West Ham 3-0 Fulham: Hammers heap more misery on Jol after emphatic win (video)

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You could hear the huge sigh of relief around Upton Park on Saturday, as West Ham United clinched their first home win since the opening day of the season with a resounding 3-0 victory against Fulham.

An even first half saw both teams battling for their lives but just after the break West Ham went ahead as Mohamed Diame’s deflected effort sent Marteen Stekelenburg the wrong way. Fulham tried to get back into the game but two goals in the final 10 minutes from substitutes Carlton Cole and Joe Cole sealed the win for the Hammers and condemned Fulham to their sixth straight loss in all competitions.

This latest defeat could spark the end of Martin Jol’s time in charge of the Cottagers, as Fulham remain in the drop zone on 10 points and are now three points adrift of safety. West Ham move up to 15th with the win and have 13 points from their 13 game so far.

The Hammers started the game well and put Fulham on the back foot as a raucous home crowd saw their side dominate possession.

Adel Taarabt went on a jinxing run from inside his own half after five minutes and Darren Bent almost got in on goal for the Cottagers who looked content to attack on the break.

West Ham came extremely close to taking the lead after 10 minutes as Mark Noble’s cross found Modibo Maiga who saw his header deflected onto the post and out to safety. Then in the 18th minute another good cross from the right found James Collins unmarked in the six-yard box but the West Ham defender headed wide.

Wave after wave of West Ham attack then piled forward as left-footed winger Stewart Downing cut in from the right and drilled a low shot on target that Stekelenburg saved well. For the rest of the first half a battle ensued as both struggling sides looked to gain an advantage by winning the midfield battle. That resulted in five yellow cards being brandished as passion, commitment and late challenges ruled the rose.

Just before the break came another golden chance for the Hammers as Matt Jarvis found Kevin Nolan with a delightfully chipped pass to the back post and the West Ham skipper swiveled and acrobatically smashed a volley in on goal that Stekelenburg saved.

source: Getty Images
Joe Cole jumped off the bench to seal the win as West Ham impressed in the second half.

After the break it took just over a minute for West Ham to take a 1-0 lead as Diame scored his first goal since April as his effort on goal was horribly deflected by Fernando Amorebieta and into the back of Fulham’s net. Those are the type of things that happen to you when you’re down the bottom as Jol’s side will bemoan their bad luck.

But that goal sparked Fulham into life and Patjim Kasami almost got in around the back after Bent’s knock down found the Macedonian who spurned the chance to put the Cottagers level.

West Ham had a good chance to make it 2-0 but Downing smashed his effort instead of going for placement and a barrage of corners midway through the second half saw the home side push for an all-important second goal. But Fulham almost caught the home side napping as a sloppy giveaway allowed Kasami to send a snapshot towards goal which flew inches past Jussi Jasskelainen’s left post.

Two late goals sealed the win as Sam Allardyce’s substitutes worked their magic as the two Cole’s both grabbed a goal.

In the 82nd minute Carlton Cole stabbed in at the back post after Downing’s great cross after the big striker had only been on the pitch for 55 seconds. Cole’s fellow sub, Joe Cole, then finished off the scoring as he tucked away the Hammers third goal following great work from another second half sub Ravel Morrison.

West Ham had only scored nine goals all season before this match but banged in three when it mattered to condemn the Cottagers to yet another demoralizing defeat.

LINEUPS

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Nolan (Morrison, 77), Tomkins, Jarvis (Jarvis, 68), Maiga (Cole, 81), Noble, Collins, Demel, Diame, Downing

Goals: Diame (46), C. Cole (82), J. Cole (86)

Fulham: Stekelenburg; Zverotic, Hughes, Amorebieta, Richardson (Dembele, 83); Duff (Ruiz, 65), Sidwell (Karagounis, 78), Parker, Kasami; Taarabt; Bent

Mourinho: League Cup “important to” Man Utd, but asks if it’s necessary?

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Marcus Rashford‘s heroics helped Manchester United cruise past visiting Burton Albion, 4-1, in a League Cup third round match at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Mourinho said the League Cup is important to Manchester United because it’s an official tournament, and United wants to win everything it can as a club.

[ WATCH: Rashford’s sensational second ]

Yet he stopped short of endorsing the Cup’s long-term future, a tournament which his side won last season but is perhaps the major obstacle towards the Premier League joining other European leagues with winter breaks. From ManUtd.com:

“If the competition is an official competition then it is important for Manchester United and for me as a manager. If you ask me could the English football survive or even be better without this competition? Maybe, maybe we would be fresher for European competition for example. But we have this competition, we have to respect the sponsors, we have to respect the opponents and a lot of us are trying to do our best.”

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap | La Liga | Serie A ]

United drew a trip to Swansea for the fourth round, and is certainly among the favorites to win the whole thing with their solid depth (See their Starting XI below).

Would you miss the League Cup if it went away?

Serie A: Mertens scores unreal goal; Napoli, Milan, Juve win (video)

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
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It’s early but signs of an actual title race in Italy are truly delightful.

