Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen fired West Ham into the knockout stages of the Europa Conference League in a 2-1 win over Anderlecht.
The Hammers, last season’s Europa League semi-finalists, ensured a second successive run to the latter stages of continental competition with a fourth win from four Group B matches.
They now need just a point from their last two games, against Danish side Silkeborg and Romania’s FCSB, to ensure they finish top of the group and move straight into the round of 16, avoiding a play-off in February.
However, some of the gloss was taken off their achievement by crowd trouble which required riot police to intervene.
The hosts took the lead in the 13th minute when Anderlecht enforcer Amadou Diawara fouled Benrahma on the edge of the box.
Aaron Cresswell had moments earlier curled a free-kick over but this time he stepped over the ball, allowing Benrahma to whip his shot right-footed over the wall and inside the near post.
After half an hour the Hammers had their second, Emerson Palmieri galloping down the left before pulling the ball back for Bowen to finish from 15 yards. The goal made Bowen West Ham’s joint leading scorer in Europe with six, alongside Johnny Byrne and David Cross.
It should have been an ultimately comfortable night for West Ham, although the scenes in the stands were depressingly unpleasant.
A pitch invader briefly halted play before missiles were hurled between sets of rival fans including another flare which landed in the home end.
While attentions were focused on the nonsense in the crowd Anderlecht scored a consolation from the penalty spot through Esposito after a foul by Ben Johnson.
In Group F, Shamrock Rovers were beaten 2-0 at home to Molde after a questionable offside decision for the visitors opener, while Djurgardens confirmed their spot in the knockout stages with a 4-2 thumping of Gent.
Scottish football’s European struggles continued as Hearts suffered a 5-1 defeat by Fiorentina in Italy.
Hearts at least steadied the ship in the second half in the Europa Conference League in Florence after appearing to be on course for the sort of 7-1 thrashing handed out to Rangers 24 hours earlier by Liverpool.
Stephen Humphrys made it 4-1 early in the second half to give about 4,000 Hearts fans in the Stadio Artemio Franchi something to cheer before the home side restored their four-goal lead with a late penalty.
Hearts also suffered another defensive injury blow when Nathaniel Atkinson went off in the first half.
Robbie Neilson’s side retain slim hopes of progress from Europa Conference League Group A if they go on to beat RFS and Istanbul Basaksehir but would need Fiorentina to slip up in their final two games.
Full Europa Conference results
Scott McTominay’s stoppage-time goal clinched Manchester United a crucial 1-0 Europa League win against Omonia Nicosia at Old Trafford.
Late substitute McTominay fired home in the third minute of added time to keep United three points behind Group E leaders Real Sociedad with two games to play.
Neil Lennon’s Omonia were indebted to an inspired goalkeeping display by Nigeria international Francis Uzoho before McTominay finally broke their resistance.
Sociedad made it four group wins from four as goals from Alexander Sorloth, Diego Rico and Robert Navarro secured them a 3-0 home win against Sheriff Tiraspol.
Arsenal maintained their flying start to the season as Bukayo Saka struck the only goal to clinch a 1-0 win at Bodo/Glimt.
England winger Saka’s lucky first-half deflection made it three straight victories in Group A for Mikel Arteta’s Premier League leaders, who have won 11 of their first 12 games of the season in all competitions.
PSV Eindhoven remain two points behind the Gunners in second place after thrashing bottom side Zurich 5-0.
Joey Veerman’s double and further goals from Erick Gutierrez, Ibrahim Sangare and Anwar El Ghazi left Zurich without a point from four group matches.
Fenerbahce and Rennes tightened their grip on Group B following away wins at Larnaca and Dynamo Kyiv respectively.
Former Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi’s late penalty secured Turkish side Fenerbahce a 2-1 victory after Larnaca captain Ivan Trickovski’s spot-kick had cancelled out Joao Pedro’s first-half opener.
Larnaca defender Angel Garcia was shown a straight red card in the closing stages for his challenge on Diego Rossi, but ex-West Ham forward Enner Valencia’s subsequent penalty was saved.
Rennes defender Christopher Wooh’s solitary second-half goal in Krakow kept the French side level on points with group leaders Fenerbahce and consigned Kyiv to a fourth straight defeat.
Real Betis remain unbeaten at the top of Group C after drawing 1-1 at home against Roma.
Andrea Belotti fired a second-half equaliser for Roma after Sergio Canales had given Betis a half-time lead, but the Italians are three points behind Ludogorets Razgrad, who defeated HJK Helsinki 2-0 in Bulgaria.
In Group D, Vitor Oliveira’s first-half hat-trick was not enough to secure Sporting Braga victory at Union Saint-Gilloise, who hit back from 3-1 down to rescue a point.
Oliveira struck twice in five minutes towards the end of the first half after his opener had been cancelled out by Victor Boniface.
Dante Vanzeir pulled one back for Saint-Gilloise and Boniface equalised with his second just after the hour-mark to keep the Belgians three points clear at the top.
Robin Knoche converted a late penalty as Union Berlin beat rock-bottom Malmo 1-0 at home to stay in touch with the top two.
Feyenoord sit top of Group F on goal difference after being held 2-2 at home against Midtjylland, who are second.
All four sides in the group have five points as Lazio, who played the second half with 10 men after Manuel Lazzari’s dismissal, also drew 2-2 against Sturm Graz in Rome.
Freiburg extended their lead at the top of Group G and edged closer to qualification for the knockout stages with a 4-0 win at Nantes.
Late goals from Kevin Schade and Jeong Woo-yeong ensured an emphatic scoreline after Lukas Kubler and Michael Gregoritsch had put Freiburg in command.
Qarabag stay second in the group, five points behind Freiburg, after being held 0-0 at home by bottom side Olympiacos, who clinched their first point.
Ferencvaros climbed top of Group H after beating Red Star Belgrade 2-1 in Budapest, while Trabzonspor moved up to second after a thumping 4-0 home win against Monaco.
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