West Ham, Middlesbrough earn first wins in Premier League
The first Premier League game staged at the centerpiece stadium of the London Olympics in 2012 served up some late drama Sunday, with new tenant West Ham scoring in the 85th minute to earn a 1-0 win over 10-man Bournemouth.
Track-and-field stars like Usain Bolt and David Rudisha produced some amazing memories at the Olympic Stadium—now known simply as London Stadium—four years ago, but this match was forgettable until a flurry of incidents in the latter stages.
Bournemouth was left a man short by Harry Arter's sending-off in the 77th, and West Ham took advantage when winger Michail Antonio met an inviting left-wing cross by Gokhan Tore with a header at the far post.
"I did say to him two minutes before the goal, 'Go and be a hero,'" West Ham captain Mark Noble said about Antonio. "He went, and was one."
West Ham then needed a reaction save from goalkeeper Adrian followed by a clearance from near the goal-line to preserve its first league win at the team's new home. Having waved an emotional goodbye to Upton Park last season after 112 years there, West Ham is in the first year of the club's tenancy at the London Stadium and will take time to get used to the new surroundings.
Decimated by injuries to many of its key players, including Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and new record signing Andre Ayew, West Ham also had to cope with a tough week that saw them play Chelsea on Monday—losing 2-1 to a late goal—and then travel to Romania for a Europa League qualifier on Thursday. The threadbare squad returned to London in the early hours of Friday.
"It wasn't a great game of football," West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said. "We didn't expect to play like Brazil."
Bournemouth has lost both of its games in the league so far, having opened with a 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United.
Sunderland, and its new manager David Moyes, is also looking for its first point after a 2-1 loss to northeast rival Middlesbrough in the other game Sunday.
Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani scored both of Middlesbrough's first-half goals, the first a 25-meter screamer into the top corner in the 13th before finishing off a flowing team move in the 45th.
Patrick van Aanholt pulled a goal back in the 71st for Sunderland.