Pereira Double Sinks Hammers

Fulham have previously had a terrible record when visiting West Ham United. Well, they certainly put that right on Sunday afternoon by notching up a first success in East London since 2001 as they beat the Hammers 2-0.

David Moyes made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen just three days earlier, as Nayef Aguerd, Edson Álvarez and Danny Ings replaced club Captain Kurt Zouma, Tomáš Souček and Aaron Cresswell.

Konstantinos Mavropanos retained his place, despite concerns over a slight injury in the closing stages of Thursday’s match, while Łukasz Fabiański remained in goal and was named as skipper for the afternoon, while youngsters Joseph Anang, George Earthy and Divin Mubama were included in the matchday squad.

Due to Saturday’s results, the Irons needed three points here in order to move back into the top six of the Premier League table and they started on the front foot, as Vladimír Coufal was thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Bernd Leno after latching onto a pass from Emerson Palmieri. Shortly after, Michail Antonio tried his luck but missed the target from close-range.

The hosts continued to go forward as they looked for an early breakthrough. Mohammed Kudus was next to have a go at goal but he sent a curling shot wide, before Lucas Paquetá sent the ball into the side- netting. A section of the crowd thought that the Brazilian midfielder had put his side in front.

Although Moyes’ men were on top in the early stages of the encounter, they were made to pay after nine minutes. Just as he did in the corresponding fixture last season, Andreas Pereira opened the scoring when a ball that was lofted over the top of the home side’s defence by Alex Iwobi was not properly dealt with by Mavropanos and after it dropped invitingly for Pereira, he got in behind Fabiański and sent it into the net.

After that goal, the momentum had definitely swung in Fulham’s favour and they almost had a second just four minutes later. A great run from Willian down the left wing resulted in the former Chelsea and Arsenal player pulling the ball back for Pereira, who was once again in behind the West Ham defence but fortunately, he wasn’t able to take advantage on this occasion, as he sent his shot wide.

Mavropanos had a golden chance to atone for his earlier error when the East Londoners were awarded a corner and, as always, it was sent into the box by James Ward-Prowse. However, the Greek international wasn’t able to level matters, as he aimed the chance in the direction of Leno.

Ward-Prowse then decided to test the German stopper but unfortunately, his effort lacked any conviction and was easily held onto.

Pereira was a constant threat and he nearly scored again after the half-hour but the majority inside the stadium were relieved when his latest attempt brought a low save from Fabiański.

The Pole continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers, as Marco Silva’s side were still applying pressure. In the closing stages of the first-half, he managed to thwart both Rodrigo Muniz and Willian, as they tested him from close-range.

There were boos from the large home support when referee Stuart Attwell blew for half-time and they were hoping to see a much better performance in the second-half.

When the action got back underway, Muniz could have extended the lead but thankfully, he was unable to apply the final touch and finish past Fabiański.

Missing that chance didn’t bother the West London side, as the Fulham Head-Coach saw his side continue from where they had left off.

However, the Irons thought they should have been awarded a penalty up the other end, following a challenge on Kudus by Antonee Robinson but Attwell gave nothing.

Once again, Fabiański was the home side’s saviour on fifty seven minutes, after he kept out Iwobi following another piece of great play by Willian. However, the move came to an unfortunate end for the former Arsenal and Everton man who saw his shot well dealt with.

Moyes stated in his post-match interview with TNT Sports after the first-leg of the club’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie in Germany on Thursday that Mavropanos was replaced late in the game due to a slight injury and the defender seemed to have suffered a re-occurrence which forced the Scotsman to make a first change just three minutes later, with Zouma coming on to replace him.

The Hammers’ boss made two more changes after another nine minutes had passed, as Ben Johnson and Souček entered the fray for both Coufal and Ward-Prowse.

Although the away team were still fully in control, it was remarkable that the Hammers were still only one behind. Ings had a chance to put his side on level terms but he sent an effort narrowly over the top.

The home side could have done with that chance going in because shortly after, Pereira wrapped the points up when he beat Fabiański for a second time.

With just short of eight minutes of normal time to play, a fourth West Ham substitution was made, as Earthy was brought on to take the place of Antonio.

The 19-year-old was certainly showing the desire that the Scotsman had been looking for from the rest of his team all afternoon but an unfortunate clash of heads with teammate Álvarez saw the youngster receive lengthy treatment and after a delay of just under ten minutes, he was stretchered off the pitch and rushed to hospital. However, news emerged this morning that he has been discharged.

The latest injury meant that the East Londoners had to use their full quota of substitutes, meaning that Maxwel Cornet was introduced for the final few minutes.

Silva also threw on Adama Traoré and he might have made the outcome of the match even worse for the Irons but thankfully, his weak effort was easy for Fabiański to gather.

It’s been a challenging week for Moyes’ men who will not want to suffer a third consecutive defeat on Thursday night, as they try to overturn a 2-0 deficit when German outfit Bayer Leverkusen arrived in Stratford and will attempt to finish off what they started. However, West Ham will have other ideas!!!