West Ham United beat Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday, as Diafra Sakho’s late goal was the difference at Upton Park.
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The Hammers huffed and puffed throughout the match in a tedious affair in east London between two teams battling to find form, as new Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat tasted defeat in his first game in charge as a Premier League manager with Sakho popping up in the 88th minute to send the home fans at Upton Park wild. Jermain Defoe squandered a great chance early on for the Black Cats, as they lost for the third-straight game.
With the victory the Hammers move up to ninth and reach 40 points with their first win in eight, while Sunderland remain one point and one place above the relegation zone.
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Sunderland started brightly as Defoe twice got in and in the 15th minute a flick on from Steven Fletcher found the former West Ham striker who lost his composure at the crucial moment at lashed wide.
West Ham improved as the first half wore on as Sakho headed just wide with Sam Allardyce urging his side to attack. A nervy first half played out, as you would expect between two teams struggling for wins, but Costel Pantilimon did make a good save from Alex Song.
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In the 52nd minute Sakho again went close with a header as Aaron Cresswell whipped in a delightful cross from the left. West Ham then had a great chance but Kevin Nolan looked to be hauled down by Santiago Vergini when clean through… but the Hammers skipper was already flagged for being offside in a moment of real controversy.
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Late on both teams had good chances to snatch all three points with Patrick van Aanholt hitting a dipping, swerving shot from distance which Adrian tipped wide.
In the 88th minute the game winning moment arrived as Nene challenged for a ball and it dropped to Mark Noble who dinked it into Sakho to drill home a composed finish. Bubbles were blowing everywhere at Upton Park, as Advocaat was given a rude awakening to life in the Premier League.
West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell, Song, Noble, Nolan (Nene, 80′), Jarvis (Cole,45′), Downing, Sakho (O’Brien, 90+2′)
Goal: Sakho (88′)
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Reveillere, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Brown (Vergini, 12′), Larsson, Gomez, Rodwell, Defoe (Graham, 88′), Wickham, Fletcher (Johnson, 73′)