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Leeds in relegation peril after 3-1 loss to West Ham

LONDON – Leeds United slipped closer to relegation from the Premier League after a 3-1 away defeat by West Ham United in their penultimate game of the season on Sunday.

Sam Allardyce’s side blew the lead at the London Stadium as Rodrigo’s opener was erased by goals from Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini.

They remain in 18th place and sit two points adrift of Everton (33) in 17th, with both teams having just one game left.

Even if Leeds beat Tottenham Hotspur at home on the final day of the season, they would still be relegated if Everton win their last game against Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

Second-bottom Leicester, three points from safety, also have slender hopes of avoiding relegation with games at Newcastle United on Monday and against the Hammers on the final day.

Southampton have already been relegated.

“There are two areas you have to be really good at – defending and the quality in the final third. Unfortunately for us, particularly in the final third, the final ball was not good enough,” Allardyce told the BBC. “I knew one goal would not be enough. We had several opportunities to do better.

“The second half was not as good but we needed to keep it tight and when chances came, take it, and that’s where you have to be resilient at this level and we weren’t.”

Leeds, who last played in the Championship in 2020, have lost twice and drawn once in three games since former England manager Allardyce replaced Javi Gracia earlier in May.

But they started strongly and scored in the 17th minute when United States midfielder Weston McKennie’s long throw reached Rodrigo in the West Ham area and the striker volleyed a fine finish past Lukasz Fabianski.

Despite having little to play for with their own safety secured, the Hammers responded well.

In what could be his final home game for the club amid speculation linking him with Arsenal, West Ham captain Rice equalised in the 31st minute with a cool finish at the far post.

The home side then enjoyed total dominance after the equaliser, and Allardyce’s men cracked again in the 72nd minute when Danny Ings’ pass teed up Bowen for a strike that survived a VAR (video assistant referee) check for offside.

Argentinian substitute Lanzini then made sure of the win in stoppage time.

“I thought them getting a goal maybe brought us to life a bit more. We probably could have scored more goals,” said West Ham boss David Moyes.

“I thought today we played well, especially in the second half. We missed some chances but I’d rather be missing them than not making them at all.” -- AFP