Lucas double and Antonio strike sinks Cardiff City
A sterling second half, featuring two goals from Lucas Perez and a Michail Antonio strike, saw West Ham United claim a well-fought 3-1 victory at home to Cardiff City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Irons were the better side for most of the contest, creating excellent chances in the first half, but could have gone in at the interval a goal down, only for Lukasz Fabianski to save Joe Ralls’ penalty.
Four minutes after the restart, Lucas struck his first, latching on to a Robert Snodgrass through ball to volley home. On 55 minutes, he struck again, expertly-finishing on the turn with a first-time effort.
Michail Antonio ensured all three points would stay with the Hammers just after the hour, heading home, and not even a very late finish by Josh Murphy could stop West Ham claiming back-to-back Premier League wins.
It was a bright start for the Hammers as Michail Antonio turned a header towards goal after just six minutes, before an intrinsic team move almost led to one of the West Ham goals of the season, with Robert Snodgrass’ shot blocked by a defender.
As a quarter of an hour ticked past, Felipe Anderson showed his ability, turning into space before dinking a delightful pass into the path of Marko Arnautovic. The No7’s attempt at goal, however, had too much loft, and was safely into Neil Etheridge’s hands.
Angelo Ogbonna and Declan Rice then tested Etheridge in quick succession from corners, only for the duo to see their headers both well saved.
With ten minutes left of the first half, Cardiff were awarded a huge chance to take the lead as Arnautovic committed a foul in the West Ham box, leading to a penalty. Joe Ralls stepped up, but Fabianksi made a terrific save to deny the Cardiff midfielder, ensuring the first half ended level.
In the second half, West Ham turned on the style. Substitute Lucas opened the scoring on 49 minutes after a defensive mix-up by Tuesday’s visitors. The ball fell to Snodgrass, who played in the Spaniard, with Lucas volleying home a powerful effort.
If the opener from Lucas prompted cheers from London Stadium, his second strike, six minutes later sent the fantastic home supporters into jubilation. The team move was superb, warranting a clinical first-time finish.
Captain Mark Noble found Arthur Masuaku, and the left-back burst down the flank and waited patiently. The run came from Lucas, the pass was inch-perfect, and the No27 dispatched his second goal of the game through Etheridge’s legs.
Another six minutes passed, and West Ham added a third. There was a second assist from Snodgrass, this time from a corner, as Antonio rose highest to header in for the Irons.
Pellegrini’s side were home and dry, and there was almost a fourth. Grady Diangana’s first involvement after coming on as a substitute was a corner, which fell to Rice. The midfielder’s shot was across goal, and Diangana maturely turned the ball back into the danger area. Ogbonna met it, but his effort was well stopped.
As the final minutes ticked away, Diangana went close again, as another shot went narrowly wide across goal.
There was time for Cardiff City to get a consolation through Josh Murphy, but West Ham held on for a deserved win.
West Ham United: Fabianski; Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble (c), Snodgrass (Diangana 76), F.Anderson; Arnautovic (Lucas 39), Chicharito (Carroll 63)
Substitutes not used: Adrian, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Obiang
Goals: Lucas 49, 54, Antonio 61
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Bennett, Morrison (c), Bamba, Ecuele Manga, Camarasa, Ralls (Mendez-Laing 64), Gunnarsson, Arter, Hoilett (Murphy 64), Paterson (Harris 73)
Substitutes not used: Smithies, Peltier, Madine, Reid
Goals: Murphy 90+5