West Ham’s top-4 dream crumbles with draw against Brighton

Sports Desk, May 15 (EFE).- West Ham United could manage only a 1-1 draw Saturday against Brighton & Hove Albion, a result that effectively marked the end of their quest to secure Champions League play by finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

Now sixth in the table on 59 points from 36 matches, the Hammers could still qualify for the Europa League, but trail fourth-place Chelsea by five points and are a point behind Liverpool, who have a game in hand.

And West Ham must also cast a wary eye over their shoulders at Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, each with 56 points from 35 matches.

Brighton, meanwhile, will be disappointed about allowing West Ham to equalize. Though they are already assured of staying up, the 17th-place Seagulls would like to at least match their performance last season, when they finished in the 15th spot.

Hosts Brighton had the edge on possession, but all of the chances in the first half belonged to the London side. Seagulls defender Dan Burn had to turn aside a shot by Pablo Fornals in the 42nd minute after the Spanish midfielder beat keeper Robert Sanchez.

Three minutes later, it was the turn of center-back Ben White to block a Fornals strike.

After a quiet first half, West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski was pressed into service in the 52nd minute to deal with a shot from Alireza Jahanbaksh, who forced another save from the Pole two minutes later.

In the 83rd minute, Danny Welbeck put the Seagulls ahead, chipping the ball over Fabianski after the keeper was drawn off his line by Percy Tau’s charge into the area.

Jolted by the goal, the Hammers flew forward and the equalizer materialized in the 87th minute, when Said Benrahma intercepted an attempted Brighton clearance and blasted the ball into the top corner of Sanchez’s net. EFE apa/dr

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