Hammers Euro hopes hampered despite Benrahma super strike

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 West Ham United

Substitute Said Benrahma salvaged a point for West Ham United at the Amex Stadium with a stunning late strike, but the East Londoners were unable to make inroads towards a top-four finish, which is now all but beyond them.

David Moyes remained upbeat following a defeat against Everton a week previous: “I think we’ve responded well,” the Scotsman enthused

“We were disappointed that we didn’t at least get something from the game against Everton – I think we deserved that, but we didn’t and we moved on quickly because there was a lot in our performance that was very good.

Moyes made several changes to his starting eleven. Declan Rice returned and was reacquainted with the captains’ armband, while Angelo Ogbonna and Jarrod Bowen were handed starts – Manuel Lanzini, Issa Diop and Said Benrahma missing out, Diop and Benrahma named amongst the substitutes.

West Ham hadn’t beaten the Seagulls in seven attempts – a run stretching back to the south coast clubs’ return to the top flight in 2017. Michail Antonio was a whisker away from converting Aaron Creswell’s low centre. Nevertheless, early exchanges brought about very few genuine opportunities for either side.

No takers came forward when Antonio nodded across the face of goal, while Bowen and Fornals were thwarted as the visitors’ looked the more likely side.

Jesse Lingard’s effort was cleared off the line, while Tomas Soucek’s thunderbolt was awkwardly dealt with by Brighton stopper Robert Sánchez as West Ham edged closer.

Lukasz Fabianski used his feet to deny Alireza Jahanbakhsh, then parried away Pascal Groß’ attempt as Brighton offered a little more immediately after the restart.

Jahanbakhsh went even closer from an acute angle, while Lingard was too high as the sides continued to trade blows, albeit tentatively.

The game became stretched and scruffy in the latter stages. Fornals was unable to direct Vladimir Coufal’s driven cross goalwards, while Craig Dawson perhaps should have done better, heading wide after Soucek had picked him out.

And that proved costly for the East Londoners. Former Manchester United and Arsenal frontman, Danny Welbeck was sent clear by substitute Percy Tau and beat Fabianski with a neat finish from just outside the box.

But Brighton’s lead lasted just three minutes. Coufal’s cross was half-cleared – Benrahma picking the perfect moment to open his Hammers account with a stunning strike from 25 yards.

The point leaves West Ham in sixth place. They return to Premier League action on Wednesday, May 19 when they face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns (8pm). The Hammers conclude their campaign on Sunday 23 when Southampton visit the London Stadium (4pm).

Brighton & Hove Albion: Robert Sánchez, Ben White, Adam Webster, Dan Burn, Jakub Moder, Pascal Groß (Capt), Yves Bissouma, Steven Alzate (Adam Lallana 66’) Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Percy Tau 72’), Leandro Trossard (Andi Zeqiri 83’), Danny Welbeck Subs not used: Jason Steele (GK), Michal Karbownik, Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister, Aaron Connolly, Florin Andone

Booked: Yves Bissouma (foul)
Goals: Danny Welbeck 84’

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Angelo Ogbonna, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice (Capt), Tomas Souček, Jarrod Bowen (Said Benrahma 63’), Jesse Lingard, Pablo Fornals, Michail Antonio Subs not used: Darren Randolph (GK), Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko, Adenipo Odubeko

Booked: None
Goals: Said Benrahma 87’

Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Scott Ledger and Simon Long
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant
VAR: Andy Halliday

Brian Jeeves

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