Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 2-1 Manchester City
West Ham United's stunning start to the Barclays Premier League season continued as they toppled reigning champions Manchester City in a pulsating encounter at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.
Morgan Amalfitano set the Hammers on their way with the simplest of finishes after 21 minutes, before Diafra Sakho made it an astonishing six league goals in as many starts with another supreme header.
David Silva's exquisite individual effort made for a grandstand finish, but the Hammers were to hold on to record a third successive win and move within a point of second-placed City.
Sam Allardyce stayed loyal to the XI that produced three goals and points at Turf Moor last weekend, though there was a place for the fit-again Cheikho Kouyate on the bench.
Manchester City, meanwhile, made two changes to the side held by CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, with Aleksandar Kolarov making way for Gael Clichy and Jesus Navas in for James Milner.
And it was the visitors who had the first real sight of goal, as David Silva's sixth-minute free-kick just brushed the top of the Adrian's net.
At the other end, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho were at their high-energy best, when the former chased a lost cause down the left and promptly backed Vincent Kompany into a corner. As the ball looped up, Sakho and Elaquim Mangala went head to head, with Joe Hart then having to be on his toes to tip it over the bar.
West Ham's new strike duo combined again in the 19th minute, this time courtesy of a well-flighted James Collins free-kick. Sakho flicked it on and Valencia darted around the back, only for Hart to come out bravely to block and get a hefty blow for his troubles.
And so to the goal, brilliant in its design and simple in its execution. Alex Song's clever ball bypassed the full-back and gave Valencia the time and space to run at Mangala. The Ecuadorian skipped past the centre-half and though his cut back was miss hit, it wrong footed Kompany, before Pablo Zabaleta collided with Hart and gifted Amalfitano the freedom of the six-yard box to tap into an almost empty net.
But City were still posing questions of their own and Navas' near-post corner was matched by the run of Edin Dzeko, whose effort flew just over the top.
Big Sam's side, for their part, twice threatened to double the lead. Sakho's cross was only headed up in the air and Stewart Downing nodded over the top from eight yards, before Valencia's cute free-kick played in goalscorer Amalfitano, whose ball across the face just flashed beyond a sliding Sakho.
But West Ham still had Adrian to thank for preserving the Hammers' lead at the break, as Sergio Aguero diverted Navas' centre goalward in first-half stoppage time, only for the Spanish stopper to somehow keep it out.
Into the second half and Downing again went close. Valencia's free-kick ricocheted in the path of Song, whose rabona was chested, by Aaron Cresswell, into Downing's path and he duly blasted it just wide of the far post.
Moments later, Noble picked out Sakho's run with a fine crossfield ball and the No15's angled volley might have been aimed at Valencia, or equally at the far corner. It missed both.
Aguero then came to the fore, with two gilt-edged chances in a matter of minutes. First-up, Silva's ball set him away, forcing Adrian to save with his feet and then Collins to dive in to smother the rebound.
Then, Aguero saw his close-range effort cannon back off the underside of the crossbar and Yaya Toure, on the follow up, was foiled by Adrian once more.
But one-way traffic it was not. Valencia robbed Zabaleta and but for Mangala's last-ditch interception, Sakho would surely have been celebrating again. He very nearly was, collecting from second-half substitute Kouyate and fizzing a curler inches over the top from the edge of the box.
City were then denied by the woodwork once more, as Toure's 18-yard drive clattered into the angle of post and bar. It looked to be a pivotal moment, as West Ham were soon two goals to the good. Just as he did last weekend, Cresswell provided the ammunition for Sakho, whose header just snuck beyond the goalline, despite Hart's despairing efforts.
Breathing space? Not a bit of it, Silva made sure of that. Cutting in off the right flank and jinking his way past Claret and Blue shirts, the silky Spaniard buried a low strike into the far corner to halve the City deficit.
Stevan Jovetic turned smartly on the box and saw his piledriver palmed aside, before Kolarov smashed one into side netting from miles out. But there would be no late drama as West Ham held firm to record a fourth win in five.
West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Reid, Cresswell, Noble (c), Song, Amalfitano (Kouyate 66), Downing, Valencia (Cole 76), Sakho (Nolan 89)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Vaz Te, O'Brien, Poyet
Goals: Amalfitano 21, 75
Booked: Amalfitano, Song
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Mangala, Clichy (Kolarov 78), Fernando (Milner 78) , Toure, Navas, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko (Jovetic 59)
Subs: Caballero, Demichelis, Sagna, Kolarov, Milner, Fernandinho
Goals: Silva 77
Referee: Martin Atkinson