|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Andrť Ayew kickstarts West Ham revival to dump Tottenham out of Carabao Cup
Barney Ronay at Wembley
Date Published Wednesday 25 October 2017 21.59 BST
West Ham United produced a sensational comeback at Wembley Stadium, scoring three times in 15 second-half minutes to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory that propelled Slaven Bilicís team into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
For Bilic, struggling to save his job past the weekend, this was a rousing show of strength from a much-changed team that had looked shot at half-time as Tottenham Hotspur scored twice while barely flexing their muscles. Instead West Ham surged back and produced one of the great Carabao Cup nights, led by a ragged but rousing captainís performance from Mark Noble and some energetic opportunism from Andrť Ayew, who scored twice.
Wembley was half full at kick-off, an impressive effort in the circumstances. It is easy to be blasť about these things, but in reality 36,000 fans for a midweek third-tier domestic cup competition is pretty sensational going.
There was an impressive swirl of noise as West Ham kicked off a game that had drawn most of its outside interest from the ongoing slow-cooked departure of Bilic. There has been a zombified quality to Bilicís time on the London Stadium touchline, a sense of some doomed alpha primate left to roam that vast open space between pitch and dugout, bellowing up at the trees, pointing vaguely at the distant figures while up in the stands plans are laid and successions put in place.
This week the Hoffenheim manager, Julian Nagelsmann, has been mentioned as a possible replacement. The same day a rambling, unshaven Bilic gave an alarmingly hangdog press conference, as the suggestion emerged he has been given two games to save his job, a ludicrous, unworkable scenario in practice.
Here Spurs made seven changes from the weekend. For West Ham it was nine, for a game that before kick-off had looked like a minor distraction before the make-or-break of Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The best thing that can be said about West Ham in the first half is they had a decent first five minutes. At which point they waved Tottenham through for the opening goal. Declan Rice was taken out of the game by a lovely touch by Fernando Llorente. Son Heung-min drove forward into the large empty space in front of him. His pass to Moussa Sissoko was perfectly weighted, the low finish effortless.
Son reprised his role as a central striker from the defeat of Liverpool at the weekend and he was a sparkling presence in the first half. Kieran Trippier and the returning Danny Rose hugged the touchline. Dele Alli had a header palmed up into the air by AdriŠn when he really should have scored.
Noble did his best to drive his team-mates on but looked understandably rusty as West Ham played with some energy if no real precision, every attack laced with the fear of a Spurs counter. The second goal duly arrived on 36 minutes. A passage of intricate Tottenham passing worked some space for Alli to stop, look up and curl a shot that found the far corner off Aaron Cresswellís head.
By that point there had already been some outbreaks of bottle-chucking between home and away fans, inadequately separated by four rows of seats and a thin line of unfortunate stewards. ďSlaven Bilic, we want you to stay,Ē the Spurs fans sang as the whistle blew for half time, at which point it really did feel like a case of how many.
Except West Ham had other ideas. Whatever Bilic said at the break, he really should have been saying it all season as his team came steaming out with far greater intent.
Noble had a spat near the touchline with Rose. Andy Carroll began to win his headers. With 55 minutes gone Ayew pulled the score back to 2-1, finishing from close range after Michel Vorm had palmed out a hard low shot from Edimilson Fernandes. West Hamís bulging away section erupted, and suddenly we had a cup tie. Ayew was running across the front line with manic intent. Bilic was up on his touchline pointing and barking. And on the hour it was Ayew for 2-2, the Ghanaian sliding in to finish Manuel Lanziniís slid pass at the end of a slick move.
Suddenly West Ham were driving the game against a Spurs team struggling to raise their levels. On 69 minutes a brilliantly unexpected comeback was complete, Angelo Ogbonna losing Toby Alderweireld at a corner and bulleting the ball home. In the space of 15 minutes 2-0 had become 2-3, and Spurs had gone from romping, strolling bullies to a clutch of bewildered white shirts.
They pressed hard without ever managing to create any clear chances. At the final whistle Bilic leapt about on the touchline as the West Ham end erupted. Almost exactly 10 years ago Bilicís Croatia team had beaten England by the same score on this ground, a result that in effect made him as a manager. For West Hamís fans this will go down as a sensational one-off against their London rivals, and a reminder of why the cups retain their allure. For Bilic it is a moment to breathe, for now, a little easier.
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS AND MATCHZONE FROM WEMBLEY
Tottenham (3-5-2): Vorm 5; Foyth 5.5, Alderweireld 5, Davies 5; Trippier 6, Sissoko 6.5, Dier 6, Dele 6, Rose 6; Llorente 6 (Dembele 72, 6), Son 7
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Nkoudou, Eriksen, Winks, Walker-Peters
Scorers: Sissoko 6, Alli 37
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino 6
West Ham (3-5-2): Adrian 6.5; Kouyate 6, Rice 6.5, Ogbonna 6.5; Byram 6, Noble 6.5, Fernandes 6, Lanzini 6, Cresswell 6; Carroll 6, Ayew 7.5
Subs not used: Hart, Fonte, Arnautovic, Obiang, Hernandez, Kaksabanovic, Masuaku
Scorers: Ayew 55, 60, Ogbonna 70
Manager: Slaven Bilic 7
Referee: Mike Dean 6