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  • by Yann Tear at the London Stadium

Hammers have no answer to swagger of dominant champions as Haaland hits double

West Ham (0) 0

Man City (1) 2 Haaland 35pen, 65

The London Stadium reverberated from the waves of sound created by a new capacity full house of 62,500.

For about 10 minutes.

That was about the time it took for City to send a previously excitable home base into cowed silence. It was grip on proceedings they never looked like losing.

Pep Guardiola’s men hogged the ball. Passed it around among themselves. And then hogged the ball some more.

Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut, but the final scoreline barely told the tale of just how dominant the champions were.

It was a stupefying experience for home supporters to endure on a hot east London afternoon. The sight of their own players chasing shadows and struggling to have the ball long enough to string any meaningful passes together.

At the tail end of last season, the Hammers gave title-chasing City an almighty scare after taking a 2-0 lead before parity was eventually restored. This was far less problematic for the visitors. West Ham barely laid a glove on them.

Jarrod Bowen, who bagged both Irons’ goals in that previous encounter, must have hoped for a repeat. A left-foot shot inside the area early on was blocked, as David Moyes’ men sought something of the start which unsettled the champions a few months ago. Michail Antonio caught the mood with a flicked header which only just cleared the bar.

But soon City were imposing themselves and draining home hopes. Joao Cancelo’s run from deep paved the way for a Kevin De Bruyne to ping a low shot just wide. Haaland nearly got a telling header to a floated pass from Phil Foden from the right.

The Hammers then lost Lukasz Fabianski to injury moments after surviving another scare – a linesman’s flag raised to deny De Bruyne the goal he thought he had scored from Ilkay Gundogan’s cut-back.

Alphonse Areola came on and very soon was giving away a penalty – arriving too late at the feet of Haaland, who darted onto a through-ball from Gundogan.

The Norwegian was not about to pass up such a great chance to open his Premier League account, and he coolly rolled home the spot.

Hammers fans were desperate to see a little more from their team and had a little to raise hopes – first when Declan Rice side-footed over from inside the area, then when Said Benrahma came on to drill a low shot towards the far post that Ederson got behind.

But then came the dream ticket City fans expect to see plenty of, just past the hour. All it took was a quick dash behind the Iron’s defence onto a finely-weighted pass from De Bruyne and an opening up of the body for Haaland to give himself an unmissable target.

David Moyes blooded Gianluca Scamacca, but it was a thankless task for the Italian leading the line on a day like this when his team hardly saw the ball. There will surely be easier days than this.

Hammers (4-2-1-3): Fabianski (Areola 28) – Coufal, Zouma, Johnson, Cresswell – Soucek, Rice – Bowen (Downes 90), Lanzini (Benrahma 57), Fornals (Coventry 90) – Antonio (Scamacca 57). Subs not used: Randolph, Vlasic, Oko-Flex, Ashby

Cityzens (4-3-3): Edderson – Walker, Ruben Dias, Ake, Cancelo – Gundogan (Silva 78), Rodri (Phillips 88), De Bruyne (Palmer 88) – Foden (Mahrez 88), Haaland (Alvarez 78), Grealish. Subs not used: Moreno, Stones, Lewis, Wilson-Esbrand


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