West Ham United striker Michail Antonio admitted that he and his side made it difficult for themselves at times as they came from behind to beat AZ Alkmaar 2-1 at the London Stadium.
With the match being the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final, Antonio and the Hammers knew that a win would go a long way to helping them in the second leg, but Alkmaar posed a difficult test and they took the lead four minutes before half time when Tijjani Reijnders fired home from range to shock the hosts.
David Moyes must have given his side a stern team talk at the break because the Clarets came out fighting in the second half and equalised from the penalty spot on 67 minutes, courtesy of Said Benrahma.
It got even better for them eight minutes later, when Antonio poked home from close range following a clearance off the line from an Alkmaar player, his goal going on to secure the win for West Ham.
After the match, the striker admitted to BT Sport that it was an arduous battle against the Dutch side.
“It definitely was a tough game, from watching what they’ve done we knew they would play football and they’re a decent team. We made it difficult for ourselves, we had chances, we just needed to be more clinical, but in the end we got the result.
“We know they’re a possession-based team, they know how to work it. We were like ‘alright, we’ll let you have it, and on the counter, we’ll damage you‘.”
The Jamaican international spoke about his wait for a goal and that now he’s found his scoring touch again, he can start to think about the second leg.
Antonio (number 9) bundled home from inside the six-yard box to give West Ham the lead in the second half.
“I was hoping the ball fell to me more tonight but it dropped on me perfectly for my goal. I got the goal, we got the win and we move on to next week.”
The second leg between the pair comes next Thursday at the same time as tonight (20:00 BST) as Alkmaar play host to the East London side.