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  • By Yann Tear at London Stadium

Dogged West Ham hold their nerve from the spot to end Man City's four-year cup reign

League Cup 4th round

West Ham (0) 0

Manchester City (0) 0

Hammers win 5-3 on pens

The Hammers produced a performance of stubborn will and iron discipline to bring an end to Man City’s vice-like grip on the League Cup – the competition they seemed destined never to let go.

Four years in a row Pep Guardiola’s men had won it. Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Spurs had all been vanquished in the previous four finals.

West Ham needed a penalty shoot-out to do it, which may not be the purest way of achieving such a feat, but they earned their moment of glory by refusing to bend to the constant passing and probing of the slick City machine.

The Hammers produced a flawless set of spot kicks after the 90 minutes, with Mark Noble, Jarrod Bowen, Craig Dawson and Aaron Cresswell putting their efforts away.

And with Phil Foden having missed City’s first by driving wide, it was left to Said Benrahma to put away the decisive fifth to send West Ham into the quarter-finals.

The Irons needed the patience of a saint for vast passages of play, such is the mesmeric stranglehold on possession Pep Guardiola’s men maintained.

But they got behind the ball well, even when the visitors broke away at speed, and they restricted the cup holders to half-chances.

City’s best chances in the first half fell to striker Cole Palmer, who was only denied by the outstretched right leg of Alphonse Areola, and Nathan Ake, whose flicked header from a Riyad Mahrez free-kick was just off target.

The Irons drew encouragement from their early success in keeping City at bay and got forward in sufficient numbers for Mark Noble to pop a shot straight at keeper Zack Steffen after Manuel Lanzini had worked a bit of space to roll in a low cross from the left.

It was slim pickings though, of course, and home fans were subdued into near silence at times, getting their kicks from little moments like Ben Johnson shielding the ball out of play as Raheem Sterling tried desperately to get a touch.

The game looked in danger of drifting but came alive 10 minutes after the break when Arthur Masuaku’s shot on the turn was only parried across the six-yard box by Steffen and Andriy Yarmolenko’s far-post volley on the follow-up was blocked on the line by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

That stung City into retaliation and Kevin De Bruyne almost beat Areola at his near post before John Stones’ close-range header was kept out by the Hammers keeper.

Guardiola summoned Foden from the bench and the England midfielder induced a heart-in-mouth moment for home fans with a pass that Ilkay Gundogan failed to control when he had only Areola to beat.

Zinchenko also hit a powerful drive from outside the box which needed tipping over the bar and there was a late chance for the Irons when sub Benrahma set up Tomas Soucek for a pot at glory. His shot was too high.

As it turned out there was to be another opportunity for the home side to claim the glory.

Hammers: (4-2-3-1) Areola – Johnson, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell – Soucek, Noble – Yarmolenko (Bowen 62), Lanzini (Coufal 82), Masuaku (Fornals 62)– Vlasic (Benrahma 62). Subs not used: Randolph, Zouma, Ashby, Chesters, Baptiste

City: (4-3-3) Steffen – Walker (Cancelo h/t), Stones, Ake, Zinchenko – De Bruyne (Grealish 83), Fernandinho, Gundogan – Mahrez (Foden 72), Palmer (Jesus 76), Sterling. Subs not used: Carson, Dias, Laporte, Rodri, Edozie


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