West Ham slip out of Carabao Cup against clinical Tottenham
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Defensive mistakes prove so costly for Hammers as Spurs march into quarter-finals
Carabao Cup Round Four
West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
There were no treats for West Ham United at the London Stadium, where Tottenham Hotspur produced all the tricks to make this a Halloween horror show for the Hammers.
With Manuel Pellegrini’s side squandering several great goal chances, they were equally suspect at the back, where Heung-Min Son pounced on two defensive howlers in the 16th and 53rd minutes to put Spurs firmly in control.
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And although substitute Lucas Pérez looked to have set up a thrilling finale with a 71st minute header, Fernando Llorente’s quick-fire reply duly sent Tottenham into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Football had come into poignant perspective for both clubs on Saturday, with the Hammers departing the King Power Stadium just minutes after the horrific helicopter crash that claimed five lives at Leicester City, while White Hart Lane icon Glenn Hoddle had also fallen seriously ill in the BT Sport studios, just hours earlier.
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Former West Ham and Leicester goal-getter Tony Cottee joined Spurs legend Ledley King in the laying of pre-match wreaths in memory of those who tragically perished on Saturday night, and an impeccable 60 seconds silence followed before the focus returned to this cup-tie.
The Hammers made five changes from the side that had drawn 1-1 against the Foxes as Adrián, Angelo Ogbonna, Ryan Fredericks, Michail Antonio and Pedro Obiang returned in place of Pablo Zabaleta and Mark Noble plus substitutes Lukasz Fabianski, Fabián Balbuena and Robert Snodgrass.
And it was Obiang who unleashed the first shot of the evening, a tightly-angled, 15-yard screamer that flew wide of the side-netting, while, at the other end, Dele Alli’s early tap-in was correctly ruled out by an offside flag.
As the quarter-hour neared, Grady Diangana ended a probing run with a lofted cross that Javier Hernández cleverly volleyed across the face of goal but Antonio was foiled at the expense of a corner, which Felipe Anderson subsequently floated just an inch or two over the in-rushing Issa Diop.
Just 48 hours earlier, Spurs had lost against Manchester City and, following that defeat on a woeful Wembley pitch, Mauricio Pochettino made no fewer than 10 changes, with only Davinson Sánchez retaining his shirt.
But the Argentinian’s re-shuffled pack still only took just 16 minutes to become fully-acquainted with each other, as they took the lead against the run of play.
Having raced into the left-hand channel, Christian Eriksen sent a low ball towards the edge of the Hammers area, where Alli got the better of the unsteady, mis-controlling Ogbonna and, timing his run to perfection, Son raced onto the England midfielder’s flick-on before rifling a rising 12-yarder under Adrián’s right-hand angle.
That strike certainly took the wind out of West Ham’s sails but, as the half-hour mark approached, Antonio let fly with an angled 20-yarder that deflected off Victor Wanyama’s heel before curling past the far post.
The breaking Antonio was then foiled in the act of shooting by the excellent Juan Foyth as he made his way towards the Spurs six-yard box and, shortly afterwards, Hernández saw his first touch desert him at the far post, where Paulo Gazzaniga smothered.
Just before the interval, Anderson’s quickly taken free-kick played in the overlapping Arthur Masuaku, whose right-wing cross into the danger-zone was plucked off Antonio’s head by the Argentinian ‘keeper to preserve the visitors’ lead at the break.
Pellegrini introduced Snodgrass for Anderson at the restart and, on 48 minutes, Antonio had a brilliant chance to equalise when he outmuscled Foyth as the pair chased Diangana’s perfectly-weighted through-ball but Gazzaniga raced from his line to save at point-blank range.
Substitute Snodgrass then saw his angled shot blocked by Sánchez after Hernández had curiously decided against shooting and, with the Hammers still cursing those two early second half chances, Spurs duly doubled their lead.
Collecting in the centre-circle, Eriksen’s attempted pass should have been routinely cut-out by Masuaku, who mis-controlled allowing Son to steal the ball, outpace Ogbonna, round the advancing Adrián and slot into an empty net.
Both Marko Arnautovi? and Pérez were summoned from the bench as Obiang and Hernández were spirited from the pitch, while Alli soon stood down in favour of Georges-Kévin N’Koudou.
With their talismanic Austrian now on the pitch, the Hammers suddenly had a focal point and, with Arnautovi? making himself busy, West Ham clawed themselves back into the tie.
On 71 minutes, Snodgrass whipped over a deep right-wing corner that eluded everyone in the goalmouth before Pérez ghosted behind Kyle Walker-Peters to nod home at the far post.
The claret and blue fans amongst the crowd of 50,270 turned up the decibels but when Spurs forced a corner, just three minutes later, one spectator’s ill-timed pitch invasion broke concentration.
And when Eriksen was finally allowed to float that flag-kick towards the edge of the six-yard box, Llorente – with his final act of the evening - got in front of Ogbonna to unleash an unstoppable volley past Adrián and send Pochettino’s men into the quarter-finals.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Fredericks, Masuaku, Ogbonna, Diop, Obiang (Pérez 58), Rice, Diangana, Antonio, Anderson (Snodgrass h/t), Hernández (Arnautovi? 58). Unused subs: Fabianski, Balbuena, Powell, Coventry.
SPURS: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Sánchez, Wanyama, Winks, Alli (N’Koudou 63), Son, Eriksen (Skipp 84), Llorente (Sissoko 75). Unused subs: Vorm, Moura, Marsh, Eyoma.
Referee: Stuart Attwell