West Ham United 2, Chelsea 1: Crowd clashes taint Hammers’ EFL Cup fourth-round win over Blues
West Ham United 2,Chelsea 1
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic condemned the ugly clashes between rival fans that marred the closing stages of his team's pulsating EFL Cup fourth-round victory over Chelsea last night.
Goals in each half from midfielders Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes ended Chelsea's three-game winning run and earned the Hammers their own hat-trick of victories for the first time since March — plus a quarter-final tie at Manchester United.
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But pre-match fears of unrest were realised in the final moments of a contest that had previously stayed the right side of boisterous when some spectators appeared to rip up and hurl seats at opposing fans.
"I can say only that I noticed it but that I was concentrating on the game and telling Cresswell not to watch it but to watch the game," said Bilic.
"Whatever happened we are totally against it as a club and as a team. For those kind of things to happen especially in England is unacceptable."
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said he had been unaware of the skirmishes as his team chased a goal, which belatedly came in stoppage time from Gary Cahill.
"I didn't see the situation because we were playing, but I know that I don't like this type of situation because it's important to see always the right atmosphere," said Conte.
"In England we are used to see always the right atmosphere and it's right to maintain this because this country is fantastic on this aspect."
West Ham, who made just two changes from the weekend to Chelsea's seven, started with greater fluency and took the lead after just 11 minutes when Kouyate leapt higher than John Terry to meet Mark Noble's cross.
Hammers utility man Michail Antonio was causing mischief as a striker, firing just wide on the turn and then setting up Manuel Lanzini to miss, while N'Golo Kante carried Chelsea's early threat, rifling at Darren Randolph and then wasting another shooting chance.
Asmir Begovic pawed away Dimitri Payet's free-kick and a Pedro Obiang piledriver, and the Blues should have equalised just before half-time when Michy Batshuayi failed to keep down his finish from Oscar's cross and the Brazilian poked wide.
They paid for that mistake less than three minutes into the second half when summer signing Fernandes drilled into the bottom-left corner from 20 yards for his first West Ham goal just seconds after Begovic had rushed off his line to deny Payet.
Chelsea improved when Conte threw on Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, the latter pulling back for Willian to scuff wide, but Andre Ayew and Paet could have added a third for West Ham before Cahill bundled in for the visitors with almost the last kick.