Premier League - Sunderland humble Hammers

Sun, 22 May 17:51:00 2011

Goals from Bolo Zenden, Stephane Sessegnon and Cristian Riveros helped Sunderland to a 3-0 Premier League victory over already-relegated West Ham at Upton Park.

Match Highlights: West Ham

Zenden scored in the 17th minute to give Steve Bruce’s men the lead, on his final appearance in the red and white shirt of Sunderland.

The 34-year-old Dutchman has refused to renew his contract at the North East club, but celebrated his swansong with the opening goal on another miserable afternoon for the hapless Hammers.

Sessegnon then scored Sunderland’s decisive second goal just six minutes into the second half, after a lovely assist by Zenden, and substitute Riveros added the gloss with a well-taken effort in second-half stoppage-time.

First team coach Kevin Keen made a bold statement with his team selection for West Ham’s final game of the season - leaving two of his biggest names on the bench.

Club captain Scott Parker received his Player of the Year award on the Upton Park turf, but was only selected for the bench as Keen insisted on only picking players he knew would be available for next season’s Championship campaign.

That also meant that out-of-contract defender Matthew Upson also failed to make the starting XI, suggesting that the England international has played his last game for the club.

West Ham scarcely missed the star duo early on, however, as they made a positive start to their final Premier League game of a wretched relegation season.

Freddie Sears forced a fine save from Simon Mignolet with six minutes played, as Asamoah Gyan tested West Ham keeper Rob Green with a couple of teasing efforts from range at the other end.

With both sides looking dangerous in an end-to-end match, Zenden’s crucial goal inside 20 minutes helped Sunderland settle into a period of quiet authority for the remainder of the half.

Ahmed Elmohamady curled a pin-point cross into the box towards Zenden, which the veteran met with a delicate, looping header to send the ball arcing over Rob Green’s head and into the back of the net.

Zavon Hines forced a fine close-range save from Mignolet on the stroke of half-time, as West Ham returned to the dressing rooms for half-time in an all-too familiar position – in a losing position.

Sunderland’s one-goal lead become two five minutes into the second-half, when Sessegnon’s speculative effort from the edge of the effort crept inside Green’s right post, before Gyan and Jack Colback came close to making it three with near misses in the 54th and 55th minutes.

With a 2-0 result looking increasingly likely, Paraguayan substitute Riveros popped up in the second minute of second-half stoppage time to add the gloss to a well-deserved result for Steve Bruce's side.

Highly-rated midfielder Jordan Henderson curled in a peach of a cross into the West Ham penalty area, which Riveros took down with one touch before drilling the ball into the top corner with the second.

The result was enough to propel Sunderland above bitter rivals Newcastle on a final day of high drama in the Premier League, and simultaneously ensured that West Ham drop out of the top flight of English football with barely a whimper.


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