Aston Villa's Nicolo Zaniolo celebrates after scoring his side's opening...

Aston Villa's Nicolo Zaniolo celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Aston Villa, at the London stadium in London, Sunday, March 17, 2024. Credit: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

LONDON — Aston Villa moved three points clear of Tottenham in the race for fourth place after a 1-1 draw against West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Nicolo Zaniolo struck an equalizer in the second half to secure what could be an important point in Villa's bid for Champions League qualification after Michail Antonio had headed West Ham in front.

West Ham thought it had snatched a late winner when Tomas Soucek struck in the sixth minute of time added on, but the goal was disallowed by VAR for handball.

Referee Jarred Gillett and VAR Tony Harrington spent more than five minutes determining whether the goal should stand before it was ruled to have hit Soucek's arm.

Antonio also had a goal disallowed for handball earlier in the half.

“It’s what VAR do, it’s their decision not ours, we can’t do anything about it. It’s there to do the job," West Ham manager David Moyes said. "In the second half, Villa stepped it up, they were the better team for periods. I was really pleased with how we performed overall.”

Antonio had headed West Ham in front in the 29th minute at London Stadium.

Aston Villa's Matty Cash, left, duels for the ball with...

Aston Villa's Matty Cash, left, duels for the ball with West Ham's Ben Johnson during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Aston Villa, at the London stadium in London, Sunday, March 17, 2024. Credit: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Villa lost 4-0 against Spurs last week and was in danger of suffering back-to-back defeats in the league, but Nicolo Zaniolo leveled in the 79th.

The draw saw fourth-place Villa extend its lead over fifth-place Tottenham to three points, having played a game more. Tottenham lost 3-0 at Fulham on Saturday.

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