West Ham United F.C
Ronaldo 35 Lingard 89
West Ham United pay penalty in dramatic loss to Manchester United
- Credit: PA
The Hammers unbeaten start to the season ended in dramatic, disappointing fashion at London Stadium, where Mark Noble was summoned from the bench to take a last-gasp penalty that would have earned his side a richly-deserved point.
But taking his first kick of the afternoon, the skipper saw his 12-yard shot beaten away by David de Gea, whose subsequent save gave Manchester United a victory that both sent them into second spot and extended their unbeaten Premier League away record to a record 29 matches.
It was a cruel way to end a roller-coaster, Stratford Sunday at London Stadium where the Hammers had taken the lead on the half-hour mark thanks to Saïd Benrahma’s deflected screamer that enabled him to claim his third strike of the season.
On an afternoon when the world of football lost one of its greatest-ever marksmen in former Hammer Jimmy Greaves, it was probably fitting that, arguably, today’s greatest goalscorer Ronaldo should equalise just a few minutes later to send the teams in level at the break.
Then having been given a warm welcome on his return to the East End - where his lively loan-spell helped West Ham to secure last season’s sixth-place finish - substitute Jesse Lingard ironically curled a clever 15-yarder beyond Łukasz Fabiański with just two minutes remaining to give United a late, late advantage.
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Still there was time for the Hammers to salvage a point, though, when Luke Shaw handled substitute Andriy Yarmolenko’s stoppage time cross but after replacing Jarrod Bowen in a hasty dash from the dug-out, Noble saw that spot-kick saved.
The Hammers had come into this match unbeaten in their opening four Premier League starts and buoyed by a confidence-boosting Europa League victory over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday evening, David Moyes made a quartet of changes from the side that had won so well in Croatia.
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With five-goal Michail Antonio suspended, the former Red Devils boss made a quartet of changes as the industrious Bowen deputised in the advanced role, while Benrahma, Angelo Ogbonna and Vladimír Coufal came in for substitutes Manuel Lanzini, Ryan Fredericks and Issa Diop.
And after a minute’s rapturous applause for the great Greavsie, there was a tentative start in which the visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession before West Ham created the first real chance on the quarter-hour mark, when Benrahma robbed Harry Maguire before cutting back to Bowen, whose shot was blocked by Fred on the six-yard line.
Moments later, Tomàš Souček fired wide from 20 yards and, midway through the opening period those two Hammers threatened again as De Gea repelled Bowen’s low 12-yarder with his feet, before the Czech Republic midfielder then fired the consequent clearance inches over the top from the edge of the area.
Kicking off in third spot – five places above the Hammers - Olé Gunnar Solskjær’s side had suffered their first defeat of the campaign with Tuesday’s Champions League loss against Young Boys and, after being rolled-over against the Swiss, the Old Trafford boss made a trio of switches as Raphaël Varane, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood came in for Victor Lindelof plus substitutes Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek.
As the half-hour mark approached, Ronaldo threatened for the first time, curling an 18-yarder into Łukasz Fabiański’s gloves before Shaw’s corner then fell to Bruno Fernandes, whose angled 10-yard half-volley was tipped onto the post by the Hammers keeper.
But after Shaw then saw another low effort save by Fabiański, it was West Ham who drew first blood on 31 minutes.
Coufal backheeled into the path of Bowen, who quickly squared to Benrahma and, when the Algerian’s low 18-yarder deflected off Raphaël Varane, the flat-footed De Gea could only watch the shot drift inside his right-hand upright.
Raucous Claret and Blue celebrations reverberated around London Stadium and the deafening sound also woke United from their slumber as Aaron Wan-Bissaka drilled in a low angled shot that Fabiański did well to parry and then the airborne Ronaldo prodded over the top as the pressure mounted, while Kurt Zouma also thwarted the Portuguese protagonist with a robust block.
Ronaldo was not to be silenced, though, and on 34 minutes he ghosted onto Bruno Fernandes' clever chip towards the edge of the six-yard box before stabbing the ball past Fabiański at the second time of asking after the Polish stopper had parried his initial effort.
Having just notched his fourth goal in three outings since his sensational return to Old Trafford from Juventus, Ronaldo then raced onto Greenwood’s well-weighted pass but this time Fabiański did hold the angled shot at the second attempt and with an entertaining first 45 minutes drawing to a close, Nikola Vlašić also fired wide to leave it all square at the break.
Seconds after the restart, Pablo Fornals’ sloppy pass allowed Fernandes to play Ronaldo clean through but Fabianski was at his brilliant best to divert the consequent, low shot aside to the disappointment and disbelief of the 180-times capped, 118-goal Portuguese ace.
In reply, Fornals almost atoned with an outrageous backheel that flew just wide but, as the home fans generously chanted: ‘Jesse Lingard, he wants to come home’ to the warming-up United substitute it was Moyes who resorted to the bench first.
Yarmolenko replaced Vlašić midway through the second period before Lingard did indeed step from the opposite dug-out to warm applause alongside Sancho as Pogba and Greenwood retired.
The raging Ronaldo was denied a penalty after tumbling over Coufal’s knee and, still at boiling point, he was then denied by Zouma’s brilliant clearance inside the six-yard box.
But he was all smiles when Lingard returned to haunt the Hammers by cutting into the area on 88 minutes and whipping an unstoppable 15-yarder around Declan Rice, Anglelo Ogbonna and Zouma and under the angle to give United the lead.
The respectful Lingard may not have celebrated what would ultimately prove to be the match-winner but the Hammers sensed real hope of salvaging a draw, when referee Martin Atkinson awarded a stoppage-time penalty after visiting his VAR monitor and adjudging that Shaw had, indeed, handled Yarmolenko’s late by-line cross.
With Rice picking up the ball, headmaster Moyes dramatically halted proceedings from the dug-out as Bowen was hastily withdrawn in favour of Noble but after running from bench to box to take the kick, that bold, brave substitution counted for nothing when De Gea guessed correctly to dive to his left and claw the skipper’s shot aside to secure a dramatic win for his side and leave everyone in Claret and Blue crestfallen.
West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Cresswell, Zouma, Ogbonna, Rice, Souček, Fornals, Vlasić (Yarmolenko 68), Benrahma (Lanzini 87), Bowen (Noble 90+2). Unused Subs: Areola, Dawson, Diop, Fredericks, Masuaku, Král.
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Varane, Maguire, McTominay, Fred (Matic 87), Pogba (Lingard 73), Fernandes, Greenwood (Sancho 73), Ronaldo. Unused subs: Heaton, Bailly, Mata, Martial, Dalot, Van de Beek.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.