Saturday 29 October 2016

Bilic in red rage as Hammers held

West Ham 2-2 Crystal Palace

Andy Sims

Published 03/04/2016 | 02:30

Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United is shown a controversial red card by referee Mark Clattenburg. Photo: Getty
Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United is shown a controversial red card by referee Mark Clattenburg. Photo: Getty
The Crystal Palace wall prepares to jump to block West Ham United's French midfielder Dimitri Payet's freekick but cannot prevent him scoring another stunning set goal. Photo: Getty
Dwight Gayle of Crystal Palace scores his team's equaliser. Photo: Getty
West Ham United's Croatian manager Slaven Bilic gestures from the touchline. Photo: Getty

Slaven Bilic criticised the decision to send off Cheikhou Kouyate after West Ham dropped two more points in their chase for a Champions League spot. The Hammers were leading Crystal Palace through a stunning free-kick from Dimitri Payet when Kouyate was shown a red card by referee Mark Clattenburg for a challenge on Dwight Gayle. The 10 men could only hold on for eight minutes before Gayle lashed in an equaliser.

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Even Bilic's opposite number Alan Pardew admitted the decision looked "harsh". "We have every right to be very disappointed," fumed Bilic. "It had a huge impact. It is simply never a red card. It is not even a yellow card. In England maybe it's not even a foul."

The incident overshadowed a sublime set-piece from man of the moment Payet, who followed up his strikes at Manchester United and for France, against Russia, with another piece of magic.

Damien Delaney's early header, courtesy of a goalkeeping error from Adrian, had been quickly cancelled out by Manuel Lanzini when Joel Ward chopped down Payet. Pardew had warned his side not to concede free-kicks within 30 yards of goal, and looked resigned to his fate as Payet weighed up his options.

Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey left plenty of room to his right, expecting Payet to reprise his spectacular recent efforts. However, as Hennessey began to move right Payet - rather than lift the ball over the seven-man wall - calmly curled the ball around it and into the opposite corner.

However, after Kouyate's dismissal substitute Gayle latched onto Winston Reid's fluffed clearance and tucked in his first Premier League goal of the season.

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