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Leicester held by Hammers as bright start fades

West Ham United 1:1 Leicester City

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City failed to build on a good start at the London Stadium on Friday night, allowing West Ham back into the game for a 1-1 draw…

Claude Puel named an unchanged side for this Friday night trip to East London, and after a opening spell that was bogged down in midfield, they took an eighth minute lead against David Moyes’ side.
Ndidi emerged from the midfield morass to feed Vardy in down the left and his low cross was missed by Ogbonna allowing Albrighton to slide in with an improvised finish from 12 yards.

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This did nothing to improve the mood of the home fans, nor did the fact that City had the lion’s share of the ball for much of the first half, though few chances were created by the new brand of possession football.
There was a good shout for a penalty in the 22nd minute when Albrighton was bounced out of a challenge by Masuaku as he bore down on goal, but Martin Atkinson waved his appeals away.
Vardy then had a decent chance smothered with a timely block from Arnautovic. The resulting corner was headed out as far as Fuchs who had time to line up a shot but sent it high and wide.
As half-time approached, West Ham got a foothold in the game and threatened with a series of set-pieces.
Schmeichel did well to beat away an Ogbonna header from a free-kick, and then punched a Lanzini free-kick clear of danger.
City threatened on the break a couple of times, but Mahrez delievered a tame shot straight into Hart’s grasp, and a shot from Vardy went a yard wide of the far post.
West Ham applied some pressure late in the half, and from a Lanzini corner Kouyate muscled his way through a crowd on the six yard line to head the ball home via Simpson’s shoulder.

Although City still had more possession early in the second half, their passing in the final third was poor and West Ham gradually grew in confidence.
Masuaka cut in from the left and fired in a shot which Schmeichel smothered.
It was a poor spectacle at this stage with the game settling into a stalemate and several lengthy stoppages for injuries.
Puel brought Chilwell on for Mahrez in the 70th minute, but City didn’t improve.
The closest either side came to scoring was an Ayew overhead kick following a scramble from a corner, but it cleared the crossbar.
Both sides had to settle for a point from a forgettable game.

Claude Puel summed up:  “Our first half performance gives us confidence for the future because we showed good quality with the ball, we moved it well and found good space but we couldn’t score a second goal, but the way we played was promising for the future, but after that it was frustration.”

West Ham: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyaté, Obiang, Arnautovic (Ayew 69), Lanzini, Masuaku (Sakho 90), Carroll.
Substitutes: Adrián, Noble, Fernandes, Quina, Rice.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Ndidi, Iborra, Gray (Slimani 90), Mahrez (Chilwell 70), Vardy.
Substitutes: Iheanacho, King, Hamer, Dragovic, Okazaki.
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 56,897.


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Leicester dig deep at West Ham for first away win

West Ham United 2:3 Leicester City

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A flying start, and a grimly determined finish, delivered City’s first away win of the season at West Ham on Saturday afternoon…

Craig Shakespeare made one change for City’s first trip to the London Stadium, with Benalouane in for Morgan, who injured his back against Sevilla.
And they got off to a great start, taking a 5th minute lead. Mahrez cut in from the right a swung in a cross that flew straight into the net, with Hammers keeper Randolph distracted by Okazaki’s attempted header.
Just two minutes later, the away end was celebrating again as City doubled their lead.
From a free-kick, Mahrez fed Albrighton on the edge of the area and his lofted flick found Huth on the six yard line, the German nodding home City’s second.

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West Ham’s afternoon then got worse when Reid pulled up while running for the ball and had to be replaced by Snodgrass.
But the home side began to get into their stride and pulled a goal back in the 21st minute.
Drinkwater fouled Antonio 25 yards out for a West Ham free-kick. Lanzini got it over the wall and just inside the left hand post with an excellent strike that left Schmeichel rooted to the spot.

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As West Ham pressed for an equaliser Antonio set up Ayew for a shot, which failed to hit the target. Then Antonio had a shot deflected into Schmeichel’s arms, before Carroll had a goal ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
Ayew then headed over when well placed, before City struck again in the 39th minute.
A Mahrez corner led to a scramble in the goalmouth, then Vardy seized on the loose ball lashing it into the roof of the net.

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Although Lanzini sent a shot narrowly wide, City took a two goal cushion in at the break.

Early in the second half, Benalouane tried an ambitious free-kick from the halfway line, but didn’t catch Randolph out as he collected it under the bar.
A fine Mahrez ball then sent Vardy in on goal, but he was off balance and sent his shot wide.
The home side began to crank up the pressure again, and Schmeichel got down smartly to tip a Lanzini’s free kick round the post.
West Ham reduced City’s lead in the 63rd minute. A Lanzini corner from the left was nodded back by Carroll at the far post, and Ayew headed home from close in.
It left a long time to defend a single goal lead, but City, now looking tried after their midweek heroics, dug deep to cling on to their precious lead.
As West Ham piled on the pressure, Craig Shakespeare made a double change in the 76th minute – Musa and Slimani replacing Vardy and Okazaki.
A minute later Carroll’s far post header forced a brillaint save from Schmeichel.
Ayew then blasted over from close in, with an equaliser looking imminent. Drinkwater cleared a Kouyate effort off the line as play became frantic.
What looked like a dislocated finger for Benalouane, held up play for a while and seemed to take the impetus away from West Ham. But they still looked certain to level in the 90th minute when Carroll found himself with just Schmeichel to beat from close range.
City’s captain for the day spread himself well and blocked the shot with a fantastic save.
City weathered six minutes of time added on, to claim three points away for the first time in eleven months.

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It was an immense performance from City and Craig Shakespeare commented: “There is no secret. I think hard work, commitment and endeavour, we showed all of them today, along with some good footballers. We scored the goals at the right time today. It gave us a foothold in the game. There is no secret. The hard work is paramount to success and we have to keep doing that.” 

West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Reid (Snodgrass 18), Cresswell (Masuaku 73), Kouyate, Obiang (Fernandes 67), Ayew, Lanzini, Antonio, Carroll. Subs Not Used: Nordtveit, Feghouli, Adrian, Collins.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Chilwell 87), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Musa 76), Vardy (Slimani 76). Subs Not Used: King, Amartey, Zieler, Gray.

Referee: R East. Attendance: 56,979. 

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


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