By UPI |

West Ham shocks Chelsea in Premier League soccer comeback

Christian Pulisic (22) and Chelsea are now in danger of missing the 2020-2021 Champions League after they lost to West Ham Wednesday in London. Pool Photo by Michael Regan/EPA-EFE

July 2 (UPI) -- West Ham United shocked Christian Pulisic and Chelsea with a second-half comeback for a Premier League victory in London.


The Blues led 1-0 before the Hammers equalized in first-half stoppage time Wednesday at London Stadium. The Hammers took the lead in the 51st minute before Willian equalized with his second goal for Chelsea. Andriy Yarmolenko then gave West Ham a 3-2 victory with the game-winner in the 89th minute.

"We made mistakes in the build-up to the goals, not just defenders, which cost us the game," Blues manager Frank Lampard told reporters. "I would not call it a wake a call, because every game is different."

The loss puts Chelsea in danger of missing the 2020-2021 Champions League, an annual all-star tournament that includes the top teams from each of Europe's soccer leagues.

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Third-place Leicester City also lost Wednesday and Chelsea remains in fourth place in the Premier League. The Blues' missed three points mean they are now just two points ahead of fifth-place Manchester United and sixth-place Wolves. Teams that finish in the Top-4 for the league are eligible for the Champions League. The Top-5 teams -- other than Manchester City -- will be eligible this season because the Sky Blues are banned from the Champions League for the next two seasons.

Tomas Soucek appeared to put the Hammers ahead in the 34th minute but the goal was disallowed after video assistant referee (VAR) review. Pulisic then earned a penalty kick for Chelsea when he was taken down in the box in the 41st minute.

Willian stepped up and netted the penalty attempt to give the Blues a 1-0 edge. Soucek equalized just before the halftime whistle when he headed in a corner kick service from fellow forward Jarrod Bowen.

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Bowen helped put the Hammers ahead in the 51st minute when he assisted a second goal. Bowen sent a short pass through a crowded box during that sequence before Michail Antonio netted a one-touch shot past Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Willian equalized for Chelsea in the 72nd minute. Pulisic was again taken down by the Hammers to set up that Willian score. The United States soccer star fell just before he reached the box. Willian then stepped up and hit a free kick off the right post and into the net.

West Ham used a defensive clearance to race into transition and set up their game-winner. The Hammers stopped a Blues attack in the 89th minute and played the ball up to midfield during that sequence. Antonio completed a give-and-go pass before he played the ball ahead for Andriy Yarmolenko. Yarmolenko then side-stepped a defender before he blasted a shot into the left side of the net.

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"For myself as a defender, to concede three goals is very frustrating and disappointing and it hurts," Chelsea right back Cesar Azpilicueta said.

"I cannot wait to go back to work and train, to play the next game because I feel personally very bad and very frustrated. I want to get to the next game as soon as possible to address it."

The win moved West Ham away from the relegation zone in the Premier League. The last-place team in European soccer leagues gets sent to a lower-tier league at the end of each season. The Hammers are now in the No. 16 spot in the 20-team league.

"I think we won against a very good team and we are very happy," Soucek said. "We've trained very hard and we are happy. We now need to get more points in our coming games."

The Blues battle Watford at 3 p.m. EDT Saturday at Stamford Bridge in London. The Hammers face Newcastle at 9:15 a.m. EDT Sunday at St. James' Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.