullified Dinamo’s threat.
Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski barely had a shot to save, with the only moment of alarm coming when a heavily deflected Luka Ivanusec effort clipped the outside of the right post before going wide.
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