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West Ham United's Michail Antonio heads at goal in the match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, Newcastle, August 15 2021. Picture: REUTERS/SCOTT HEPPELL
West Ham United's Michail Antonio heads at goal in the match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, Newcastle, August 15 2021. Picture: REUTERS/SCOTT HEPPELL

Newcastle — West Ham United forward Michail Antonio missed a penalty before scoring with a thundering shot as the Londoners came from behind to outclass Newcastle United 4-2 in a breathless Premier League season opener at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Antonio collected Said Benrahma’s neat pass and blasted one past Freddie Woodman to make it 4-2, shortly after the debutant goalkeeper palmed away the forward’s poor spot kick only for Tomas Soucek to pounce on the rebound to put West Ham ahead.

Antonio’s strike made him West Ham’s joint-top scorer in the Premier League alongside Italian Paolo Di Canio on 47 goals and he nearly added to his tally only to be denied by the post.

“Not bad for a right-back,” Antonio, who has played in a number of positions including in defence before establishing himself as West Ham’s main striker, told Sky Sports.

“I had a couple of opportunities before that I didn’t take but getting a goal in the first game starts the season off for me and hopefully I can keep going and keep scoring more.”

Benrahma had earlier made it 2-2 with a header to put West Ham on course for a victory which seemed unlikely after they had conceded in the fifth minute to Callum Wilson.

The Newcastle striker came into the contest having netted eight goals in 10 top-flight matches against West Ham, and he did not take long to spark celebrations as he nodded in Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross.

Boyhood Newcastle fan Jacob Murphy guided his header into the goal from Matt Ritchie’s pinpoint cross to make it 2-1 after West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell had levelled the scores in the 18th minute with a fizzing cross that found its way in.

But Murphy went from hero to villain later in the game as he fouled Pablo Fornals to concede the penalty that led to West Ham’s revival.

“We showed our ability last year,” Antonio said of West Ham’s sixth-placed finish in the 2020-21 campaign. “We showed we have the resilience and we always believe in ourselves that we can come back and score goals. We’re never beaten, we’ll always fight back and keep going.”

Reuters

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