Maybe they had a chance to go to the European semi-finals. After all, this will be West Ham’s first semifinal appearance since the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup, where they will also face Thursday’s rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.
Many members of that famous Hammers side who went on to win the tournament attended the London Stadium on Thursday, including the amulet designed to shake the soul of a club under David Moyes, including Sir Trevor Brookings. .
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Nevertheless, Frankfurt captured the moment on the way to a 2-1 victory, with Rafael Bore going to the post, where Ansker Knopf put a header past West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Ariola in the first minute.
Originally built as the athletic arena for the 2012 London Olympics, Reverse Engineering is a ground that has suddenly become quiet, facing a long journey into a real football environment. West Ham will not miss Upton Park Stadium – each player was shown on big screens at half-time as the grain-filled highlights of the 1976 game were muddied – but their iconic old ground was a cauldron. Can’t let the outrage almost dissipate.
Almost 15 minutes later, West Ham improved after stabilizing themselves in front of a crowd capable of fearing the worst. Jordi Bowen attacked the post before Michael Antonio equalized his first goal after March 2.
Daisy Kamata lifted Frankfurt again nine minutes after the resumption, with Arebola hitting Djibril Chow’s shot into his path so he was able to attach enough of his leg behind the ball. Benrahma’s 66th minute introduction gave West Ham some new impetus to the game, with an excellent curling instantaneous cut to the outside of the post with a long-distance effort. But it was Bowen who went very close in stoppage time with a stunning overhead kick from Declan Rice’s cross, which made the crossbar tremble. The Hammers were unlucky as the ball, which blocked Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trap, fell down and bounced off the goal.
West Ham’s small side are eager to finish – despite several attempts they failed to sign an outfielder in January – and the tough season (which is the 51st game of their current campaign) could be a factor in the defeat. Understand their opportunity here. Moyes made six changes during West Ham’s previous tour of Chelsea in an attempt to conserve energy for this.
However, West Ham never kicked, never took control of the game and were always vulnerable. There was no seriousness in their defense, and they never hit the exciting heights they had brought to this position as they moved forward.
The encouragement should come from the opportunities West Ham have created, but they can play better than this and go to Lyon in the previous round and qualify with a significant 3-0 win.
“I do not know if this is the case – the level of the games is going up and we do not have the quality at times to be at this level,” Moyes said. “We have some times, but I don’t think we showed it tonight. I thought we should play better, we could not do that.
“This is not what we wanted – we did not play well enough to get a result tonight, but it still is, it’s not going. We will go to the second leg without imagining and still do what we can to do it.
“I think we missed a lot of chances to create chances. We should have done more, we had chances to get the ball better, we didn’t take them.”
Frankfurt fans will hear it hard. The Bundesliga team – now unbeaten in 11 Europa League games this season – has officially set aside just 3,000 for the game, but it looks like there were thousands more in London, just like the 30,000 who traveled to Spain and bought tickets. Frankfurt beat Barcelona in the quarter-finals at Camp Nou.
Steps were taken to avoid the same situation here, but there were still problems, as two German radio commentators attacked Antonio several times after the draw, according to Bildt reports. Hot words were exchanged between Frankfurt Duckout and Hammers supporters as frustrations threatened to leak in the second half.
Instead of being a popular night in West Ham’s modern history, they have the disgraceful honor of being the third team to lose at home in the first leg of the Europa League semi – final. The others – Basel in 2013 and Zelda Vigo in 2017 – were both knocked out. West Ham could have avoided that fate in next week’s second leg in Germany, but they have to deal with the situation better than they did here.
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