WEST HAM clip CITY’S WINGS

Try as they might, Ser­gio Agüero and the Cit­i­zens just could not find a way past their in­spired hosts

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Sam Al­lardyce’s West Ham revo­lu­tion con­tin­ued yes­ter­day as the Ham­mers handed Manch­ester City a shock 2-1 de­feat at Up­ton Park. Goals in each half from Mor­gan Amal­fi­tano and Di­afra Sakho gave the home side a two goal lead be­fore David Silva pulled one back with 13 min­utes to play as City mounted a late charge.

From the out­set, West Ham weren’t pay­ing at­ten­tion to the script. Al­lardyce’s side was con­sid­er­ably sharper than the de­fend­ing Premier League cham­pi­ons as Sakho and En­ner Va­len­cia pro­vided a real threat up front.

Ham­mers sides of the past may have pre­ferred the di­rect, long-ball ap­proach. How­ever, their new strike part­ner­ship con­sis­tently caused the woe­ful City cen­tre­back pair­ing of Eli­aquim Man­gala and Vincent Kom­pany trou­ble. So there was no need to hit and hope as they ran freely down the flanks and out-mus­cled the of­fk­il­ter City mid­field­ers.

It was the vis­i­tors, though, who had the first chance, with Ser­gio Agüero nearly get­ting on the score sheet in the open­ing min­utes when his de­flected shot from dis­tance saw West Ham keeper Adrián scram­bling to keep it out.

It would prove some­thing of a false dawn for City, though, as West Ham soon seized the ini­tia­tive. Hav­ing seen Sakho and Va­len­cia come close, Amal­fi­tano made no mis­take on 21 min­utes.

It was Va­len­cia who was the ar­chi­tect of the goal as he broke down the right be­fore cut­ting into the box, leav­ing Man­gala in his wake. The hulk­ing de­fender was re­luc­tant to make a chal­lenge for fear of con­ced­ing a penalty.

Pablo Za­baleta over­com­mit­ted as he looked to come across and clear, los­ing his foot­ing and tak­ing his keeper Joe Hart out of the equa­tion in the process, al­low­ing Amal­fi­tano to stroke home with ease.

Rather than look to de­fend their lead, West Ham con­tin­ued to push and could have added a sec­ond be­fore the break, with Va­len­cia go­ing close.

City had a great chance of equal­is­ing on the stroke of half-time. But Agüero was un­able to con­trol a Jesús Navas ball from the by­line, al­low­ing Adrián to grate­fully snuff out the threat.

Agüero was in deadly form against Tot­ten­ham last week­end but it ap­peared the Ar­gentina in­ter­na­tional would do ev­ery­thing but score on the day.

On 65 min­utes, the striker had the goal at his mercy after be­ing picked out by Navas, but he some­how con­spired to get un­der­neath the ball and help it on to the cross­bar when it would have been eas­ier to score.

Ten min­utes later, Yaya Touré hit the bar for City, with the vis­i­tors grow­ing into the game.

How­ever, the game then took another turn against the Cit­i­zens, with Sakho dou­bling the home side’s ad­van­tage in the 75th minute.

The striker rose higher than Gaël Clichy at the back post after a pin­point cross from Ste­wart Down­ing, the Sene­galese head­ing into cor­ner with Hart un­able to reel it back.

If there had been any thoughts that the sec­ond would kill off City, Silva showed that would cer­tainly not be the case, with the Spa­niard pro­duc­ing a great piece of foot­work. His two sub­lime touches saw him glide past three play­ers be­fore curl­ing the ball in at the far post.

Both sides pressed hard in the fi­nal 10 min­utes, but it was City that had the best of the chances, with Adrián called on to keep out in­jury-time ef­forts from Ste­van Jovetić and Alek­san­dar Ko­larov.

There would be no come­back then, with West Ham claim­ing a well-de­served win that takes them – per­haps only briefly – into the top four in the stand­ings. City re­main five points adrift of lead­ers Chelsea, which have a sea­son-defin­ing clash against Manch­ester United at Old Traf­ford to­day. –

PHOTO: AP PHOTO / MATT DUN­HAM

TI­TANIC TUSSLE Manch­ester City striker Edin Džeko (left) com­petes for the ball with West Ham de­fender Win­ston Reid dur­ing the Premier League match at Up­ton Park in London yes­ter­day. De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons City lost to West Ham 2-1

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