English Premiership

Hammers face Euro woe after Stoke setback

2016-05-15 19:27
Goal (AFP)

Stoke-on-Trent - Stoke City staged a stirring fightback to beat West Ham United 2-1 on Sunday and leave the visitors facing the possibility of missing out on a Europa League place.

Slaven Bilic's side went ahead at the Britannia Stadium through Michail Antonio's 23rd-minute goal.

But West Ham were pegged back in the 55th minute by a Giannelli Imbula strike before Mame Biram Diouf headed home with two minutes remaining to condemn the visitors to only their second defeat in 13 league matches.

West Ham now face an anxious wait to see if they will start life at their new home in the Olympic Stadium next season with European action on the fixture list.

The east Londoners finished seventh in the Premier League table and will only qualify for the Europa League if Manchester United -- who will finish in the top six -- beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final next weekend.

Stoke ended the season in ninth place in the table, matching their final position in the last two campaigns.

West Ham took the lead when a corner was flicked on by Winston Reid towards Antonio, who turned and fired home as the Stoke defence stood statuesque.

Stoke had constantly given the ball away and failed to build anything in attack, but they finally showed some threat in the 39th minute when Bojan Krkic drilled wide.

Soon after the break more Stoke sloppiness allowed West Ham to break forward and Antonio laid a chance on a plate for Diafra Sakho.

Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given deserved credit for the save, but Sakho really should have buried the opportunity.

Four minutes later, the hosts took advantage of that escape when Imbula cracked a low shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

A hectic period then saw Stoke clear the ball off the line a number of times in quick succession as West Ham caused chaos in their area.

Stoke's Charlie Adam nearly scored from the inside his own half, bringing a scrambling save out of Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph with his long-range drive.

And the hosts grabbed the winner in the 88th minute when Adam's corner was headed home by fellow substitute Diouf.


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