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Controversial Hernandez strike helps West Ham push Fulham closer to relegation trapdoor

Fulham failed to capitalise on an early lead as Claudio Ranieri’s side slumped to another Premier League loss.

West Ham celebrate Javier Hernandez's goal.
West Ham celebrate Javier Hernandez's goal.

JAVIER HERNANDEZ’S CONTROVERSIAL 50th Premier League goal helped West Ham to a come-from-behind 3-1 home win over embattled Fulham on Friday.

Ryan Babel opened his Cottagers account inside three minutes at the London Stadium but the struggling visitors failed to recover after Hernandez’s game-changing 29th-minute equaliser.

The Hammers striker’s goal-line handball went unnoticed and his side used the lucky lifeline as the springboard to a half-time advantage thanks to Issa Diop’s 40th-minute header.

Michail Antonio nodded home the third in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to ensure Claudio Ranieri’s side remain eight points adrift of safety.

West Ham United v Fulham - Premier League - London Stadium Fulham's Ryan Babel dejected after the game. Source: EMPICS Sport

Babel failed to convert a one-on-one 36 seconds into the match but did not wait long for redemption.

Pablo Zabaleta’s weak back-pass gifted away the first chance and he compounded the error by allowing Ryan Sessegnon to deliver the low cross for Babel’s first Premier League goal in 3000 days.

The equaliser came steeped in controversy. Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna won headers following Sergio Rico’s poor punch before Hernandez guided the ball in with his left hand.

West Ham cared little and scored from a second corner when Diop rose to emphatically meet Robert Snodgrass’ delivery.

Marko Arnautovic came on just after the hour before Manuel Lanzini, sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in June, stepped off the bench for his first appearance of the season.


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And, after hitting the upright with one attempt, it was the enigmatic Austria international who supplied the cross for winger Antonio to sew up a first victory in six outings for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Cardiff City v Watford - Premier League - Cardiff City Stadium Watford forward Gerard Deulofeu scored a hat-trick on Friday. Source: Simon Galloway

Elsewhere on Friday night, Cardiff City missed the opportunity to pull away from the Premier League relegation zone as a Gerard Deulofeu hat-trick inspired Watford to a 5-1 win in the Welsh capital on Friday.

Neil Warnock’s side could have moved up to 13th with a win – four points ahead of 18th-placed Southampton – but were undone by a trio of superb finishes from Watford’s Spanish forward and two more from Troy Deeney.

The Bluebirds – who scored a late consolation through Sol Bamba – were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty at 1-0 down, but they can scarcely have any complaints with the result after barely laying a glove on the Hornets over the 90 minutes.

The defeat brings a run of two consecutive wins to an end and means they could end the weekend in the drop zone if the Saints get a point against Arsenal on Sunday, while Javi Gracia’s side temporarily leapfrog Wolves into seventh.

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy and discuss the week’s biggest stories in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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