Saturday, May 13, 2006

West Ham 3 Liverpool 3

Having never been in the lead in this game the poorer team robbed West Ham of the FA Cup by winning the penalty shoot out.

The first half was the Dean Ashton show. In the first 20 minutes both sides played cat and mouse, with neither side managing to create a clear cut chance. However on 21 minutes Ashton knocked a lovely ball inside the Liverpool defence to Scaloni on the right wing. Scaloni fired his cross in hard and low and Carragher, trying to stop the ball reaching Harewood, put the ball into his own net on the near post.

Seven minutes later Ashton flicked a header from a Benayoun cross onto Etherington. The winger then managed to avoid the attentions of three defenders to fire in a low shot from the edge of the box. Jose Reina spilled the ball and Ashton was there to fire in West Ham's second.

On 32 minutes Gerrard knocked a long cross, from deep, into the box. Cisse outpaced Ferdinand and Scaloni and fired his shot home to make it 2-1.

Straight from the break Ashton won the ball near the halfway line passed the ball inside the right back to Etherington. Etherington crossed for Harewood, who one-on-one with the keeper, fired straight at Reina. Benayoun was the first to the rebound, he beat one defender but also fired his shot straight at the keeper.

On 54 minutes Crouch headed back a cross to an on-rushing Gerrard who smashed the ball into the back of the net. Ten minutes later however Konchesky restored the lead. Konchesky flew down the left wing and his mishit cross floated over a despairing Reina.

With the game seemingly won, on 90 minutes Gerrard received the ball about 30 yards out and fired an astonishing shot past Hislop to take the game into extra-time.

The best chance in extra-time came seconds before the final whistle. Reo-Coker won a header which Reina just managed to divert against the post. The ball fell to an injured Harewood who mishit his shot to miss an open game.

With West Ham's penalty record there was only going to be one winner of the penalty shoot out, so the better team lost.


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