West Ham through to FA Cup fifth round thanks to late winner against Liverpool
PUBLISHED: 22:46 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 22:46 09 February 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Defender Angelo Ogbonna scored his first goal for West Ham to head the Hammers through in the last minute of extra time
West Ham United 2 Liverpool 1 (after extra time - 90 mins 1-1)
Angelo Ogbonna could not have picked a better moment to score his first-ever goal in the claret and blue, as the Hammers booked themselves a fifth round tie at Blackburn Rovers.
With this enthralling encounter heading for a penalty shoot-out decider, the Italian international bid arrivederci to the Merseysiders, when he headed the winner with just seconds remaining to secure West Ham United’s first-ever FA Cup victory over Liverpool.
On the stroke of half-time, Michail Antonio looked to have sent the Hammers on their way, when he notched his fourth goal for the club via a venomous volley that was executed with text-book technique.
But three minutes into the second half, Philippe Coutinho levelled with a low 18-yard free-kick and although both sides went close to securing victory in the normal 90 minutes, a cocktail of forlorn finishing and great goalkeeping saw the tie go to extra time and that dramatic last-gasp finish.
With his side sitting handily in sixth-spot - four points and three places above the visitors in the Premier League - Slaven Bilić made five changes to the side that had slumped at Southampton on Saturday night, as the focus returned to the FA Cup.
Ogbonna, Darren Randolph, Joey O’Brien, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyaté each earned cup call-ups in place of James Tomkins (calf), Alex Song plus substitutes James Collins, former Red - Victor Moses - and Adrian.
And O’Brien almost made the most of his rare start on the quarter-hour mark, when he burst into space down the right before unleashing a low, angled 18-yarder that deflected off Lucas before striking the base of Simon Mignolet’s left-hand post.
Having been rushed to hospital with appendicitis, Jurgen Klopp had missed Liverpool’s lacklustre late, late showing against struggling Sunderland on Saturday, when ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe bagged a dramatic 89th-minute equaliser to steal a 2-2 draw at a rapidly emptying Anfield.
But the gritty German was back in the dug-out, as his team - having already been beaten twice in league - went looking for their first goal against the Hammers in the fourth encounter of the season between these two sides, who had also shared a goalless draw in the original tie on Merseyside ten days ago.
Having recovered from his weekend surgery, the Reds’ boss took a scalpel to his side, carving out no less than ten changes with only Mignolet retaining his place, while recovered Coutinho returned to the starting line-up and Daniel Sturridge took his place on the bench.
Liverpool hardly looked like strangers, though, as they had proved with Christian Benteke’s early, close-range effort that Randolph gratefully parried.
Midway through the half, the crafty Coutinho played in the overlapping Brad Smith, whose cut-back towards the penalty spot eluded a trio of inrushing white shirts.
Another raid down the left then saw Kevin Stewart’s low cross deflect into the path of Joao Carlos Teixeira, who sent a low 15-yarder scorching just inches wide of Randolph’s right-hand upright.
On 33 minutes, Winston Reid carelessly gave the ball away in midfield and Coutinho climaxed a blistering three-man raid, when he sent his shot fizzing onto the left post, before Stewart followed up to send the rebound thudding into the covering Ogbonna, while Benteke then saw another far post effort clawed away.
Next, it was West Ham’s turn to hit the woodwork as Dimitri Payet curled a fabulous free-kick over the Liverpool wall and on to Mignolet’s left-hand post and, in the ensuing scramble, Antonio’s follow-up header was gratefully gathered by the Reds keeper to the relief of the visiting fans packed across the lower tier of the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand.
It was to be a short-lived let-off for the visitors, though, for with just seconds of the first-half remaining, Payet played in Enner Valencia, who ghosted past a trio of defenders before sending a by-line cross to the far post, where Antonio - with perfect execution - sneaked in behind Smith to send a vicious volley across the face of Mignolet into the far corner to give West Ham a timely interval lead.
Liverpool emerged for the restart looking determined to put matters right and they did not have to wait long to draw themselves level.
Indeed, just three minutes into the second half, O’Brien and Kouyaté sandwiched Benteke on the edge of the box and Coutinho claimed his sixth goal of the season, when he sent the consequent free-kick underneath a poorly constructed and rising Hammers wall.
Back in the game, Klopp made a double-switch as Sturridge and Divock Origi came on for goalscorer Coutinho and Teixeira.
In reply, Antonio sent a hopeful lob into the goalmouth, which Mignolet shepherded over the top, but the Hammers then suffered a blow as Reid pulled up holding his hamstring and that saw Collins step from the bench.
With this absorbing contest now ebbing and flowing, Tiago Ilori tugged back Valencia inside the six-yard box without punishment as West Ham tried to send another attacking wave forward and, now it was Bilić’s turn to try and turn the screw, as former, £35million Liverpool striker Andy Carroll replaced Kouyaté, who had fallen awkwardly.
With ten minutes of normal time remaining, Benteke saw his 18-yard free-kick brilliantly clawed away by the flying Randolph before the keeper’s compatriot, O’Brien became the third casualty of the night, trudging away to be replaced by Moses.
Undeterred, Payet sent a right-wing cross into the area, where Valencia sent an angled header into his own fans, while Noble let fly with a 25-yard volley that flew through the chilly East End air into Mignolet’s gloves and, as the clock ticked down, Antonio was then booked for tugging Origi.
As the tie entered eight minutes of additional time, Jordan Ibe forced Randolph into a full-length save, while Valencia was crowded out, Collins saw his volley saved and Obiang scuffed wide to signal an inevitable extra half-hour for the 34,433 fans in the sell-out crowd.
Aaron Cresswell soon sent one high over before Noble’s 18-yarder was clawed away by Mignolet and, at the other end, Benteke wastefully volleyed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Bereft of confidence, the Belgian striker then broke clear but, again he was left looking high into the dark, February skies after the helplessly exposed Randolph advanced from his line and foiled him with an outstretched right ankle and, in a miserable quarter-hour for the Liverpool striker, Benteke also headed high over the top.
In the second half of extra time, Sturridge sent an early 20-yarder inches over, before Origi drove high and wide and the embarrassed Benteke nearly struck a steward with another wayward effort and although the visitors forced a trio of late corners they just could not break the deadlock.
And with just seconds remaining, Payet floated a last-gasp free-kick to the far post, where Ogbonna climbed above three defenders to send the ball into the net and the Hammers up to Ewood Park for the fifth round.
HAMMERS: Randolph, O’Brien (Moses 82), Cresswell, Reid (Collins 65), Ogbonna, Noble, Kouyaté (Carroll 75), Obiang, Antonio, Payet, Valencia. Unused subs: Adrian, Oxford, Cullen, Parfitt-Williams.
REDS: Mignolet, Flanagan, Stewart, Ilori, Smith, Teixeira (Origi 59) Lucas, Chirivella (Milner 101) Coutinho (Sturridge 59), Ibe, Benteke. Unused subs: Ward, Enrique, Henderson, Sturridge, Origi, Randall.
Booked: Antonio (87).
Referee: Roger East