West Ham’s European dreams in tatters as Southampton leave London stadium with all three points in Boxing Day thriller
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Jan Bednarek struck late to secure a 3-2 victory at Southampton in east London, which will seriously undermine West Ham United’s European hopes.
The Hammers have won only once since defeating Liverpool at London Stadium in early November and are moving further and further away from the Champions League conversation.
Three straight top-flight losses are just not enough for David Moyes, but the Saints will be jubilant after securing their second away win of the season.
Southampton took the lead after just eight minutes when Mohamed Elyounoussi finished on the edge of the penalty area.
Kyle Walker-Peters was cleared to reach the edge of the box and collect a square ball for the Norwegian winger, who calmly returned home from 18 yards away.
Elyounoussi could have added a second after half an hour when he picked up Nathan Redmond’s pass and bypassed Craig Dawson, but his arrival was too close to Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham came close to equalizing when Bednarek’s misjudged pass on the pitch was intercepted by Nikola Vlasic, but the Croatian frontman, still chasing his first goal since joining the Hammers in August, was unable to beat Saints goalie Fraser Forster.
House boss David Moyes had seen enough at halftime and took Vlasic and Pablo Fornals away, sending Michail Antonio – back from a spell with Covid-19 – and Manuel Lanzini.
The move paid instant dividends with Antonio leaping from a corner after Dawson led Jarrod Bowen’s delivery through the goal.
But Dawson was at fault when Saints came back on time, with the defender left behind by Armando Broja before knocking him to the edge of the box.
Referee Kevin Friend consulted with the field monitor before awarding the kick, which was clinically sent by James Ward-Prowse.
West Ham leveled up four minutes later when the industrious Bowen cleared to the right and crossed for Said Benrahma to return home.
However, when Ward-Prowse landed a free kick 20 minutes from time, Bednarek passed Dawson and Tomas Soucek to put the visitors back in front.
Southampton developed an unfortunate talent for losing the lead under boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, but they weren’t about to throw her away for the third time – despite late pressure from West Ham.
Arthur Masuaku had the hosts’ best late luck with a shot that flew over as Moyes suffered from more festive frustration.
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