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West Ham 2 Bournemouth 0: Watch Zouma’s ‘volleyball’ opener as VAR lets goal stand after calls for handball in build-up

KURT ZOUMA scored his first goal since THAT shameful cat-kicking video as West Ham benefited from two PURR-fect VAR calls.

In the summer, the controversial Frenchman was sentenced to 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to kicking and slapping a fragile feline in a social-media post that went viral.

Kurt Zouma nodded in a fortuitous goal to put West Ham into the lead
Zouma scored a dubious goal which had Bournemouth players incredulous
The opener was contentious as West Ham defender Thilo Kehrer appeared to handle the ball
Kehrer seemed to suggest the ball hit his chest – Bournemouth disagreed

Though he stole the headlines last night for the right reasons, the Hammers defender had a nervous wait to find out if his goal against Bournemouth would stand – as the visitors complained about a ‘volleyball-style’ handball in the build-up.

But having recently chastened Stockley Park officials – he said they should have gone to Specsavers – boss David Moyes was grateful they did not cave into the Cherries protestations.

The usually-beleaguered men in front of the TV screens rightly agreed with the on-field decision by referee David Coote – and even gave West Ham a late spot-kick for handball.

This hard-fought result means West Ham lie in tenth place now, having risen SEVEN places in a congested table.

And reaching their highest position in this stop-start campaign will ease any anxieties there may have been about their previous close proximity to the bottom three.

Under the tutelage of interim boss Gary O’Neil – who played in midfield in West Ham’s promotion-winning season a decade ago – Bournemouth have become a hard side to defeat.

It is all a far cry from the 9-0 annihilation at Liverpool – a record Prem loss – in late August which left Scott Parker’s job untenable.

Since coming in, O’Neill has witnessed three Premier League managers get sacked, two Monarchs sit on the Buckingham Palace throne and three Prime Ministers take up office.


What O’Neill has done impressively in his time in the South Coast hot seat is tighten up a leaky defence, particularly on their travels.

It was clear from the beginning that Bournemouth came here with the sole purpose to counter-attack and frustrate the opposition front line.

And until he came off with an injury, their centre forward Dominic Solanke had two chances to score on the break for the visitors but was both times stopped by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Down the other end, two brilliant saves in three first-half minutes from Brazilian goalkeeper Neto thwarted the claret-and-blue troops.

One was a fine fingertip save to turn over a thunderous strike from Aaron Cresswell.

The next was a solid block from Tomas Soucek from close range even though Gianluca Scamacca was flagged offside in the build-up.

The West Ham opener arrived shortly before half-time – to great relief around the London Stadium – but Bournemouth stars marched straight to the ref because the Jarrod Bowen corner struck the hands of Thilo Kehrer.

In the midst of the pinball shenanigans in the Bournemouth box it was Zouma who applied the final touch.

Said Benrahma wrapped up the points from the penalty spot
The goal was no more than Benrahma deserved for an energetic performance
VAR was needed for the second goal too as West Ham bagged the three points

And once VAR correctly ruled in West Ham’s favour – it was not deliberate and did not lead directly to the goal – the French defender celebrated for the first time since scoring against Liverpool in November 2021.

While the poor cat felt the full force of his boot, ten of his 11 Prem goals have now come via his head.

O’Neil was furious and received a yellow card during the break when he told Coote: “That’s a handball, that’s a fact.”

For the second half, Neto did not reappear, having pulled a muscle in his right leg in innocuous fashion as he hoofed upfield a clearance.

In his place came Mark Travers – his last appearance was THAT Anfield mauling – and he was tested on the hour mark by Declan Rice’s chested volley from distance.

Bournemouth made some subs in the second half and gave the home side a few scares with some forays forward.

But Bournemouth substitute Jordan Zemura had his head in his hands when a penalty was awarded against him for handball in stoppage-time from a Vladimir Coufal cross following VAR intervention.

Said Benrahma, who took over the duties from Bowen, did not miss from 12 yards as Moyes’s team won for the fifth time at home in all competitions, a record since the days they used to play at Upton Park.

Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neill was fuming at both goals been given against his team
David Moyes was delighted with his side’s performance in a solid home win

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