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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK


Sport: Football

Intertoto win gives Hammers Uefa spot

Hammers' Trevor Sinclair (right) celebrates with teammates Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand

Metz 1-3 West Ham
Aggregate: 2-3

West Ham are through to top-class European competition for the first time in 18 years, after an impressive win in France saw them take the Intertoto Cup.


The BBC's Simon Hill: "What a promise this West Ham side has"
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg of the final a fortnight ago, the Hammers battled through in the return to take the trophy and the place in the first round of the Uefa Cup that goes with it.

Summer signing Paulo Wanchope scored 11 minutes from time to clinch West Ham's victory, after Metz had threatened to burst wreck their European dreams with a second half comeback.

However, the victory was marred by crowd trouble in the visitors' end of the stadium.

Fans tried to pull down fences and were sprayed with tear gas as police tried to regain order.

Double blow

The Hammers made a perfect start with goals from Frank Lampard and Trevor Sinclair swiftly overturning the first-leg deficit.


[ image: Paulo Di Canio slides in to tackle Sylvain Marnchal]
Paulo Di Canio slides in to tackle Sylvain Marnchal
Harry Redknapp's side took the lead after only nine minutes when Sinclair latched onto a Paolo Di Canio pass.

The wing-back struck an unstoppable 18 yard shot into the left hand corner giving Metz keeper Letizi little chance.

Just before half-time the impressive Di Canio was again the provider.

The Italian's cross from the right deflected off a Metz defender and landed in the path of midfielder Lampard, who made no mistake, hitting a first-time shot past Letizi from 12 yards out.

Nervous finale

At the break, with a 2-1 aggregate lead and an advantage on away goals, West Ham looked to be cruising through.

But Metz had other ideas and a spirited fightback put them in with a shout of victory.

Persistent second-half pressure from the home side paid off in the 68th minute when substitute Nenad Jestrovic struck a fierce shot past keeper Shaka Hislop.

West Ham weathered the domination from the French team - and secured their place in the Uefa Cup when Wanchope scored in the 79th minute.

Hammers midfielder Steve Lomas fed a ball into the box for the Costan Rican striker, who showed great composure to round the oncoming Metz keeper and slot the ball into an empty net.

Harry hails fans

Hammers boss Redknapp ignored the outbreak of trouble in the stands and showered the travelling supporters with praise.

"Our fans are the best in the world," he insisted. "I just hope they have a safe journey home.

"We have great supporters and I'm glad they have been rewarded with a Uefa Cup place. The fans deserve it and the club deserves it.

"Listening to them singing after the game - that's was it's all about. This win's for the punters.

"I said 2-1 would do nicely but 3-1 was marvellous and let's not forget that Metz are an excellent side.

"I was delighted to be 2-0 up at halftime but I knew that Metz were dangerous and would come back at us.

"We got bodies in the way and made some superb blocks at the right time."

Teams:

FC Metz: Letizi, Pierre, Gaillot, Schemmel, Kastiendeuch, Meyrieu, Toyes, Marchal, Gousse, Saha, Boffin. Subs: Asuar, Rizzetto, Van Handenhoven, Jestrovic, Biancarelli, Regis.

West Ham: Hislop, Ferdinand, Lomas, Foe, Sinclair, Lampard, Di Canio, Keller, Potts, Moncur, Wanchope. Subs: Cole, Kitson, Forrest, Carrick, Angus, Wright, Abou.

Referee: Helmut Krug (Germany)



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