West Ham last night vowed to slap bans on fans after two German commentators were punched and had their headphones ripped off by fans at the London Stadium last night. The commentators, from ARD Radio, were attacked in the first half after Michail Antonio’s equaliser.
One, Philip Hofmiester, said: “We’re being attacked here, they threw the headset down on my colleague Tim Brockmeier.” The pair were also heard to tell their listeners: “I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
They were then rescued by security and moved. The club will view CCTV and work with police to identify the offenders.
West Ham said in a statement: “The club is aware of the incident and will be working to identify the offender. In line with our zero tolerance approach, anyone identified will have their details passed to the police.
“They will be given an indefinite ban and be unable to enter the London Stadium and travel with the club. There is no place for this kind of behaviour.”
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Ansgar Knauff put Frankfurt ahead inside a minute with a clever headed finish past Alphonse Areola before Antonio’s close-range strike midway through the first period saw West Ham draw level. The Hammers looked set to hang on and steer clear of a first-leg deficit before Daichi Kamada scored Frankfurt’s eventual winner shortly after half-time.
Kamada came close to grabbing a third goal for Frankfurt but was denied by the post, while Jarrod Bowen struck the woodwork on two occasions, including from a sweetly-struck bicycle kick during the closing stages of the match. It remains to be seen whether West Ham will be able to put things right in next week’s second leg in order to book their place in this year’s Europa League final at Frankfurt’s expense.
The Hammers will be desperate to overcome their one-goal disadvantage in Frankfurt in six days’ time to maintain their hopes of European glory between now and the end of the season. David Moyes insisted after the final whistle on Thursday that West Ham still have a good chance of reaching the final but conceded that it will be difficult to beat Frankfurt on their own patch in order to get there.
“We didn’t play well enough to get a result but it’s still there, it’s not gone,” said Moyes. “We’ll go to the second leg probably not fancied and do what we can to still make it, there’s another game to play.
“Hopefully we’ll play better, we’ve a lot to do. The players have got great character. We will need to put on a much better performance.”
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