Emirates FA Cup
Old Trafford, Manchester, England
A late Anthony Martial strike denied West Ham a place in the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup.
The Frenchman struck seven minutes from time to level the scores after his compatriot Dimitri Payet brilliantly gave the Hammers the lead from a freekick.
Both sides started the game well but it was the hosts who had the first opportunity. In the third minute, a deflected Guillermo Varela cross fell kindly to Jesse Lingard on the volley, but his effort was dragged harmlessly wide.
Two minutes later, the visitors went close. Andy Carroll fed Emmanuel Emenike who did well to shrug off his man before firing just wide from a tight-angle.
In the ninth minute the visitors went close again. Aaron Cresswell crossed for the advancing Carroll, but the striker headed just over.
Eight minutes later the Hammers should have taken the lead. Payet found the overlapping Cresswell who picked out the unmarked Emenike, but the Nigerian’s header was straightforward for David De Gea.
After the break the hosts went close. In the 57th minute, an Ander Herrera freekick was saved at the near-post by Darren Randolph in the West Ham goal. A couple of minutes later, Herrera thought his side should have been awarded a penalty when his strike ricocheted into the arm of Winston Reid, but referee Martin Atkinson was unmoved.
On the hour mark, the hosts went close. Youngster Marcus Rashford received the ball in the penalty area, but just as he looked to put the hosts ahead, Randolph came out to smother his strike.
Four minutes later visitors thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Payet went down under a challenge from Marcos Rojo. There was contact from the Argentine, although it could be argued that the Frenchman made contact with the Argentine’s trailing leg. Martin Atkinson had a good hard look at the incident before waving play on, neither awarding the penalty or booking the Frenchman.
The match needed a moment of real quality and in the 68th minute it was West Ham’s Payet who produced it. After winning a freekick as a result of being brought down by Daley Blind, the former Marseille midfielder stepped up to sensationally curl the ball over the wall and past De Gea via the post.
The host’s response was a good one and a minute later they went close. Martial played a nice give-and-go with Rashford before the former Monaco man forced Randolph into a fine save. It wouldn’t have counted anyway as he was adjudged to be offside.
The hosts were knocking on the door and they finally made a breakthrough in the 83rd minute. Herrera did well to get to the byline before sending in a deep cross that was met by Martial on the volley from a tight-angle. The goal was marred by controversy due to substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger appearing to impede Randolph before the Frenchman slotted home. Regardless the goal stood.
The goal had given the hosts a new dimension and they went close to finding a winner when former West Ham midfielder Michael Carrick dragged an effort narrowly wide of the post in the 86th minute.
Four minutes later the visitors almost snatched a late winner. Michail Antonio beat two players before forcing De Gea into a great save. The Spaniard did well to get down and palm the former Nottingham Forest man’s effort behind.
Two minutes into injury time the Hammers thought they had won when Antonio put the ball into the back of the net, however, the linesman’s flag was already up.
That was the last action of the match as referee Martin Atkinson blew his whistle to bring the game to an end. The result meant that both sides will have to do it all again in a replay at the Boleyn Ground – with the victors going to Wembley for the semi-finals. The replay will be the Hammers’ final FA Cup game at Upton Park, and will no doubt be a memorable one.