Stoke 2-1 West Ham: Hammers beaten by late Mame Biram Diouf header
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 16/05/16 9:25am
West Ham must rely on a favour from Man Utd to qualify for the Europa League after they were beaten 2-1 by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Michail Antonio put the visitors in front with a low finish on 23 minutes but they were pegged back by Giannelli Imbula's strike shortly after half-time.
The Hammers squandered several opportunities to restore their lead and were floored by Mame Biram Diouf's 88th-minute header as Stoke earned their first win since March 19.
After a fantastic season West Ham started the day with hopes of a fifth-place finish, but defeat leaves them seventh in the table and they will only secure a Europa League spot if United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.
As for the hosts, the final-day victory secures a top-half finish for Mark Hughes' side, who end the campaign ninth.
Bilic made one change from the dramatic win over Man United, replacing the injured Dimitri Payet with James Tomkins.
The reshuffle allowed Antonio to move further forward and he opened the scoring after 23 minutes, latching on to Winston Reid's knock-down from a corner to turn and fire past Shay Given.
Stoke failed to muster a shot on target in a disappointing first half, and the visitors had further chances to extend their advantage before the break.
Diafra Sakho dragged an effort past the near post after good work from the lively Antonio, before Sakho slipped at the crucial moment after holding off the challenge of Philipp Wollscheid.
The wasteful finishing continued with Andy Carroll and Sakho guilty either side of the interval, and Stoke made them pay when Imbula drilled home the equaliser after 55 minutes.
The Stoke midfielder was allowed onto his stronger left foot and arrowed a firm shot past Darren Randolph in the West Ham goal.
Despite the setback, Bilic's side looked more likely to grab a winner and the game became stretched in the final stages. Enner Valencia headed over from four yards and Emmanuel Emenike and Antonio were both denied by Given in quick succession.
West Ham thought they had their goal with 11 minutes to play, but Glenn Whelan cleared Cheikhou Kouyate's goal-bound shot off the line with Given beaten.
Charlie Adam nearly caught Randolph out with a long-range strike from inside his own half, but Hughes' side looked happy to settle for a point after a run of one win from nine games.
But they snatched victory with a bullet header from Diouf, who darted in front of Valencia at the near post to power past the West Ham 'keeper.
Paul Merson's verdict
West Ham were the much better team in the first half. Stoke were getting booed and the fans were getting very frustrated and they went in 1-0 at half-time after a good goal by Antonio.
West Ham turned it on again in the second half and should have scored, Valencia had one great chance which Given saved and at 2-0 it would have been game over.
But they didn't and the game turned, Imbula made it 1-1 then West Ham had a couple more chances, one of which was cleared off the line. Then at the end Stoke had a corner and Diouf made it 2-1 with a good header.
You do feel for West Ham, but you watch Stoke and that was them all over. They were poor first half, but then 15-20 minutes into the second half they turned it on, and when they did they were very, very good.
Stoke: Given (8), Pieters (6), Wollscheid (5), Shawcross (6), Cameron (6), Whelan (5), Imbula (8), Bojan (6), Arnautovic (6), Walters (6, Joselu (5)
Subs used: Adam (6), Diouf (7), Bardsley (6)
West Ham: Randolph (6), Tomkins (6), Reid (6), Ogbonna (7), Cresswell (6), Noble (6), Kouyate (7), Antonio (7), Lanzini (6), Sakho (6), Carroll (5)
Subs used: Moses (6), Emenike (6), Valencia (5)
Man of the match: Giannelli Imbula