Dimitri Payet’s magnificent strike stunned Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. Anthony Martial rescued United with his late equalizer in the FA Cup quarterfinals. The winners of the replay at Upton Park will now move on to the semifinals at Wembley.
Payet’s curving free-kick deceived David De Gea to give the Hammers the lead in the 68th minute. Another early exit threatened Louis Van Gaal’s men in this season. Van Gaal introduced Bastian Schweinsteiger for the struggling Marouane Fellaini in the midfield and that changed the course of the game. Martial, the £36m purchase this summer, restored parity seven minutes from time and the Red Devils stay afloat in the competition.
Referee Martin Atkinson ignored Hammers’ penalty appeals when Payet went down following a challenge by Marcus Rojo. United will now face another stiff challenge to overturn their 2-0 deficit against Liverpool at Old Trafford in the return leg of the Europa League’s last 16.
The Hammers put extra pressure on the Red Devils at home by bringing in 9,000 fans at Old Trafford, according to the BBC. Payet, a £10m signing from Marseille, has become the new idol of West Ham. West Ham will have a new start at the Olympic stadium next season. Prior to that, the Hammers coach is confident of beating United at Upton Park in replay of the quarterfinals.
“It’s going to be a tough game, but I fancy us because we’re going to be even more confident,” West Ham coach Slaven Bilic told BBC Sport after the game.
“Manchester United are a different team when they play away from home and don’t have that same confidence. With the history of our stadium it’s going to a be another historic game and you can’t ask for more,” Bilic also added. “But to make history we have to beat them – we won’t put it in the books if we lose the last game.”