After two games at a level this group has never experienced before, David Moyes’ side are three points clear at the top of Group H and couldn’t look more at home.
Moyes made seven changes from the side that beat Leeds in the Premier League at the weekend, with Mark Noble and Andriy Yarmolenko both given rare starts.
With Kurt Zouma and Tomas Soucek named on the bench, this was a weaker side than the one that was sent out for the Europa League opener in Zagreb and it showed a touch.
The Hammers controlled proceedings but were not quite clicking going forward, though it felt they were holding themselves back from going all out at their Austrian visitors.
The main threat in the first half came from set-pieces, Rice and Craig Dawson both heading onto the woodwork.
Vienna were sitting tight and frustrating Moyes’ side, though when space opened up the Hammers quickly got into gear.
Yarmolenko picked the ball up on the turn and quickly clipped forward to Michail Antonio, who selflessly squared Declan Rice.
Having started the move on the halfway line, Rice charged into the six-yard box to tap in and become the first West Ham player to score at home in a main draw European game since Frank Lampard. The former England midfielder would certainly have been proud of a run like that.
It marked two goals in as many Europa League games for Rice, who was again West Ham’s standout performer the day after he insisted that talk of his future lying elsewhere was of no concern.
“When I knew I was playing with Nobes [Noble], I said that I was going to try and bomb on a bit tonight,” said Rice. “I said to him I would score. When the situation came I saw there was a bit of space to run into and if you don’t make the runs, you won’t get a chance. To score again, it is becoming a nice feeling. I wish it could be every week.”
With a number of changes made and Vienna looking to make things difficult for their hosts, West Ham were not at their free-flowing best though Rice was continuing to keep control of the game.
Vienna thought they had won a penalty after Marco Grull went down in the box, though it was shown to be a clear dive upon VAR review.
Moyes sent on Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini and Soucek as he looked to kill the game off. Bowen should have done just that when he rounded the goalkeeper but fired over with his weaker right foot.
Bowen’s blushes were spared somewhat in stoppage time, however. Moments after Benrahma and Pablo Fornals had combined wonderfully and the latter drew a save from the Vienna goalkeeper, West Ham were moving forwards again.
Benrahma had pushed all night to little avail but found the space to cut back and roll a smart finish into the far corner.
Two games into their European adventure and West Ham have firm control of the group.
Away from the pitch, ugly scenes in the stands were an unwelcome distraction as Rapid Vienna supporters looked to force their way into the home end after Rice’s goal and missiles were regularly thrown by both sets of supporters.
Vienna fans were forced back into the stands while a group who appeared to be officials travelling with the club were removed from the stadium after the game following arguments with West Ham staff and security. Police wearing riot gear were also on the scene.
In footballing terms, many will be looking to see just how comfortable West Ham can become atop the standings and secure their place at the business end of the tournament beyond Christmas.