Cardiff City’s first match in the Premier League ended in disappointment as West Ham cruised to a 2-0 win at Upton Park.
Joe Cole fired a sweet low finish past David Marshall after turning beautifully on a Matt Jarvis cut-back 13 minutes in.
Kevin Nolan put the result beyond doubt with a curling effort with a quarter of an hour left as Cardiff – returning to the top division for the first time since 1962 – disappointed. Mark Noble got the assist for that goal.
The hosts dominated for large swathes of the match, despite mostly playing long ball. Cardiff, for their part, showed little of the form that saw them win the Championship last season.
Sam Allardyce’s unit coped better in the absence of injured strikers Andy Carroll (for West Ham) and Andreas Cornelius (for Cardiff), with the visitors' best play coming from lively South Korea winger Kim Bo-kyung.
The visitors had some late chances but the match was long lost when Nicky Maynard missed a sitter and Peter Whittingam fired a free-kick inches wide.
PRE-MATCH: Absent friends – Both sides were missing big-money forward signings, with West Ham’s Andy Carroll and Cardiff’s Andreas Cornelius both injured for the season opener.
13’ – GOAL: A lovely run from Matt Jarvis, who drills in a low cut-back that Cardiff watch all the way to Cole, who turns cutely and finishes with aplomb.
70’ – DEBUT: Joe Downing comes on to applause following his move from Liverpool.
76’ – GOAL: After good play by Modibo Maiga and Mark Noble, Nolan spanks a fine effort past David Marshall and in.
85’ – SAVE: Cardiff’s first effort on target, a header from Matt Connolly, is saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
TALKING POINT: Stewart Downing, who joined from Liverpool this week, may have a fight on his hands after Cole and Jarvis impressed on the flanks. The England winger looked on from the stands with interest, and responded superbly as he came on as a sub and showed some excellent touches.
Matt Jarvis got his first assist for West Ham, having created 47 chances and put in more than 200 crosses since joining the club last season.
Joe Cole’s last four league goals have come at Upton Park – all three of his second spell with West Ham, and also in Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Upton Park last season
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mohamed Diame (West Ham): A dominant force in the centre of midfield, mixing up crunching challenges and smart positional play with driving runs and ambitious shots.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen 7, Demel 7, Collins 6, Reid 6, O'Brien 7, Noble 7, Nolan 7, Diame 8, Cole 7, Maiga 6, Jarvis 7; Subs: Downing 7, Diarra N/A, Vaz Te N/A
Cardiff: Marshall 6, Connolly 6, Caulker 6, Turner 6, John 6, Medel 6, Gunnarsson 5, Bellamy 5, Whittingham 6, Kim 6, Campbell 5; Subs: Gestede 6, Maynard 6, Mutch N/A
THE MATCH IN A TWEET