West Ham’s comeback seals Leeds’ fate of relegation

    Leeds were on the brink of relegation from the Premier League after their mandatory win against West Ham ended in a 3-1 defeat.

    Sam Allardyce’s rescue mission came to a head after goals from Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini robbed them of victory, their new manager admitting they needed a real chance to stay alive.

    Allardyce arrived at Elland Road as the last meeting with four games to go, but his first three matches yielded only two points.

    Leeds now need to beat Tottenham next weekend and hope the Bournemouth side, with nothing to play for, can do them an all-powerful favor at Everton.

    What’s more, if Leicester beat Newcastle on Monday night, the Whites would start the final day second from bottom.

    They also got off to a great start at the London Stadium, where Rodrigo quickly put them ahead.

    But Rice, named a West Ham player a year before kick-off – six years after he made his debut against Burnley – marked his last home game for the club by equalizing with his 15th goal in burgundy and blue.

    The Hammers, safe from relegation and looking forward to the European Conference League final, should have been easy pickings. They even came out with their children as mascots, giving a distinct ending to the season.

    But Bowen’s 12th goal of the season and a late strike by Lanzini saw them walk out of the London Stadium with only their second win in six matches, leaving Leeds in deep, deep trouble.

    However, Leeds deservedly took the lead in the 17th minute, albeit thanks to a terrible defense.

    West Ham succumbed to a long-range shot at Brentford last weekend but clearly didn’t learn their lesson. Fiorentina, their European rival in Prague next month, should take note.

    This time, they somehow missed Weston McKenny’s throw to Rodrigo’s left boot, which hit the net from 10 yards for the first time.

    Moments later, however, Leeds lost Patrick Bamford to injury and with him went most of their attacking spark.

    The Hammers may have been falling behind, but in the 32nd minute they equalized with a delightful goal from Rice.

    Pablo Fornals, the hero of a goal at AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night, intercepted the ball over the Leeds defense for Bowen, whose shot on goal went sideways to the ground and hit the England midfielder’s net.

    Leeds should have taken the lead before the break, when Rodrigo robbed Kurt Zuma and hit the ball, but Wilfrid Gnonto, who replaced Bamford, landed an air strike before Jack Harrison hit wide.

    Allardyce’s reaction on the touchline as he raised his hands to the sky in desperation spoke for itself.

    Oddly enough, Leeds were a more passive side after the break, with goalkeeper Joel Robles having to parry a long-range shot from Lucas Paqueta and knock over Thomas Soucek’s head.

    They paid the price with 18 minutes left when Danny Ings came in for Bowen, who missed Robles.

    Then substitute Lanzini, another likely to leave West Ham in the summer, hid in Papata’s cut – despite a VAR check showing the Brazilian was offside – and sent Leeds into a stalemate that, seems to be an extremely costly defeat.

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