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West Ham 3-1 Fulham
by Paul Donovan
at London Stadium
WEST HAM finally ran out comfortable winners of this London derby, after a shaky start.
Three times in the first two minutes the home side presented the visitors with gilt edged chances, with Ryan Babel finally stepping up to convert the third, after missing the first one, following a cross from the left.
It was not until the half hour that West Ham drew level, with a controversial goal involving a hand ball.
A Robert Snodgrass corner was poorly punched out by Fulham keeper Sergio Rico, with Michail Antonio heading the ball back in.
Angelo Ogbonna nodded on, for Javier Hernandez to force over the line with his arm.
Ten minutes later another Snodgrass corner saw Issa Diop come through a crowd of players to powerfully head home.
Rico then pulled off a point blank save to deny Antonio.
Substitute Marko Arnautovic saw his fierce shot bounce back off the post.
Antonio then missed another header, before proving everything comes to those who wait, when Arnautovic picked him out to head home in the 91st minute.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini acknowledged that the hand ball had played an important part in the game. Though, he felt his own team “dominated the game, creating a lot of chances.”
“It was a very good performance,” Pellegrini said.
Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri felt it was too easy to say the hand ball changed the game, but it did play a decisive role.
“Football is so fast, it is very difficult for the referee to see everything,” said Ranieri, who felt the introduction of VAR to the Premier League could help.
“We must continue to fight,” said Ranieri. “My players have a big heart.”
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