West Ham play League Cup match despite virus cases

24 Sep 2020

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LUTON: Manchester United’s Harry Maguire (L) fights for the ball with Luton Town’s Danny Hylton during their English League Cup third-round match at Kenilworth Road.—AP
LUTON: Manchester United’s Harry Maguire (L) fights for the ball with Luton Town’s Danny Hylton during their English League Cup third-round match at Kenilworth Road.—AP

LONDON: The coronavirus dominated the English League Cup schedule on Tuesday as West Ham United played despite their coach and two players having tested positive, while Tottenham Hotspur’s game was called off.

West Ham said manager David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen only found out their test results after they had arrived at the London Stadium to play against Hull City. Diop and Cullen had been named in the starting lineup.

“The manager and both players immediately left the stadium and have returned home,” West Ham said. “All three, who are asymptomatic, will now follow Public Health England and Premier League guidelines and protocols.”

Assistant coach Alan Irvine took charge of West Ham in Moyes’ absence. West Ham won the game 5-1 as Robert Snodgrass scored the opening goal before Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko scored two each.

West Ham did not say when their players and coaches gave their samples to be tested or how much contact Moyes and the two players had with the rest of the team since then. West Ham’s last game was a 2-1 loss to Arsenal on Saturday.

The Premier League coronavirus protocols state Moyes, Diop and Cullen will have to isolate for 10 days. That would mean they miss the Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

Earlier, the match between Spurs and Leyton Orient was called off two hours before kickoff because Orient players contracted the coronavirus.

“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the fixture not taking place,” the English Football League, which organises the competition, said in a statement.

Orient, a London-based team in the fourth division, may have to forfeit the game if the club is deemed to be unable to fulfil the fixture.

UNITED REACH LAST-16

Manchester United got their first win of the season by beating second-division Luton Town 2-0, but it was a far from dominant showing after losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace in the league on Saturday.

In United’s first meeting with Championship side Luton since 1992, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes, giving full debuts to goalkeeper Dean Henderson and close-season signing Donny Van De Beek.

United went ahead in the 44th minute when George Moncur fouled Brandon Williams and Juan Mata dispatched the penalty.

Henderson is hoping to replace the error-prone David De Gea after an impressive loan at Sheffield United last season.

He preserved United’s advantage with his only save of the match in the final minutes, keeping out Tom Lockyer’s header at the far post.

Marcus Rashford came off the bench to net in the 88th minute before fellow substitute Mason Greenwood’s stoppage-time goal put a flattering gloss on the scoreline.

“Going through is the big thing. There are some positives, the keeper does his job and we scored some nice goals towards the end,” said Solskjaer, whose side will travel to Brighton & Hove Albion or second-tier Preston North End in the fourth round.

Newly promoted Premier League club West Bromwich Albion crashed out against second tier Brentford, losing 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.

Grady Diangana was the only Albion player to miss in the shoot-out and Christian Norgaard netted Brentford’s winner to earn a tie against Fulham or Sheffield Wednesday.

Newport County reached the competition’s last 16 for the first time in their history as the fourth tier side beat Champ­ionship club Watford 3-1.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020