AS David Moyes celebrated his sweet 16th… Jose Mourinho looked tired at 50.
The Hammers hung on for a precious derby win to boost their top-four bid.
Jose Mourinho faces a huge fight to deliver Champions League football to Tottenham[/caption]
It gave boss Moyes his first win over Jose Mourinho in 16 attempts.
As for the Special One, he was just missing that vital spark in his 50th League game in charge of Spurs.
While not impossible, he now faces a massive task to lead Tottenham to a top-four finish.
That is not the case for Moyes, whose in-form Irons are on a course for a shock Champions League spot.
Even more satisfying for their fans will be the prospect of finishing above Spurs for the first time in 13 years.
You have to go back to 2008 to when West Ham last finished above Tottenham in the table.
Ironically that was also the last season Spurs won a trophy – when they lifted the League Cup.
With Mourinho’s men having already booked their place in this year’s final – against Manchester City in April – you would not back against it happening again after this.
Mourinho’s first game in charge of Tottenham was a 3-2 win here before lockdown last season.
The Hammers’ two late goals provided a hint of what was to come in the reverse fixture between these sides in October when trailed 3-0 with 81 minutes played, the Hammers staged an astonishing late comeback to draw 3-3.
We nearly saw the same here – only this time it was Spurs who almost came back from 2-0 thanks to a Gareth Bale-inspired late rally.
But Tottenham came up short again, which is what we seem to have been saying a lot since Mourinho was appointed.
We will now see in the run-in whether the Portuguese still has any of the old magic left running through his veins.
Boy do Spurs need it after going so close to pulling off a late salvo here.
Had efforts from Bale and Son Heung-min hit the net and woodwork, it would have been a very different story.
But you cannot mask the poor defending which once again cost them dear.
With goalless draws between these two a rarity – only two in the last 20 years – you had the feeling this would not be a stalemate.
And so it proved as West Ham took just five minutes to open the scoring when Michail Antonio smashed in the rebound after Hugo Lloris had blocked his close-range touch from Jarrod Bowen’s wicked inswinging centre.
West Ham’s joy was in stark contrast to their London rivals[/caption]
Mourinho suffered another tough day at the office on Sunday[/caption]
The Hammers should have doubled their lead five minutes later but unselfish Jesse Lingard made a hash of a square pass to Antonio in the box – when he really ought to have taken the shot on goal on himself.
A thunderous opening became a blood and thunder opening when home midfielder Tomas Soucek’s face contained as much claret as his shirt after a nasty 15th minute clash of heads with Davinson Sanchez.
It resulted in him leaving the field for five minutes to get the wound above his eye stitched and patched up.
That was almost as painful as the injury Japhet Tanganga suffered on the half hour mark when Aaron Cresswell’s cross caught the Spurs defender in a part of the anatomy that brought tears to every man’s eyes.
A Cresswell corner then resulted in Craig Dawson having a point-blank header pushed over the bar by Lloris as the hosts looked to extend their advantage before the break.
Tottenham, for all of their possession in the first half, did not register their first shot on target until Erik Lamela’s effort from the edge of the box was saved by Lukasz Fabianski in the 42nd minute.
West Ham’s Polish keeper then got down well to turn a Harry Kane drive around the post before Eric Dier made a complete Horlicks of his header front the resulting corner.
Mourinho made a double substitution at half-time as he replaced Tanganga and Lamela with Matt Doherty and Bale.
But the pair did not even have time to touch the ball before Lloris was picking it out his net for a second time after being beaten by Lingard’s powerful shot – which was eventually given the thumbs-up by VAR Darren England after a check to see whether Pablo Fornals was interfering with play.
Dier tried to claim he was distracted – but if truth be known he appeared distracted all afternoon.
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Spurs to their credit, though, refused to roll over as Kane curled a free-kick just wide before Lucas Moura pulled one back with a near-post header from Bale’s 64th minute corner.
Just like in N17 in October, out of nothing it was suddenly game on with Kane flashing shot-cum-cross across the Hammers’ goalmouth.
The England captain then went agonisingly close for the visitors with a shot just wide of the target.
And the Hammers rode their luck in the closing stages as Bale smacked the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the box and Son Heung-min hit the post with a fluke effort as he blocked an attempted Vladimir Coufal clearance.
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