Juventus and Napoli remain perfect, with the latter above the former in the Serie A table this early season following Wednesday wins.

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap | La Liga | League Cup ]

Roma and Atalanta posted blowout wins, while AC Milan won a day after their Milanese rivals Inter needed a 77th minute penalty to draw at Bologna.

Lazio 1-4 Napoli

There were five goals in this one, but the only one you need to witness comes on this unreal shot from an odd angle by the world’s top under-appreciated scorer: Dries Mertens.

Juventus 1-0 Fiorentina

Mario Mandzukic scored the lone goal as The Old Lady slipped further behind Napoli in goal difference.

AC Milan 2-0 SPAL

I Rossoneri scored on a penalty in each half, with new boys Ricardo Rodriguez and Franck Kessie converting the chances.

Benevento 0-4 Roma

Edin Dzeko buried a pair of goals and the hosts gifted i Lupi a pair of own goals.

Elsewhere
Bologna 1-1 Inter Milan — Tuesday
Cagliari 0-1 Sassuolo
Genoa 1-1 Chievo
Verona 0-0 Sampdoria
Udinese 2-3 Torino

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Napoli 5 5 0 0 19 3 16 2-0-0 3-0-0 15
 Juventus 5 5 0 0 14 3 11 3-0-0 2-0-0 15
 Inter Milan 5 4 1 0 11 2 9 2-0-0 2-1-0 13
 AC Milan 5 4 0 1 10 6 4 3-0-0 1-0-1 12
 Torino 5 3 2 0 10 5 5 1-1-0 2-1-0 11
 Lazio 5 3 1 1 10 8 2 1-1-1 2-0-0 10
 Roma 4 3 0 1 9 3 6 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
 Sampdoria 4 2 2 0 6 4 2 1-0-0 1-2-0 8
 Atalanta 5 2 1 2 9 7 2 2-0-1 0-1-1 7
 Fiorentina 5 2 0 3 8 7 1 1-0-1 1-0-2 6
 Cagliari 5 2 0 3 4 6 -2 1-0-1 1-0-2 6
 Chievo 5 1 2 2 5 8 -3 0-1-1 1-1-1 5
 Bologna 5 1 2 2 4 7 -3 0-2-1 1-0-1 5
 SPAL 5 1 1 3 3 8 -5 1-0-1 0-1-2 4
 Sassuolo 5 1 1 3 3 8 -5 0-1-1 1-0-2 4
 Udinese 5 1 0 4 7 10 -3 1-0-2 0-0-2 3
 Genoa 5 0 2 3 5 9 -4 0-1-2 0-1-1 2
 Verona 5 0 2 3 1 11 -10 0-1-2 0-1-1 2
 Crotone 5 0 1 4 1 11 -10 0-1-2 0-0-2 1
 Benevento 5 0 0 5 1 14 -13 0-0-3 0-0-2 0

History denied! Real Madrid loses, fails in bid to beat Pele-led record (video)

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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Real Madrid did everything but score, and now find themselves denied a chance at unparalleled history and in a relatively deep early hole in La Liga’s table.

A stoppage time loss to visiting Real Betis ended the club’s 73-match run of matches with a goal, and it came on the day it could’ve passed Pele’s Santos for sole possession of the longest scoring streak in history.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores 10th BVB goal ]

Perhaps more important, Madrid now sits seven points back of first place Barcelona. Their eight points leave them sixth.

Real Madrid 0-1 Real Betis

The hosts looked so good, and so fluid… and provided any number of finishes which would’ve been goals on another day. Unfortunately for them, the only goal came from Paraguay’s Antonio Sanabria in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time.

That’s because Real Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan was sensational, including a stunning stop on Gareth Bale‘s backheeled volley in the final quarter hour.

It could’ve gone worse for Madrid, as Mexico’s Andres Guardado had an assist called back for offside.

Before that, there was this from one of the best in history:

Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco helped the visitors go second in La Liga, as ex-Atleti midfielder Raul Garcia provided Athletic’s only goal deep into stoppage time.

Elsewhere
Leganes 0-0 Girona
Deportivo de la Coruna 1-0 Alaves
Sevilla 1-0 Las Palmas

League Cup draw: Spurs host Hammers; Everton off to Chelsea

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Sixteen teams are five wins from a berth in the Europa League following the fourth round draw for the League Cup.

Eleven of the 16 belong to the Premier League, leaving Leeds United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Norwich City, Bristol City, and Middlesbrough to dream of dream runs to Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores 10th BVB goal ]

There are only a trio of all-Premier League ties in the bunch, including a high-profile London clash between Spurs and West Ham.

Chelsea will host Everton, while Manchester United heads to Wales for a date with Swansea City.

All-in-all, we could have quarterfinals without a single Cinderella story.

Full draw
Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United
Bristol City vs. Crystal Palace
Arsenal vs. Norwich City
Chelsea vs. Everton
Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough
Leicester City vs. Leeds United