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David Moyes disappointed West Ham not given late penalty in Freiburg

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Mar 2024

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West Ham boss David Moyes felt his side were wrongly denied a late penalty as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 meeting with Freiburg.

The Hammers were denied what looked a clear spot-kick for handball in stoppage time after the referee refused to change his decision despite checking the pitchside monitor.

The ball struck the arm of Freiburg youngster Noah Weisshaupt in a crowded penalty area, but after a long VAR check, referee Alejandro Hernandez stuck to his guns.

“If we’d had it given against us, we’d probably think it was harsh, but ultimately I have to say what are you doing with your hands above your head?” Moyes said.

“They are trying to claim there might have been a slight push and that’s why it wasn’t given – but they should have restarted the game with a free-kick if they said it was a push.

“It certainly wasn’t enough of a push to warrant a free-kick, so that shouldn’t mean that it should even come into consideration. The boy has two arms above his head.

“In the Premier League, I am not sure that would be given, but in UEFA competitions in Europe they’re normally given by the referees. I watch Spanish football and German football and nearly every handball is seen.

“If you think of the one we had against Kurt (Zouma) (at Everton) the other day, but we just have to take it and move on.”

West Ham only had themselves to blame for the defeat, however, after drawing a blank in the Black Forest.

Jarrod Bowen and Lucas Paqueta missed golden opportunities and Konstantinos Mavropanos hit a post before they were hit by a late sucker punch from Freiburg substitute Michael Gregoritsch.

A poor pass from Edson Alvarez allowed Roland Sallai to take aim from the edge of the area and his wayward shot was tapped in by Gregoritsch.

“I was really surprised we didn’t reach the standards and some of the players were below where we would expect them to be,” Moyes said, quoted on the West Ham website.

“We gave the ball away far too much and in Europe it’s more difficult (to get it back).

“In the second half we played much better and created some opportunities and found things, but the goal was a sickener, to be honest.”

It means West Ham, last season’s Europa Conference League winners, need to overturn a 1-0 deficit at the London Stadium next week to prolong this season’s continental campaign.

Moyes, though, insists all is not yet lost as West Ham look to regroup for the return leg.

“I’m not worried about turning the tie around, but I am worried about us getting back into right good form and at the levels they need to be to make the difference,” the Irons boss said.

“I’m looking forward to the game next week and bring it on and let’s see how we go.”

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