Soucek impresses again after scoring late winner

West Ham secured their place in the Europa League knockout stages with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Backa Topola, despite a below-par performance.

The decisive goal came in the final minute when Tomas Soucek scored with a close-range volley, maintaining West Ham’s position at the top of Group A.

While the win ensures West Ham’s progression to the knockout stages, they must now avoid defeat in their upcoming fixture against second-placed Freiburg to secure a direct entry into the round of 16.

A loss in the final group fixture would mean facing a two-legged play-off in February.

The match against Backa Topola proved challenging for David Moyes’ side, with the Serbian SuperLiga team yet to secure a win in their European campaign.

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had to make two crucial saves in the first half to keep his team in the game.

Moyes opted to make seven changes to the lineup from their previous victory against Burnley, and with injured forwards Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio unavailable, 19-year-old striker Divin Mubama led the line for West Ham.

Despite the struggles to break down the resilient Serbian side, substitute Maxwel Cornet made a significant impact by delivering a superb cross for Soucek’s late winner.

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