The Hammers nail Black Cats
West Ham United kept their Champions League aspirations alive yesterday after clinching a 1-0 victory over Sunderland in the English Premier League match at Upton Park. After a somewhat muted start to the encounter, the Hammers eventually lodged their first effort on target in the 19th minutee when midfielder Mark Noble Noble’ss shot from outside the box was saved in the top-right corner by Black Cats’ keeper Vito Mannone.
They had another good chance to claim the lead just moments later, but Emmanuel Emenike failed to hit the target with a header from the centre of the box.
However, it was Sunderland who went closest to claiming the lead in the opening 25 minutes.
January signing Wahbi Khazri was left ruing his luck after unleashing a powerful effort direct from a free-kick that came crashing back off the bar.
However, the Hammers remained firmly in control and eventually got the breakthrough they were looking for on the half-hour mark. Michail Antonio cut inside from the right-hand flank and skipped past his marker before firing a low, curling effort into the bottom-left corner.
Khazri had another opportunity to add his name to the scoresheet a minute later, but fired just inches wide of the righthand post.
West Ham created another clear-cut chance as the firsthalf drew to a close, but again failed to capitalise. Michail Antonio latched onto a pass from Aaron Cresswell before letting fly from the edge of the box. However, Mannone was alert to the danger and snapped up Antonio’s stinging effort.
Having failed to cause West Ham any real problems in the first half, Sunderland gave a better account of themselves after the half-time break. Jermain Defoe and Patrick van Aanholt both went close to bagging an equaliser in the opening 10 minutes as the Hammers struggled to impose themselves on proceedings.
They again went close to levelling matters on the hour mark as Yann M’Vila fired wide with a right-footed shot from outside the box. The floodgates began to open as the half progressed, and both sides created a handful of opportunities.
West Ham duo Dimitri Payet and Victor Moses squandered clear-cut chances, before Khazri’s and Jack Rodwell’s respective efforts were saved by Adrian in the Hammers’ goal.
The best chance of the second half came in the 76th minute, but it come to nothing as West Ham striker Andy Carroll’s volley came back off the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
The Black Cats continued to pile men forward in a bid to force a late equaliser, but efforts from John O’Shea, Dame N’Doye and Jack Rodwell failed to beat the impressive Adrian.
Payet had one more chance to double his side’s advantage, but fired wide after latching onto Moses’ headed pass.
The hosts held on in the remaining minutes to claim a vital three points.
BUSY West Ham’s Michail Antonio in action with Sunderland’s John O’Shea during yesterdays English Premier League match at Upton Stadium. West Ham won 1-0