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Freiburg 1 West Ham 0: Toothless Hammers denied last-minute penalty as late goal leaves Europa League hopes in doubt

THERE was no doubting whether it was the Freiburg fireworks or West Ham’s wastefulness which gave David Moyes the hump.

Moyes’ already frayed temper was tested even further when West Ham were denied a last minute penalty after a lengthy VAR check over claims of a handball against Noah Weisshaupt.

Tomas Soucek remonstrates with referee Alejandro Hernandez after his team was not awarded a penalty

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Tomas Soucek remonstrates with referee Alejandro Hernandez after his team was not awarded a penaltyCredit: Getty
VAR checked a last-gasp handball incident for four minutes

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VAR checked a last-gasp handball incident for four minutesCredit: Reuters
It was a frustrating night for David Moyes and his side

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It was a frustrating night for David Moyes and his sideCredit: Getty

The frustrated travelling Hammers were left flabbergasted given the German defender’s hand had been well over his head when Tomas Soucek’s desperate effort struck his arm before the four minute check went against them.

Freiburg fans let off a barrage of bangers outside the Hammers hotel at 3.30am on Thursday morning.

And the Londoners spent most of the following night playing like they had barely slept a wink.

Moyes raged through a rotten first half and, despite their improvements going forward after the break, where they had the chances to win this, it was more sloppy play which handed the German side the advantage in this last-16 tie through Michael Gregoritsch’s second-half goal.

West Ham had been conceding the ball far too often and easily but headed away the constant crosses from a functional Freiburg.

A better team, and many will lie ahead if they can turn this tie around and reach the last eight, would have exploited them time and again.

But West Ham handed over one chance too many, and when one ball in came along they ground they were undone.

Hammers fans had battled delayed flights and cancelled German trains to reach Freiburg, but would have been wondering why they had bothered across a turgid first half.

Lucas Paqueta was a rare bright spark for the Hammers

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Lucas Paqueta was a rare bright spark for the HammersCredit: Getty
Michael Gregoritsch fired in the only goal of the game

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Michael Gregoritsch fired in the only goal of the gameCredit: EPA

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Freiburg had most of the ball but did little with it, while West Ham put little effort into winning it back and gave possession away cheaply.

Moyes and his assistants were not afraid to show their frustration from the touchline, ranting and raving at their players throughout a frustrating 45 minutes which brought not a second of added time at the break. A sign of just how little had happened.

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The hosts had managed one shot, Lucas Holer firing straight at Lukasz Fabianski, from which the Pole set West Ham quickly up the other end.

Mohammed Kudus clipped a ball to the back post for Jarrod Bowen, who could not connect properly and put the ball wide.

West Ham were unable to get a grip on proceedings, though they improved after what will have been a lively half-time chat from Moyes.

Kudus had a low shot within a minute of the restart which was stopped at the near post, Lucas Paqueta was ready to convert Bowen’s cross before having it just taken away from him before Konstantinos Mavropanos hit the post from the resulting corner.

Paqueta had given the ball away far too often in the first half but was become more dangerous on the hour, heading over from a Kudus cross on the break.

As is often the case with West Ham, when the Brazilian starts playing – they do.

He won the ball deep and set the Hammers away on another counter, this one ending with Bowen’s effort being tipped around the post.

It was a fine save to deny the England winger, but West Ham were just not doing quite enough to take control.

While they were creating more chances, Moyes was still raging at their inability to look after the ball at times – and they were finally punished.

The Scot had his arms in the air when Edson Alvarez handed the ball over in the West Ham half. It broke to Hungary international Roland Sallai, whose low shot was wayward but tapped in easily by the sub Gregoritsch.

Having already beaten Freiburg twice in the group stage, there will be confidence West Ham can salvage this, but it will have to be much better than this.

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