West Ham United 1 Frankfurt 2 Europa League Semi Final 1st Leg 28th April 2022

Hammers Conceded Early in Disappointing 1st Leg Defeat at London Stadium

Hope everyone is safe and well.

I have been busy with the end of Ramadan and Eid celebrations, as well as supporting other residents from our previous block of flats who are having real issues with their longer term temporary accommodation. It’s still hard to understand how a charity housing association can treat vulnerable people and their family members with such contempt. We are grateful that we have a place to stay where nothing needs doing whereas other residents are battling with the housing association just to get the hot water sorted and electricity working! So apologies for the delay in this post – and therefore the Arsenal post. Life seems to be so busy right now, just like the fixture list at the tail end of the season.

Sadly, this post comes on the back of our exit from Europa League at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt in two disappointing performances given how the team have played throughout this competition.

But, we have lost to a team that has won away at Real Betis and Barcelona already in the knockout stages of the Europa League and it’s not as if we have been outplayed. But the disappointment hurts as the bubbles fly high and fade and die on another mixed season for us.

Frankfurt had the perfect start by taking the lead within the opening minute when the young Ansgar Knauff broke into the area to provide a sucker punch that the Hammers struggled to shake off. Indeed, Knauff was a constant threat and could have doubled Frankfurts lead, being in form from previous rounds by scoring in away games against Real Betis and Barcelona.

The pre-match rendition of ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ and noise from the crowd could not lift the home side despite the fans continuing to sing their support throughout the match. The London Stadium has found its voice in this competition and it sends the hairs on the back of your neck tingling as the crowd stood throughout the match to cheer, chant and sing West Ham on, urging the team to find a goal.

And it came as Antonio headed in from Kurt Zouma’s noon down to raise the roof and blow fresh bubbles of hope around the stadium of an historic win to set up for the second leg in Germany. But it was not to be despite patient build up from the home side with little reward, against the quicker and more threading attack of the visitors. 

The Hammers defensive woes seemed to be swept aside as Zouma returned to the side after his ankle injury, but he seemed to be the weakest link and Cresswell struggled after the early goal and his lack of defensive attack was noticeable in Frankfurts second gaol. 

Kamada found the net from Alphonse Areola’s save that fell kindly for him and he could have put the tie to bed if he had scored from a later curling shot that flicked off Dawson. That would have left the Hammers with a lot to do at Waldstadion for the second leg where Frankfurt have not won in five, but not lost either. You could see why the visitors have not lost away in this competition and their attacking threat remained.

Bowen had the best chance of rescuing a draw in stoppage time with an overhead kick from Delan Rice’s cross that bounced agonisingly down from the crossbar. But it proved to be a crucial opportunity missed as the Hammers prepared for the second leg, and ultimately their last stop on a journey that has given us some wonderful nights under the lights.

We can now focus on securing a place in Europe next year by our league position, dependent on results of those teams around us in the Premier League.

Hope you enjoy the photos, despite the result.

Take care everyone

Dawud

Published by dawudmarsh

Photographer based in London.

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