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Sweet FA for Liverpool as Cup dream sours

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Angelo Ogbonna headed home a winning goal in the dying minutes of extra time to give West Ham a dramatic 2-1 victory over Liverpool in their FA Cup fourth round replay on Tuesday night, UK time.

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Ogbonna’s strike in the 121st minute at Upton Park earned West Ham a last-16 match at Championship team Blackburn Rovers.

“It is a special night for our club and I’m so proud and happy for our players and proud of everyone who has any connection with the club,” manager Slaven Bilic said after West Ham’s first-ever FA Cup win against Liverpool.

“We scored a great header in the last second of the game, and we had injuries, and we overcame all of that. So that’s why this game will go down in the history as one of the greatest nights and games for our club.”

Tomorrow when we get up the sun will shine

West Ham opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime when Ecuador striker Enner Valencia sent a ball across the Liverpool goal that was met with a volley by winger Michail Antonio.

Liverpool equalised from a free kick in the 48th minute after Pedro Obiang brought down striker Christian Benteke on the edge of the area.

Philippe Coutinho drove the ball low and hard under the wall to score, but the match remained deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes. It then looked destined for a penalty shootout until Italy international Ogbonna grabbed the winner, meeting Dmitry Payet’s curling free kick with a powerful header.

Liverpool had earlier been fortunate that a tug on Valencia by Tiago Ilori in the penalty box was ignored by referee Roger East in the 66th minute.

But they were less lucky with the performance of Benteke, who squandered a series of chances, either by missing the target or seeing his goal-bound efforts saved by West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph, who was in fine form.

Liverpool fielded a much-changed team from the side that drew 2-2 with Sunderland in the Premier League on Sunday, but started off on the front foot, showing plenty of attacking intent.

Randolph made a couple of smart first-half saves from Benteke, while Brazilian midfielder Coutinho hit the post.

But the hosts gradually grew into the match, with France International midfielder Payet hitting the post from a free kick and right back Joey O’Brien going close, before Antonio opened the scoring.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was back at the helm after missing Saturday’s Premier League match because of appendicitis.

“Tomorrow when we get up the sun will shine and if we feel all at one at Liverpool then we can take a lot of positives from this game and make the next step,” he said after a game that saw the return of England striker Daniel Sturridge, who has been sidelined since December.

West Ham, who are three places above Liverpool in the Premier League standings, had already completed their first league double over the Merseyside club since the 1963/64 season.

-Jonathan Shenfield, AP

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