Football Features

“He’s given everything to them” – Joe Cole blasts referee as 10-man West Ham hold Lyon in Europa League

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:17, 7 April 2022

Joe Cole blasted the referee for his performance as 10-man West Ham held Lyon to a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium.

West Ham have been enjoying their European tour this season, topping their Europa League group, but the knockout rounds have not been kind to the Hammers.

First, they were drawn against serial Europa League winners in the last-16 and then French giants Lyon. With the first leg at home, though, West Ham fans will have been confident about their sides chances as long as it was a fairly called contest.

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The first half was fairly even and West Ham may have slightly edged things with their opportunities, but the Hammers’s chances of winning took a hit in the closing minutes. Lyon were on the attack with Moussa Dembele, though the Frenchman still had a bit to do to trouble Alphonse Areola in the West Ham goal.

Dembele was brought down just on the edge of the area by Aaron Cresswell in what some might have dubbed a smart foul by the Englishman. But, despite the fact that Dembele was moving away from goal and West Ham had cover, Cresswell was shown a red card by referee Felix Zwayer.

Cresswell was the first ever West Ham player to be shown a red card in European competition, and former Hammers midfielder Cole was not happy with the referee’s decision or performance.

“What we were saying before that, five minutes before this, I think the referee has had an awful game,” Joe Cole said on BT Sport’s coverage of the game at half-time.

“We talk about experience in Europe, Lyon were going down, they quietened the crowd with their technique but they also slowed the game down.

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“On multiple occasions, players going down with hamstrings [injuries] after 30 minutes cramping, and that was purposeful.

“And the ref, an experienced referee, should have understood that. I know it was making me angry before the decision, and then to give that decision, you expect those decisions which are on the borderline to go for the home.

“But he’s given everything to them. It’s very difficult.”

“I can understand why the referee gave it, but it’s very, very harsh,” he added at full-time.

Zwayer showed four cards in total during the game, including Cresswell’s red, all of which were for West Ham. After Cresswell was sent off, David Moyes was shown a yellow card for his protests and both Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen received bookings late on.

Nevertheless, West Ham are still in a decent position in the tie thanks to Bowen’s goal that had put them ahead. Even after Tanguy Ndombele’s equaliser, West Ham will take confidence from how they managed to restrict Lyon with 10 men.