LONDON: West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic compared Dimitri Payet to Lionel Messi after the Frenchman’s show-stopping strike earned his side a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
West Ham was trailing to Cristhian Stuani’s header at London Stadium when Payet picked up the ball wide on the left in the 57th minute and span away from Antonio Barragan.
He jinked past Marten de Roon on the edge of the area and then skirted forlorn challenges by Calum Chambers, Ben Gibson and George Friend before rolling a shot past goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
“It was a great goal, a brilliant individual goal which brought us back into the game,” said Bilic, whose side had lost their four previous Premier League matches.
“I don’t see many players scoring these type of goals. You see free kicks, you see volleys, scissor kicks, all different types of goals, but this was like Messi’s goals.
“It was a brilliant, brilliant moment of magic. But we can’t rely on him doing that every week.”
It was France international Payet’s first league goal of the season and came two weeks after he set up a goal for Michail Antonio with an outrageous ‘rabona’ cross in a 4-2 loss to Watford.
Signed from Marseille last year for 10.7 million pounds (12.3 million euros, $13.9 million), Payet was named West Ham’s Player of the Year after scoring 12 goals and providing 14 assists in his maiden campaign.
The draw kept West Ham in the relegation zone, below fourth-bottom Swansea City on goal difference.