West Ham hit late winner to bounce Liverpool in FA Cup
West Ham knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup at the death of their fourth-round replay Tuesday, with Angelo Ogbonna heading home the winner deep in extra time to see off the Reds, 2-1. West Ham will now play Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round on Sunday February 21; Liverpool will be left, again, to wonder what if.
It was a dramatic ending to what had been a pell-mell game, with Lucas Leiva conceding a foul in the 120th minute of play, only to see Ogbonna leap over the entire Liverpool back line to smash home Dimitri Payet’s cross with penalty kicks looming. The result will crush Liverpool, who had for long spells looked the better side, but luckless Jurgen Klopp has yet to string together a series of big results in his English debut, and this was yet another case of chances missed on the big stage.
It was all-change today for Klopp: only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet remained from the Liverpool side that drew with Sunderland Saturday, but that meant a return to the starting eleven for Philippe Coutinho and a start for Christian Benteke at the front of the attack. There was also a spot for both Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge on the bench – both would appear -- like Coutinho both of those strikers coming off injuries.
Andy Carroll, another striker who has battled injury layoffs, was on the West Ham bench as Slaven Bilic made five changes from the side which lost at Southampton Saturday. That meant starts for goalkeeper Darren Randolph, Joey O'Brien, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate.
After a tentative start Liverpool forced a pair of 14th minute corners that reached Benteke at the far post. His first header was scrambled away in a ruck of players, the second brought a save from Randolph at his left-hand post.
Immediately thereafter O'Brien had a shot from the 18 smack off the right post after it deflected off Lucas, then Liverpool had to head away an ensuing left wing cross from Aaron Cresswell as West Ham made its first impression.
Stewart drew the first caution of the match in the 26th minute when his boot caught Kouyate in the thigh after a brief Liverpool raid had been cleared by the West Ham defense. A strong run by Brad Smith created a 28th minute opening for Joao Carlos Texeira, but the Liverpool midfielder's well-hit drive flew past the left post.
A dreadful giveaway by Winston Reid sent Benteke in on the left to set up Coutinho, but the resulting shot came back off the left post and a rebound was blocked away for a corner in the 34th minute as the visitors were making the better of the play without getting a reward.
A push by Jordan Ibe on Kouyate set up a West Ham 23-meter free straight out in the 38th minute and Payet's resulting effort curled away, but Mignolet touched it onto the right post with a good save.
The West Ham lead came just before the break, Enner Valencia with the run to the left byeline before his cross reached Antonio at the far post. He first-timed the volley to the far left corner with Smith unable to do anything more than get a tiny deflection on a shot that was always going in.
But the lead would not last. Immediately after the restart, Benteke was fouled on the edge of the area, and Coutinho stepped up. With the West Ham wall jumping to deny the top corner, Coutinho instead slid the ball along the ground, rolling it to Darren Randolph’s far post.
That set up a stop-start second half that was riddled with injury. Benteke found himself in time and space in the 55th minute off great service from Brad Smith, only to see his shot blocked away at the last.
Liverpool were then lucky not to concede a penalty when Winston Reid was hauled back blatantly in the box by Tiago Ilori on the hour, but some how ref Roger East – who did call to his assistant – missed it.
Kouyate was then knocked out cold on the pitch after a collision and had to come off for Andy Carroll, while Joey O’Brien pulled up lame, making way for Victor Moses.
Dmitri Payet and Valencia nearly combined with only a minute remaining in normal time, but with Liverpool in full retreat, the big man headed his ball awry, sparing the Reds late. Jordon Ibe and Sturridge tested Randolph in stoppage after a quick restart but the West Ham keeper made it look easy.
Extra time saw more of the same frantic play – and to the same effect. Carroll and Benetke both brutally missed chances that would have been easier to finish. Until, of course, Ogbonna and his killer blow at the death.