English Premier League

West Ham United 1 – 1 Aston Villa

Tomas Soucek was denied a late winner for West Ham as they had to settle for a Premier League point against Aston Villa at London Stadium.

Soucek thought he had won it for the Hammers in the dying stages of added time, after getting on the end of James Ward-Prowse’s inswinging free-kick but it was ruled out for handball after a lengthy Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check.

Nicolo Zaniolo rescued a point for Champions League chasers Villa, scoring in the 79th minute.

Moussa Diaby’s cutback into the box was expertly prodded home by the Italian as he scored his second league goal for Villa.

Michail Antonio had put the Hammers in front after scoring his first Premier League goal since August.

The Jamaica international executed a superb diving header, getting on the end of Vladimir Coufal’s pinpoint delivery in the 29th minute.

Antonio had a second ruled out for handball shortly after the break as he was adjudged to have used his arm to convert Jarrod Bowen’s cross.

David Moyes’ side remain seventh while Villa are three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.

Antonio proves his worth for Hammers

Fresh from recording the biggest European win in their history on Thursday night, West Ham controlled the game well in the first half and Villa struggled to break them down.

Coufal got on the end of a Bowen cutback which Martinez saved and his second attempt was well wide after a chest and volley.

Antonio showed why he is still so valuable to the Hammers, when fit, as he scored his first league goal since the third game of the campaign.

The 33-year-old was out for three months after suffering a knee injury in November and marked his first league start of the year with a valuable contribution.

Shortly after the hour mark Antonio was taken off, to rapturous applause from the home fans, as he continues to work his way back to full fitness and replaced by Ben Johnson.

In the end, it was a tale of two handballs as West Ham once again dropped points in a league encounter this season which has followed a Europa League fixture.

Moyes said: “Burnley last week,Freiburg [first leg], and now two today have gone against us. It’s hard to take.

“If VAR thinks it’s right, it must be right. I think football people see things differently. We’ve had two hit people’s arms in the last week and not one went for us.”

A hard-fought draw for Villa

Unai Emery’s side missed the chance to go five points clear of Tottenham as they toiled to a point against West Ham.

After a disappointing first half, they were much improved after the break and their goal came from substitute Zaniolo.

Both of his Premier League goals for Villa this season have been second-half equalisers after coming off the bench.

“When they scored the plan changed and in the second half we did better than in the first half,” said Villa boss Emery.

“We created – not clear chances – but we were dominating and playing well. We dominated, scored the goal and tried to win the match. It’s a draw but the result is good for us.

“I’m very happy for Nicolo, hopefully we can keep him in this mood for the rest of the season.”

The Villans are yet to beat West Ham at London Stadium and missed the chance to do a league double over them for the first time since 2010-11.

Leon Bailey cut inside and then lashed a wild shot high and wide in an effort which summed up Villa’s afternoon while Youri Tielemans’ effort from long range was palmed away by Alphonse Areola.

Emery will be expecting a better performance when his side host Wolves on 30 March (17:30 GMT) in their next league fixture.


Back to top button