Bilic: Win over Liverpool was a ‘special night’ for Hammers

Date published: Wednesday 10th February 2016 8:35

Slaven Bilic: Hands off Cresswell

Slaven Bilic: Hands off Cresswell

Slaven Bilic hailed a “special night” in West Ham’s history after the dramatic FA Cup win over Liverpool.

Angelo Ogbonna scored with a header in the last minute of extra time to secure a 2-1 victory and a fifth-round trip to Blackburn after a gruelling tie.

The Hammers were virtually on their last legs, having lost three players to injury and with at least two more limping through the final minutes.

But with the replay heading for a penalty shoot-out, centre-half Ogbonna was thrust into attack as a final throw of the dice and picked the perfect moment to head his first goal for the club.

“It was a special night,” said boss Bilic. “There’s no harm in saying that, it’s a special night for our club and I’m proud and happy.

“I know it’s only the last 16, but it’s against Liverpool, it’s the last cup game under the lights at Upton Park, and we scored in the last seconds.

“We had injuries and we overcame all of that. I think it will go down as one of the greatest games and greatest nights in the history of this club.”

The Hammers are, of course, leaving Upton Park at the end of the season but the famous old ground crackled with an atmosphere it will surely be impossible to recreate at the Olympic Stadium.

The match was worthy of the occasion, as well. Joey O’Brien and Dimitri Payet hit the woodwork for West Ham, Philippe Coutinho did the same for Liverpool, all in the first half.

Michail Antonio’s far-post volley separated the sides at the break, but just three minutes into the second half Coutinho drilled a cheeky free-kick under West Ham’s defensive wall to level.

Chances then came and went for both sides. Christian Benteke drove stright at Darren Randolph when clean through, and fit-again sub Daniel Sturridge fired narrowly over, while for the Hammers’ Enner Valencia’s header was just off target.

But with players from both sides starting to wonder which side to place their penalties, West Ham were awarded a soft free-kick for Lucas’ foul on Valencia.

Payet floated it in and Ogbonna crashed in a powerful header to send three sides of Upton Park into delirium.

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