EPL

West Ham 0-2 Manchester City: Haaland's debut double gives champions winning start

By Sports Desk August 07, 2022

Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City beat West Ham 2-0 at London Stadium.

A first-half penalty from Haaland was followed by a typically clinical finish when the big-money signing after the break, as the champions picked up three points from their opening game. 

With Haaland seen as the striker Pep Guardiola has been lacking since Sergio Aguero's departure, it was fitting that the new arrival became only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League bow, with the former Argentina international being the other in August 2011.

Hammers boss David Moyes was forced to start full-back Ben Johnson at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma, with Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and new signing Nayef Aguerd all out injured.

It took a while for City to get going, and they thought they had taken the lead when a neat move down the left led to Haaland playing in Ilkay Gundogan, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to sweep home, only for the offside flag to go up.

Moyes's injury problems mounted further as Lukasz Fabianski had to go off after taking a knock in a challenge for the ball with Haaland, Alphonse Areola replacing him.

One of Areola's first contributions was to bring down Haaland when he was through on goal to concede a 36th-minute penalty, which the Norway striker dispatched calmly, sending Areola the wrong way.

Declan Rice skied a presentable chance over after a Gundogan error early in the second half, and some uncharacteristic misplaced City passes crept in as the Hammers looked for an equaliser, turning to their own new striker Gianluca Scamacca to come on just before the hour.

Haaland struck again after 65 minutes, though, when a City counter-attack saw De Bruyne slide his new team-mate in and the former Borussia Dortmund man placed his shot coolly past Areola to seal the points.

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  • Kudos for Mohammed Kudus as West Ham boss David Moyes reflects on comeback win Kudos for Mohammed Kudus as West Ham boss David Moyes reflects on comeback win

    David Moyes gave the kudos to Mohammed Kudus after the Ghana winger helped West Ham come from behind to beat Europa League minnows TSC Backa Topola 3-1.

    The Hammers made heavy weather of the opening match of their latest European adventure on a stormy night in Stratford, but headers from £38million summer signing Kudus and substitute Tomas Soucek got the Hammers off to a winning start.

    East London was hit by torrential rain before kick-off with water cascading through the roof onto the concourses at London Stadium.

    The floodgates failed to open on the pitch in the first half, however, despite West Ham being in the rare position of dominating possession on the soggy surface, and they fell behind after a mistake by Angelo Ogbonna.

    “Tonight I thought we did enough to win although I didn’t think we were great in a lot of things we did,” said Moyes.

    “The goal was probably our own doing but I didn’t fear the worst. It was a game where we had the lot of the ball and gave us a chance to see if we could do what teams have done to us lately.

    “The mistake changed the game – but it also made us more determined.

    “Kudus I thought started really brightly and came up with an important goal when I couldn’t really see where we would get one from.”

    The Hammers had 78 per cent possession in the first half, which was the exact opposite of their stats during the recent smash-and-grab win at Brighton.

    But Moyes got a taste of his own medicine when Ogbonna dawdled on the halfway line and Petar Sanic raced clear to give the Serbians a shock lead.

    However the Hammers, whose last European outing was their triumphant Europa Conference League final win over Fiorentina in June, hit back in the 66th minute, albeit in fortunate fashion as Said Benrahma’s cross was turned in at the far post by TSC defender Nemanja Petrovic.

    Kudus got his goal four minutes later and Soucek headed the third – with both coming from James Ward-Prowse corners – to finally ease West Ham nerves.

    TSC coach Zarko Lazetic said: “We are disappointed and a little bit angry. We respect the other team, but we felt we definitely had an opportunity.

    “Our tactic was to come and win and we feel sorry it didn’t happen.”

  • Late goal sends Brighton to defeat on their Europa League debut Late goal sends Brighton to defeat on their Europa League debut

    Brighton were taught a harsh lesson on their Europa League debut as Greek champions AEK Athens ran out 3-2 winners after a pulsating encounter at the Amex Stadium.

    Substitute Ezequiel Ponce struck the winner on the counter attack six minutes from the end of normal time as Roberto De Zerbi’s side failed to heed the signs after falling behind twice previously in the first half.

    Joao Pedro equalised from the penalty spot in the first period then again in the second, both times after VAR had intervened in Brighton’s favour.

    The hosts had the better of the play but they lacked the clinical edge of AEK, who scored with two excellent finishes from set-pieces. The first goal was a superb header from Djibril Sidibe, followed by a sliding finish from Mijat Gacinovic as Brighton were undone by nerves and their own naivety.

    The opening goal came after 11 minutes and was against the early run of the play.

    AEK’s first attack saw them win a corner on the left after a low cross was turned behind. As the ball was whipped in, no one had picked up the lurking Sidibe who with a late dash into the box caught Brighton out with a superb 15-yard diving header that whistled past Jason Steele.

