Payet's wonder goal stuns Middlesbrough

The Hammers have largely failed to sell the new 'matchday' experience at the London Stadium.

Published: 02nd October 2016 02:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd October 2016 06:35 PM   |  A+A-

By The Sunday Telegraph

It does not matter how much popcorn is sold or how loud the pre-match music is played, the only thing that will bring West Ham's ill-fitting new home to life is some magic on the pitch - and it duly arrived from the boots of Dimitri Payet.

The Hammers have largely failed to sell the new 'matchday' experience at the London Stadium to their fans, but the old Upton Park regulars will find it hard to stay away if there is the promise of some Payet brilliance.

With West Ham losing and the atmosphere once again threatening to turn decidedly ugly, Payet scored an early contender for goal of the season with a run and shot that will be written into the history books of the club's second home. His wonder goal, which manager Slaven Bilic claimed was worthy of Lionel Messi, was not enough to help the Hammers on their way to all three points, but did at least stop a run of four successive league defeats.

"It was a brilliant individual goal that brought us back into the game," said Bilic. "I don't see many players scoring this kind of goal. You have free-kicks, screamers, scissor-kicks, but this goal reminded me of Messi's goals. It was a brilliant moment of magic.

"But we can't rely on him doing that every week. He did that because he has that quality, it's one of the reasons why he is one of the best players in Europe. But we can't rely on him doing that - we need quality from other players."

The visitors took the lead six minutes after the break. A ball over the top sent Jordan Rhodes away, but Adrian was out quickly to deflect the striker's shot out for a corner. From the set-piece, Viktor Fischer found Cristhian Stuani and Mark Noble was unable to prevent his header from crossing the line.

West Ham needed a piece of divine intervention and it came courtesy of Payet in the 57th minute, who single-handedly dragged his side level and brought the London Stadium to life.

There was no obvious danger when Payet picked the ball up on the left, but he wriggled his way around Antonio Barragan and beat five Boro players before squeezing the ball home.


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