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Cardiff City 2-0 West Ham Utd

Filed: Saturday, 9th March 2019
By: Staff Writer

West Ham went down to relegation candidates Cardiff with barely a whimper in South Wales this afternoon.

The Hammers, without a win away from home in 2019 have been accused in the past of failing to show the necessary application and desire when facing perceived 'weaker' teams.

And that lack of professionalism was clear for all to see this afternoon as Manuel Pellegrini's half-hearted team fell to a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat against Neil Warnock's relegation-threatened side, who had conceded ten goals in their last three games scoring just once in reply.

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From the start, West Ham's lack of desire was patently obvious as Cardiff dominated the early exchanges. As a result it was no surprise when the home side were allowed to take the lead within four minutes.

A City attack on the right flank culminated in a low cross to the near post, where striker Junior Hoilett beat four defenders to the ball before turning it over the line, with Lukasz Fabianski a mere spectator.

Despite West Ham going on to control possession for the remainder of the half - United enjoyed 69 per cent of play in the opening 45 minutes - they did so without creating a single shot on target.

Indeed the Hammers' most notable contribution to the first half was a blatant dive by Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, who was rightly booked for his embarrassing attempt at simulation.

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Sadly West Ham proved to be no less devoid of ingenuity and creativity in the second half, in which they started just as poorly as they had the first. The only surprise was that it took an ebullient City seven minutes to add a second goal.

The goal arrived via a free kick, awarded against Issa Diop for a fairly minor foul on Hoilett (albeit one that left the journeyman striker wriggling on the ground in mock pain, not for the first or last time during the game).

A deep cross was nodded back across goal to where Spanish midfielder Víctor Camarasa slid in to toepoke the ball over the line, despite Fabianski's vain attempts to keep it out. (Initial hopes that the Spaniard had strayed offside were also soon dispelled, with Ryan Fredericks having played him onside.)

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With West Ham on the rocks, Cardiff then wasted three good chances within the space of two minutes to extend their lead even further.

Fortunately for United, Oumar Niasse fluffed his lines having walked through the entire West Ham defence unchallenged before Fabianski pulled off a fantastic double save to keep West Ham in the game.

The Hammers finally produced a shot on target in the 75th minute when substitute Marko Arnautovic, anonymous until that point swivelled inside the penalty shot and produced a good save from Neil Etheridge - the first and last he would have to make.

And that was about as good as it got for West Ham who remain ninth in the Premier League but saw their hopes of catching Watford and Wolves in order to secure a seventh-placed finish take a huge blow.

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West Ham Utd: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble (Antonio 58), Snodgrass, Lanzini (Nasri 58), Anderson (Arnautovic 46), Hernandez.

Subs not used: Adrian, Balbuena, Masuaku, Obiang.

Booked: Hernandez (36).

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett (Bacuna 62), Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Arter (Paterson 84), Murphy, Gunnarsson, Camarasa (Ralls 68), Niasse, Hoilett.

Subs not used: Smithies, Zohore, De Cordova-Reid, Harris.

Goals: Hoilett (4), Camarasa (52).

Booked: Arter, Morrison.

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 32,458

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