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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

Neal Maupay breaks West Ham hearts with exquisite last-gasp overhead kick to cancel out Soucek

















Neal Maupay’s 90th-minute overhead kick denied West Ham the three points after Tomas Soucek headed them into an early lead.


The Hammers failed to close the game out after being denied on several occasions by Brighton & Hove Albion keeper Robert Sanchez.


Tonight’s stalemate was another wasted opportunity for the Hammers to consolidate their top-four spot and Arsenal can now leapfrog West Ham into fourth with a win over Manchester United tomorrow.


Draw experts Brighton have now drawn seven of their last nine games and while they lack something to win games, they are certainly tough to break down.


Things had got off to a dream start for West Ham. Soucek brilliantly responded to his manager David Moyes’ constructive criticism that he should score more goals, flicking home a header from a corner to put the Hammers in front after five minutes.


It was only the Czech international’s second goal of the Premier League season and his first since the opening day after hitting double figures (10) last term.


The Hammers had an early let-off when Neal Maupay dragged his shot wide of Lukasz Fabianski’s goal after a superb cutback from Yves Bissouma.


Vladimir Coufal then broke forward and got a shot away which Robert Sanchez spilled but Jarrod Bowen failed to convert the follow-up with the ball coming off his knee


The Hammers put in a dominant performance and did not rest on their laurels. And after 28 minutes assist-man Fornals saw his volley rattle the crossbar after Michail Antonio flicked Coufal’s cross on to him.


Six minutes to half-time Fabianski showed why he is still West Ham’s undisputed first-choice stopper at 36 and despite the arrival of Alphonse Areola as he bailed his rear-guard out, repelling Jakub Moder’s effort after former Brentford star Neal Maupay had played a delightful pass into his path from the middle.


With momentum having dissipated West Ham on their return from the dressing room, Bowen then missed their first good chance to extend the lead. But he guided a right-footed effort just wide before Adam Lallana did the same on the other end minutes later, steering a no-look effort wide of the left post.


Sanchez then pulled off a majestic save to beat away Declan Rice’s thumping effort and keep his side in the game.


The Spaniard made another fine save to keep out Antonio’s towering header in the 85th minute.


And it didn’t take long for the Amex outfit to find a way through eventually. Frenchman Maupay connected expertly with Tariq Lamptey’s tailor-made cross to send an exquisite overhead kick beyond the arms of Fabianski.


The outstanding Sanchez then thwarted Bowen’s attempt before Marc Cucurella cleared Kurt Zouma’s header off the line from the resulting corner as Brighton clung onto a draw.


The Hammers have only picked up one point from nine since defying the odds to defeat Liverpool before the international break. That's too little for a side with Champions League ambitions.


Line-ups

West Ham United


1 Lukasz Fabianski- 4 Kurt Zouma- 5 Vladimir Coufal- 8 Pablo Fornals- 9 Michail Antonio- 15 Craig Dawson- 20 Jarrod Bowen- 22 Said Benrahma- 28 Tomas Soucek- 31 Ben Johnson- 41 Declan Rice


Substitutes


13 Alphonse Areola- 7 Andriy Yarmolenko- 10 Manuel Lanzini- 11 Nikola Vlasic- 16 Mark Noble- 23 Issa Diop- 16 Mark Noble- 23 Issa Diop- 26 Arthur Masuaku- 33 Alex Kral-64 Sonny Perkins


Brighton & Hove Albion


1 Robert Sanchez- 3 Marc Cucurella- 4 Adam Webster- 5 Lewis Dunk- 8 Yves Bissouma- 9 Neal Maupay- 11 Leandro Trossard- 14 Adam Lallana-15 Jakub Moder-34 Joel Veltman- 60 Jeremy Sarmiento


Subtitutes


23 Jason Steele – 2 Tariq Lamptey- 10 Alexis MacAllister-12 Enock Mwepu- 13 Pascal Gross- 20 Solly March- 24 Shane Duffy- 27 Jurgen Locadia- 33 Dan Burn








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