David Moyes fumes as West Ham denied just desserts of a late penalty in Freiburg defeat – Sportstimes.info
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David Moyes fumes as West Ham denied just desserts of a late penalty in Freiburg defeat



One man’s Black Forest gateau is another man’s chocolate sponge, and David Moyes’ recipe was pure stodge. But Freiburg sub Michael Gregoritsch found a way through the gloop nine minutes from time to leave West Ham’s latest European crusade in the balance.

Moyes had a face like thunder when another Freiburg sub, Noah Weisshaupt, got away with handball in the last seconds of stoppage time. After a four-minute VAR check, Spanish referee Alejandro Hernandez went to his pitch side monitor and, to widespread disbelief, declined to award a spot-kick – even though Weisshaupt’s arm was raised to field Tomas Soucek’s shot.

Until the dramatic finish, no self-raising flour on earth would have made a turgid contest rise to the occasion in a corner of Germany where every patisserie sells the local signature dessert with about 2,000 calories per slice.

And Moyes wouldn’t have cared one dollop of whipped cream if the Hammers had escaped from West Ham’s 34th European game in 13 countries on his watch with a clean sheet. But after Edson Alvarez coughed up possession cheaply in his own half, Gregoritsch arrived in the six-yard box to roll a simple finish past Lukasz Fabianski from Roland Sallai’s cross-shot.

The Hammers will have to crank up the volume on their gateau blaster in next week’s return at the Taxpayers Stadium, but on this evidence they should still fancy their chances of reaching a third quarter-final in as many seasons.


Freiburg fans who set off fireworks outside the Eastenders’ city centre hotel at 3.30am, hoping to deny Moyes’ players their beauty sleep, needn’t have bothered. This was no beauty contest. It was a grim stand-off in Stodge City, and the Irons will need more creativity to apply the icing on the cake in the second leg.

Yet in between the long periods of laboured scuffling, and until Gregoritsch’s late intevention, the Hammers had enjoyed the best chances.

Konstantinos Mavropanos headed James Ward-Prowse’s corner against the foot of a post from an unfavourable angle, while Jarrod Bowen extended Freiburg keeper Noah Atubolu into a fingertip save. And Ward-Prowse should have done better with a presentable chance from 12 yards than shovel it too close to Atubolu.

With the Fatherland hobbled by a rail strike and airport groundstaff downing tools, it’s a wonder anyone made it to the Stadion am Wolfswinkel which, disappointingly, is not named after Norwich flop Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

But they have an even-handed approach to life in this wine-growing region – a six-pack of beer in each hand, judging by the thirsty patrons spilling out of the tram terminus down the road before kick-off. And although the Hammers beat them home and away in the group stage, Freiburg are nobody’s patsies in the Bundesliga, holding Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich (to give the Bavarian club its full name) to a 2-2 draw here a week ago.


Any team with such an alliterative feast in their back four – Ginter, Gulde and Gunter – deserves maximum kudos, and the home side’s coach Christian Stretch reciprocated the respect. “West Ham are an exceptionally good team,” he said. “One of the six best in the Premier League, and that says it all.” They will have to prove it in the second leg next Thursday night.

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