West Ham's Antonio bags late winner to extend Leeds' miserable skid
LEEDS, England (AP) — Michail Antonio struck in the final minute to snatch West Ham a 2-1 victory on Saturday as Leeds’ winless Premier League start was extended to six matches.
Leeds led at the break through Raphinha but was punished again for failing to take its chances and, after Junior Firpo’s own-goal in the second half, Antonio fired in the Hammers’ last-minute winner.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side's inability to convert chances is threatening to undermine its second season back in the top flight and it slipped into the bottom three.
Leeds has equaled the club’s longest winless run from the beginning of a league campaign, set in 1935-36 and again in 1951-52.
West Ham began full of confidence after its impressive start to the season and threatened to sweep Leeds aside at the start of the first half. The Hammers have 11 points from six games.
Injuries and suspension forced Bielsa to hand center half Charlie Cresswell his Premier League debut and West Ham, led by Antonio, gave the 19-year-old’s game a rigorous examination.
Said Benrahma flashed an early shot wide and Antonio’s low angled drive was diverted by the slightest of touches from Illan Meslier.
Meslier was then forced into an even better flying save soon after to keep out another effort from Benrahma.
But Leeds steadily grew into the game and Stuart Dallas’ curling shot was superbly tipped over the crossbar by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
After being teed up by Mateusz Klich on the edge of the penalty area, Raphinha curled a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner to give Leeds a 19th-minute lead.
Raphinha hit a post from an identical position in the 35th, but West Ham finished the first period strongly.
Antonio just failed to get on the end of Benrahma’s far-post cross and, following a rare mistake by Kalvin Phillips, Meslier produced a brilliant block to deny Pablo Fornals in a one-on-one.
West Ham thought it had equalized early in the second half when Tomas Soucek turned the ball home from close range following a corner. But Antonio’s elbow had clearly caught Meslier in the face as the goalkeeper jumped to catch the ball and after VAR intervention, referee Kevin Friend ruled it out and booked the forward.
The visitors did level in the 67th, albeit in fortuitous circumstances when Jarrod Bowen’s cross was deflected in off Firpo.
Both sides went in search of the winner but it was West Ham which seized its chance as Declan Rice picked out Antonio with a fine pass and the Hammers striker kept his composure to fire home a low finish.
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