Manchester City brave snowstorm in 2-1 home win over West Ham
Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan struck in the midst of a first-half snowstorm before a late goal from substitute Fernandinho proved enough to secure a 2-1 home victory over West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.
The win lifts City back up to second place and level on 29 points with leaders Chelsea, who host Manchester United in the late game. West Ham, who snatched an added-time consolation with a superb Manuel Lanzini strike, stay fourth on 23 points.
“It was a very difficult day because of the weather conditions but it is always difficult against this team,” City midfielder Rodri told the BBC. “We were lucky to get this first goal because in the first half we couldn’t play much. In the second we dominated and could have scored more.”
With thick snow falling for most of the opening half, City’s Riyad Mahrez had the ball in the net in the 16th minute after a superb finish but his effort was ruled out for offside.
City took the lead in the 33rd minute when Mahrez drove the ball across the goal and Gundogan was on hand to steer it home.
That marked the beginning of a spell of heavy pressure from the hosts and they could have gone 2-0 up four minutes later but Gabriel Jesus’s shot was cleared off the line by Ben Johnson.
Halftime saw the snowstorm abate and an army of ground staff cleared the pitch. West Ham then had another let-off when Aaron Cresswell made a goal-line clearance as City dominated.
It took the home side until the 90th minute to score again, however, as Jesus teed up fellow Brazilian Fernandinho to net three minutes after he came off the bench.
Having seen little to warm them up during the game, the West Ham fans finally had something to celebrate when Lanzini won the ball on the edge of the area and sent an unstoppable shot into the top right corner with the final kick of the game.
City coach Pep Guardiola paid tribute to the ground staff at the stadium before praising the performance of his players, who had a tough Champions League game against visiting Paris Saint Germain which they won 2-1 in midweek.
“Surprised with the amount of chances we created against them. We created a few. The first half was almost impossible to play. The game against PSG [Paris Saint Germain] was so demanding and the team gave a good performance,” he told the BBC.
“The chances we created … it could have been three or four,” he added.
Leicester City beat Watford 4-2 amid a heavy snowfall that reduced visibility and made playing conditions difficult at the King Power Stadium.
The match began in relatively clear conditions and Leicester took an early lead from a Watford error when William Troost-Ekong ducked under a long ball, allowing Leicester’s James Maddison to sneak in behind and beat keeper Daniel Bachmann.
Watford levelled 14 minutes later after Emmanuel Dennis was tripped in the box by Wilfred Ndidi, and Joshua King made no mistake in beating Kasper Schmeichel from the spot.
But as the snowfall got heavier, Jamie Vardy fired the home side ahead with two goals in eight minutes, both created by Maddison, first chipping the onrushing Bachmann before cleverly heading home from the near post at a corner kick.
A blanket of snow turned the lush green pitch white in the second half and as the visibility fell Dennis nicked the ball off a backtracking Timothy Castagne on the hour mark to go one-on-one with Schmeichel, making it 3-2 with a controlled finish.
However, Leicester restored their two-goal cushion minutes later when Harvey Barnes skipped forward on a counterattack and squared the ball for Ademola Lookman to tap into an empty net.
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