Hammers' late blitz keeps their Europe hopes alive

LONDON • Even the typically expressive West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic was not sure how to react after watching his team score three goals in the last 12 minutes to beat 10-man Everton 3-2 on Saturday.

Everton led 2-0 despite having Kevin Mirallas sent off in the first half and Romelu Lukaku's 69th-minute penalty being saved.

Michail Antonio, Diafra Sakho and Dimitri Payet then struck late on to secure the Hammers' first Premier League win at Goodison Park since 2005.

"I didn't know what to do. I went down the tunnel to calm down and came back straight away," Bilic said. "It was a great comeback, to do it like this is unbelievable."

The victory saw West Ham remain a point behind Manchester City, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying place but have a game in hand.

"This is why English football is so attractive and so good. If they score the penalty, we could have lost 3 or 4-0," the Croatian added after watching his side have 59 per cent of the ball and take 17 shots, five of which found the target.

"However, nobody could say that over 90 minutes we didn't deserve it."

Lukaku put Everton ahead and, after Mirallas was sent off, Aaron Lennon doubled the lead.

The spot kick by Everton's top scorer was saved by West Ham 'keeper Adrian and Everton manager Roberto Martinez said that was the turning point in the match.

"The key moment was the penalty," he said. "That would have been game over and it is a feeling of missed opportunity.

"Everyone got a bit shocked at that moment. With a man down... we found it difficult to do what we had been doing. The way we had to match 11 men cost us in the final 10 minutes."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Hammers' late blitz keeps their Europe hopes alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe