BRIGHTON, England — West Ham’s faint hope of scraping Champions League qualification was left hanging by a thread after it needed a late strike from Said Benrahma to draw at Brighton 1-1 in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Substitute Benrahma rifled home his first goal for the club with just three minutes to go, leaving the Hammers five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with only two fixtures remaining.
Sixth-placed West Ham looked set for a damaging defeat at Amex Stadium after Danny Welbeck’s 50th Premier League goal broke the deadlock only three minutes earlier.
David Moyes’ men have games against West Brom and Southampton to ensure the minimum of a Europa League place does not slip through their grasp, with Tottenham and Everton each just three points behind and in hot pursuit.
Lowly Brighton remained 17th following its 14th draw of the campaign.
West Ham was seeking to breathe fresh life into its European push after suffering three defeats in their last four. It was to no avail, however, against a Brighton side severely disrupted by the suspensions of key duo Lewis Dunk and Neal Maupay following their red cards at Wolverhampton.
But Brighton did have back influential England midfielder Declan Rice from a six-week injury absence, with national coach Gareth Southgate watching from the stands.