    De Zerbi’s side had been badly caught out, and seconds later it could have been two. Levi Garcia, who would torment Brighton in the first period with pace and clever movement, raced beyond the defence and went through on goal, but the hosts were saved by Garcia’s tame finish that was too close to Steele.

    Brighton were dominating the ball and largely camped in AEK’s half, but they could not plug the gaps that their opponents were finding on the counter attack.

    Garcia wasted another glorious chance to double the visitors’ lead from an almost identical position when he again stole in behind the defence, this time slipping his effort just beyond the far post.

    Yet Brighton’s play with the ball gave home fans reason for hope and soon they converted it into chances. Pedro nodded wide from a free header inside the six-yard box as Brighton finally put together an attack to concern the AEK defence, but within a minute he had made amends for his profligacy.

    When defender Ehsan Hajsafi dangled a leg as Pedro looked to cut inside to shoot the referee initially booked the striker for diving. But after a pitchside VAR review the booking was rescinded, Pedro stepped up and coolly rolled his penalty beyond Cican Stankovic to score Brighton’s first European goal.

    At that stage it appeared that they had had their reprieve for the way they had left themselves vulnerable to AEK’s threat, but five minutes before the break, another fine delivery from a set-piece, and another critical lapse in concentration.

    Brighton held a high line on the edge of their own box as a free-kick was whipped in from 40 yards out, but as blue shirts charged back towards their own goal none of them could prevent Gacinovic from sliding to get a foot on the ball to turn it beyond Steele.

    There was still time for Jan-Paul Van Hecke to deny Orbelin Pineda what would have been a deserved third for AEK on the stroke of half-time.

    There was relief then around the Amex when the referee was directed pitch-side for another VAR review after Pedro’s tumble inside the box under Damian Szymanski’s challenge had at first been waved on. As in the first half, the decision was overturned, and Pedro got to his feet to replicate his earlier composed finish to draw Brighton level again.

    De Zerbi was booked for remonstrating too forcefully on the touchline, before Pedro was handed the chance to seal his hat-trick and an opening night win when he spring the offside trap and went one-on-one with Stankovic. This time the goalkeeper got the better of their duel.

    Then came AEK’s final sting. A raking ball from the back was nodded out wide by Ponce to Niclas Eliasson, who returned the ball to his fellow substitute. Although Steele blocked Ponce’s shot, the rebound ricocheted off the Argentinian and into the net for the winner.

  • West Ham storm past minnows Backa Topola after early scare in Europa opener West Ham storm past minnows Backa Topola after early scare in Europa opener

    West Ham made heavy weather of the opening match of their latest European adventure as they had to come from behind to beat Serbian minnows Backa Topola 3-1.

    Headers from £38million summer signing Mohammed Kudus and substitute Tomas Soucek, both from James Ward-Prowse corners, got the Hammers’ Europa League campaign off to a winning start on a stormy Stratford night.

    East London was hit by torrential rain before kick-off with water cascading through the roof onto the concourses at London Stadium.

    The floodgates failed to open on the pitch in the first half, however, despite West Ham being in the rare position of dominating possession on the soggy surface.

    The Hammers had 78 per cent possession, which was the exact opposite of their stats during the recent smash-and-grab win at Brighton.

    But boss David Moyes got a taste of his own medicine when Angelo Ogbonna’s mistake gifted TSC, making their debut in the group stages of a European competition, a shock lead after half-time.

    Until then it had been one-way traffic after Ward-Prowse had an early free-kick deflected inches over the crossbar.

    Danny Ings, making his first start of the season, saw his swerving effort punched away by Serbian keeper Nikola Simic, who also denied Thilo Kehrer after Aaron Cresswell’s low cross found him at the far post.

    Lucas Paqueta’s drive then forced another unorthodox save from Simic and when Pablo Fornals lifted the loose ball back into the box, Kudus planted his header over the top.

    But for all West Ham’s dominance there was still a hairy moment when a corner from Petar Stanic was flicked on by Sasa Jovanovic and bounced right across the six-yard box.

    The underdogs were enthusiastically cheered from the pitch at half-time by the 75-or-so Serbian fans who had made the 2,000km journey.

    And those away supporters were in dreamland two minutes into the second half after Ogbonna dawdled on the halfway line, allowing Stanic to nick the ball, race clear and fire past Lukasz Fabianski.

    But the Hammers, whose last European outing was their triumphant Europa Conference League final win over Fiorentina in June, hit back in the 66th minute, albeit in fortunate fashion as Said Benrahma’s cross was turned in at the far post by TSC defender Nemanja Petrovic.

    The lively Kudus did get his goal four minutes later and Soucek headed in the third from another Ward-Prowse delivery – giving the former Southampton midfielder a fifth assist of the season – to finally ease West Ham nerves.

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