West Ham United 0-0 Manchester City (West Ham win 5-3 on penalties)
Carabao Cup fourth round
West Ham United became the first team to eliminate Manchester City from the Carabao Cup since October 2016, progressing to the quarter-finals after a tense 0-0 draw and a dramatic 5-3 victory on penalty kicks.
The Hammers were faultless from the spot in their first competitive shootout since July 2015, with Mark Noble, Jarrod Bowen, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell and Said Benrahma all converting from 12 yards to ensure Phil Foden’s first-penalty miss was suitably capitalised upon.
Prior to that, another fully-blooded 90-minute display from David Moyes’ men – in which both teams threatened, without creating too much by way of chances at London Stadium – saw the Irons once again shut out a much-fancied Manchester club.
With his team playing the fourth of seven matches in 22 days, Moyes had made eight changes to the side which started Sunday’s 1-0 home Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, named a strong starting XI for the trip to east London, including the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez in his initial line-up.
The visitors thought they might have the first clear opportunity of the match after five minutes when Mahrez intercepted a stray Arthur Masuaku pass at the back, but the Algerian’s lay-off to Cole Palmer found the youngster in space – but also in an offside position.
The 19-year-old continued to be involved, however, and moments later, at the end of a quick passing move, Palmer played through Ilkay Gündoğan. The German – sizing up West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who excelled throughout – was quickly shut down by a strong block tackle by Ben Johnson.
The first half proved a slow burner, but the Claret and Blue Army were given cause to rise from their seats inside 20 minutes when Tomáš Souček teed up Noble to fire goalwards from 25 yards. The captain’s fiercely struck effort was straight at City ‘keeper Zack Steffen, but such was the power on it, the American only felt comfortable to palm it away initially, with John Stones clearing the danger.
Palmer again threatened on the 25-minute mark, Areola making a decent block with his legs after the youngster had cut inside Souček and struck low towards goal.
But both teams held their defensive shape when the other had spells of possession, City having the majority of possession but finding themselves frustrated by the Hammers’ impressive shape – and important interventions from centre-backs Issa Diop and Dawson – to the extent that their shots from range were mostly wild efforts.
As the holders pressed for an opener close to half-time, Mahrez volleyed an effort out for a throw-in after being well picked out by Gündoğan, while De Bruyne was just as frustrated from range after Diop threw his body in front of a 30-yard effort.
The visitors did apply a measure of pressure at the end of the first half through a succession of set-pieces, but Souček and Areola cleared and claimed two respectively before Aké headed wide in the closing seconds when well-placed – the clearest chance of the half.
The second half started with a little more attacking vigour when West Ham worked the ball nicely to Masuaku on the overlap, but the No26 – cutting across the ball with his strike – fired over.
Then, at the other end, Palmer held off a challenge from Souček and played in Gündoğan, but the German, from a tight angle, scuffed his effort across goal and wide of Areola’s far post.
Moments later, Cresswell played in Masuaku on the overlap and his fierce crossed was parried into the air by Steffen. Looping up to Andriy Yarmolenko, the Ukraine international brought the ball down but, just as he looked to convert, Oleksandr Zinchenko got his body in the way to deny West Ham the lead.
Areola made a comfortable low save from Sterling as chances finally began to flow, before de Bruyne’s deflected left-footed shot tested the Frenchman’s reactions once more – a comfortable enough stop in the end.
From the resulting corner, City went short, allowing de Bruyne to centre for Stones to attack, and the England international called Areola into action with a brilliant reflex save.
After a first half of so few chances, the crowd were off their seats once more when Vlašić combined well with Souček in minimal space inside the City area, the Czech midfielder running onto the ball but – from an awkward angle – sidefooting wide of the top corner.
On the hour mark, sensing the game was there to be won, manager David Moyes introduced a talented attacking trio from the bench in the form of Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma.
But it was Palmer who had the next chance, doing well to glide past three West Ham midfielders before blasting a return pass from Sterling well over the bar from a promising position.
As penalties loomed, Gündoğan was gifted a golden chance to win the game when Phil Foden’s low drive fortuitously deflected into the false No9’s path, but Areola possessed the sharper reflexes and got down well to clear at his feet.
Yet to concede in over 500 minutes of action this season, Johnson made a good intervention to deny Foden as he shaped to shoot, before Areola was forced to tip over Zinchenko’s fizzing effort from 25 yards as the holders pressed to prevent penalties.
The visitors were camped on the edge of the West Ham area in the closing stages but, thanks to good clearing headers from the likes of Souček and Cresswell, a fourth successive clean sheet was preserved by Moyes' men.
And there was still time for one final, glorious chance for the home team with two minutes remaining. Johnson’s looped cross to the back post was initially mis-hit by Fornals, but the ball sat up invitingly for the Spaniard to square for Souček who – on the penalty spot – could only curl wide of the top corner.
And as the clock ticked into additional time, Foden – winning a challenge with Souček – turned and shot from the edge of the box, flashing the ball narrowly wide of Areola’s upright, moments before Sterling placed a free header straight into the Frenchman’s gloves.
And so to penalty kicks we went, for the first time since the UEFA Europa League qualifying win over Birkirkara FC in July 2015.
Captain Noble, who scored on that occasion, took responsibility with West Ham’s first kick, slamming the ball straight down the middle to open the scoring, before Phil Foden arrowed his effort wide to gift the Irons an early advantage.
Bowen – despite the best efforts of Steffen, who got his gloves to it – also converted, as did Cancelo for City, before Dawson scored another emphatic effort and Jesus rolled home to make it 3-2 to West Ham after three penalties apiece.
Cresswell’s well-placed effort brought West Ham to match point to West Ham, and after Grealish converted his must-score penalty for the visitors, it was Benrahma who had the chance to win it in front of the expectant crowd.
Under intense pressure, Benrahma showed no lack of courage. He showed no lack of conviction. He showed only outstanding quality, outstanding commitment across the team, and an outstanding victory, as Benrahma lashed his effort into Steffen's side-netting and sealed the Hammers’ progression into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in the most dramatic manner possible.
Another moment under the London Stadium lights to savour this season.
West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell, Noble ©, Souček, Vlašić (Benrahma 62), Lanzini (Coufal 82), Masuaku (Fornals 62), Yarmolenko (Bowen 62)
Subs: Randolph (GK), Ashby, Baptiste, Zouma, Chesters
Manchester City: Steffen, Walker (João Cancelo 45), Stones, Aké, Zinchenko, Fernandinho ©, Gündoğan, Palmer (Gabriel Jesus 76), De Bruyne (Grealish 83), Mahrez (Foden 72), Sterling
Subs: Carson (GK), Dias, Laporte, Rodri, Edozie
Referee: Jonathan Moss