City defeat West Ham in wake of UCL ban

City defeat West Ham in wake of UCL ban

19/02/2020

Manchester City put their UEFA woes behind them with a 2-0 victory over West Ham on Wednesday night.

Rodri put City in front on 29 minutes before Kevin De Bruyne added a second on a night where the home fans made their feelings clear about the club's Champions League ban.

This was City's first match since it was announced that the reigning Premier League champions will be excluded from the Champions League for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns for breaking financial fair play regulations.

While some City fans sung anti-UEFA chants during the match and a "UEFA Cartel" banner was unfurled, Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on the issue before kickoff but did tell Sky Sports: "Now, focus on what we have to do. We just try to play our games.

"The first moment was impact but after a few hours we cannot control, we support the club 100%.

"They [the players] are exceptional professionals. I don't know [about the fans' reaction]. Hopefully they can help us from here until the end of the season. We have to play for the people here."

Guardiola's men started the match 25 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool and there were plenty of empty seats at the Etihad for a fixture that was re-arranged after the original was postponed due to extreme weather.

Gabriel Jesus should have put his side ahead after five minutes when he broke clear on goal, but after taking the ball round the goalkeeper he took too long to get his shot away and West Ham cleared the danger. The forward then passed up a similar opportunity moments later, much to the despair of the home crowd.

City eventually took the lead when De Bruyne's corner was flicked on by Rodri, whose header beat Lukasz Fabianski, although there were suggestions Aymeric Laporte got the final touch.

Sergio Aguero flashed a shot wide of Fabianski's goal in the second half before De Bruyne smashed a second on 62 minutes to make the game safe.

De Bruyne, speaking about City's Champions League ban, said after the game: "Obviously we were on holiday when the statement happened and we came back and just played football. The situation is what it is. We came back and trained like normal. For us nothing really changed.

"We still have a lot to play for with the two cups and Champions League so let's hope we can find rhythm as quickly as possible and win some titles."

Hammers' January signing Jarrod Bowen came on for the final 10 minutes but David Moyes' side, who had three shots on goal compared to City's 20, never looked like troubling the hosts. They remain in the bottom three, with a trip to leaders Liverpool next up.

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