Mar 22, 2014, 3:28 PM EDT
Manchester United’s campaign to slip into Europe via sixth place is alive and well after beating West Ham 2-0 at Upton Park. A fantastic goal from Wayne Rooney opened the scoring, and with the forward adding another before the break, there was really nothing the hosts could do to close the gap.
Marouane Fellaini had a chance in the fourth minute, but who remembers that now? All previous memories were wiped away by Rooney’s spectacular goal in the seventh minute. The forward pushed past James Tomkins as the ball bounced favorably, allowing Rooney to hit his shot on the half-volley. From an impressive 57 yards out, the ball sailed across the pitch, flying passed West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, who was scrambling to get back between the sticks.
West Ham’s best chances of the half came from Andy Carroll. The forward first headed a free kick from Mark Noble just wide. Then came a cross from Stewart Downing, heading toward the back post. Carroll came flying in for the header but David De Gea was there to save.
The wasted opportunities came back to haunt the hosts in the 33rd minute. The West Ham defense made a mess out of clearing the ball, with Noble’s clearance falling directly at Rooney’s feet. His second goal wasn’t anywhere close as inviting as his first, but hey, they all count, right?
West Ham’s vital signs are weak. Manchester United have been popping the ball around them with relative ease in the second half. Stewart Downing wastes a chance to get at the visitors down the right, leaving the ball behind initially and them cuffing his cross too deep
Sam Allardyce attempted to liven things up by replacing Mohamed Diamé with wideman Matt Jarvis. The move helped little, only resulting in a tame effort from Jarvis, easily rescued by De Gea. By about the 65th minute, the West Ham manager was absolutely livid, unable to believe his players’ performance. The hosts had trouble stringing together passes, getting into decent positions and, of course, finding the target.
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Collins, Taylor (Nocerino 83), McCartney, Noble, Tomkins, Diame (Jarvis 58), Nolan (C. Cole 72), Downing, Carroll
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Carrick, Buttner; Mata (Welbeck 77), Fletcher, Fellaini, Young; Kagawa; Rooney (Hernández 77)
Subs: Evra, Lindegaard, Chicharito, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Januzaj
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