WEST HAM 2, MANCHESTER CITY 1
City suffer another European hangover
Goals by Morgan Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho hand West Ham victory
Sakho offside in build-up to Amalfitano’s goal
Silva moment of magic not enough for a share of the points
City hit the woodwork twice and find West Ham ‘keeper Adrian in fine form
Diafra Sakho scored a record sixth goal on the trot for West Ham after Morgan Amalfitano’s opening goal to condemn Manchester City to a second Barclays Premier League defeat this season.
City hit back late on through a superb solo effort by David Silva and hit the woodwork twice through Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure.
City went on the attack in the last quarter of the game but found Hammers ‘keeper Adrian in inspired form as he denied chances from Aguero, Toure, and Stevan Jovetic but it wasn’t enough to salvage anything from the game.
While West Ham remained unchanged, Manuel Pellegrini opted for just two changes from the disappointing draw in Moscow on Tuesday.
Aleksander Kolarov made way for Gael Clichy while Jesus Navas was preferred to James Milner but the superior fitness, tenacity and pace of the Hammers soon had a jaded City side rocking on their heels.
City’s inability to finish off CSKA Moscow came back to haunt them again as they dominated the early stages only to fall behind to an incisive Hammers attack in the 21st minute.
Early stats may have shown 62 completed passes against just eight for West Ham in the opening 13 minutes but City’s nerves weren’t far away.
Eliaquim Mangala’s poorly hit sliced clearance in the ninth minute looped back towards goal and was palmed over the bar by Joe Hart.
Clichy and Mangala were left behind as Enner Valencia raced between them when put through by Alex Song. City’s defence was floundering once again as Pablo Zabaleta was caught out by Valencia’s cut back leaving Morgan Amalfitano the easiest of tap-ins into an empty net.
Replays later showed that Sakho was offside in the build-up to the goal which went unnoticed at the time.
City remained rattled by the early goal as West Ham continued their work-rate, with Hart having to punch a clearance and Stewart Downing snatching at a header with the goal at his mercy.
The Hammers were prepared to put their body on the line to protect their lead, with James Collins taking a particularly painful blow in the midriff to stop a Yaya Toure free kick late in the first half from threatening Adrian’s goal.
With West Ham now getting into their stride, Valencia could have scored from one of many crosses that they were testing the City defence with but sent a difficult chance wide.
Valencia was such a danger with his direct running that City captain Vincent Kompany ended up going in the referee’s notebook for illegally stopping one of his runs.
The resulting set piece was far from goal but the resulting move ended with a cross which both Valencia and Collins stretched for but failed to reach to the dismay of home fans.
City rallied but Navas’ cut back to Aguero was scrambled away by Adrian at the end of the first half.
The frustrations for City were high and their disarray in defence was easy to see. while the likes of Diafra Sakho was to be found helping out his own defence while the Hammers continued to cause City problems on the attack in the second half.
Valencia was offside when Stewart Downing’s cross came in early in the second half. Downing drove a 53rd minute effort wide.
Stevan Jovetic was introduced after 59 minutes for the ineffective Edin Dzeko, and moved onto the left flank with David Silva moving closer to Aguero.
Silva was soon pulling the strings centrally and he threaded Aguero through for a chance on goal on the hour which was blocked by Adrian. Winston Reid was called on to block another chance by Aguero seconds later.
Aguero hit the bar and Toure was thwarted by Adrian for the follow-up in the 65th minute as City tried to step up the pressure from Navas’ right wing cross.
West Ham weren’t done, though, and Valencia outpaced Zabaleta on the Hammers’ left flank and put a cross in for Sakho which was desperately cut out by Mangala in the 67th minute.
Sakho’s shot whistled over the bar in the 71st minute as West Ham sat back and counter attacked, ceding possession to City.
Toure rattled the woodwork again on 74 minutes as the Hammers’ goal led a charmed life but it was almost inevitable that there would be space at the back for West Ham and they made use of it with yet another cross from the left flank.
Sakho’s back post header from Aaron Cresswell’s cross in the 75th minute seemed to have been clawed out of his goal by Joe Hart but was correctly ruled a goal by the goal decision system.
West Ham’s 2-0 lead lasted barely two minutes before a moment of magic by David Silva reduced the deficit.
Silva received the ball wide of the area from Navas, drifted inside past four defenders, and curled a plum effort beyond the grasp of Adrian and inside the back post.
City showed a lot more fight towards the end of the game, with Milner and Kolarov introduced in search of the equaliser for Fernando and Clichy.
There was no penalty when Mangala seemed to pull down Sakho in the area and Joe Hart collided with the brave striker’s head as he jumped on the ball.
And City could have levelled the game in injury time when Jovetic struck a 25 yard injury time strike which was palmed away by Adrian as West Ham held on but City were unable to find a second goal despite their domination of the possession in the end.