Crowd trouble mars West Ham victory over Chelsea

Crowd disturbances between rival fans marred the conclusion of West Ham’s EFL Cup fourth-round victory over Chelsea at London Stadium.

Plastic bottles and seats were thrown towards the end of the match as hundreds of fans were involved in ugly scenes.

The flash points were a blot on what had been an entertaining night on the pitch as a much-changed Chelsea side were beaten by a cohesive and intense West Ham.

A superb Cheikhou Kouyate header before the break and an 18-yard Edimilson Fernandes strike a few minutes into the second half secured West Ham’s place in the last eight and a tie against Manchester United, who beat Manchester City 1-0 in one of the evening’s other matches.

Gary Cahill swept home from close range in injury time, but it was only a consolation at the end of another difficult evening off the pitch for the Hammers.

Security was boosted for the high-risk derby and an alcohol ban imposed as part of a “robust policing plan” aimed at minimising crowd trouble, with West Ham’s new home dogged by disturbances this season.

Prior to the tie there had been nine arrests outside the stadium and 23 banning orders issued by West Ham in what has been a traumatic start to life in the former Olympic Stadium.

The match, with Chelsea allocated more than 5,000 tickets, was the biggest test yet to the police and stewards but once again trouble stirred.

An ugly atmosphere seemed to have been brewing throughout the match and as the game neared the end, riot police were deployed to maintain order as home and away fans came together in a section of the stadium concourse.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said he did not notice the disturbance but added that the club was “totally against it”.

In a statement, West Ham said fans found to have “acted improperly” would be banned for life from attending West Ham games.

“West Ham United and London Stadium partners unreservedly condemn the behaviour of individuals involved in incidents during the fixture with Chelsea,” the statement read.

Chelsea made seven changes to the team that thrashed Manchester United 4-0 on Sunday and the most notable inclusion was that of captain John Terry, returning from injury to the centre of a three-man defence.

Terry had last played on 11 September and in his absence Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta have formed a backline that has registered three consecutive clean sheets in their most recent encounters.

Azpilicueta was moved to wing-back to make room for Terry and the former England international’s lack of match practice played a part in the visiting defence’s weakness.

Terry was beaten by Kouyate as the midfielder headed home for only his second goal of the season and the 35-year-old also played a part in the Hammers’ second as Fernandes threaded his strike through his legs on the way to goal.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte brought on his heavyweights – Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Pedro – with the second half in its infancy but they failed to spark a comeback.

Costa, put through by the bright Willian, who was making a return following compassionate leave, was one-on-one with Darren Randolph in the closing stages of the match but chipped the ball inches wide.

Chelsea had their chances – Nathaniel Chalobah’s first-half effort was tipped over the crossbar by Randolph and N’Golo Kante also went close – but West Ham were deserved winners.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said his team were “buzzing again” after back-to-back victories in the league following a shaky start to the season and against their London rivals they played like a team now at home in their surroundings.

“It was a good game of football, it deserves to be talked about. I can’t say we were perfect but we had a plan and the guys executed it in a great way. We were good in defending as a unit,” said Bilic.

West Ham will aim to make it four successive victories as they take on Everton at Goodison Park in the league on Sunday. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is likely to make changes for his team’s league trip to Southampton, also on Sunday.

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