West Ham’s European dream is over as Aaron Cresswell’s early red card proves costly

It ended in disappointment and a breath of disgrace.

Two red cards marred West Ham’s night, including one for David Moyes, sent from the touchline for kicking a ball in anger at a ball boy. It’s also not Novak Djokovic’s mistake with a racket, it’s not a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Moyes knew what he was doing. The ball had gone out of play and the ball boy was late with the return. He got it back, slowly. Moyes lashed out at him, furious, and also uttered some angry words. Referee Jesús Gil Manzano did the right thing. He rushed over and brandished a red one.

Moyes disappeared down the tunnel, immediately. He knew that he was wrong. He had spoken proudly before the game that his 86-year-old father was here with his brother. He will feel that he let down more than himself. This has been a great campaign for West Ham and it was a shame to end it on such a sour note.

West Ham United were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night after losing to Eintracht Frankfurt in their semi

West Ham United were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night after losing to Eintracht Frankfurt in their semi

The night ended on a note of disgrace for Hammers boss David Moyes, who showed up to kick a ball to one of the ball boys.

The night ended on a note of disgrace for Hammers boss David Moyes, who showed up to kick a ball to one of the ball boys.

Defender Aaron Cresswell was sent off in the first 18 minutes and the landscape of the entire match changed completely.

Defender Aaron Cresswell was sent off in the first 18 minutes and the landscape of the entire match changed completely.

Beaten at home, beaten, West Ham didn’t fade and die as much as it died and faded. Aaron Cresswell’s dismissal after 18 minutes finished them off and from there they simply slipped out of the Europa League without making a mark at the semi-final stage.

The enduring images of West Ham’s exit from the tournament will be Moyes in disgrace and Cresswell losing his man – again – and paying the price. It was a sad conclusion. Two red cards, two losses and no complaints about any of it, really.

This was a great opportunity for West Ham, which is no doubt why Moyes felt the loss so keenly. The winner of the Europa League qualifies for the Champions League, so these were the biggest games in West Ham’s history. A revolutionary reward was in sight. A financial surge, hiring power, the prospect of keeping Declan Rice.

West Ham in the Champions League would change everything. Everyone associated with the club knew it. However, West Ham lost the first leg, and once Cresswell left, the tie slowly fizzled out. Frankfurt scored, West Ham couldn’t and elimination was inevitable.

Thus, with 12 minutes to go, when the ball went out of play, Moyes wanted it to come back fast. Instead, the ball boy decided to take precious seconds of the game. Moyes’ reaction was irrational. Soccer can do that to a person sometimes. He scrambles the mind. If he wanted to piss someone off, try Cresswell.

Look, West Ham gave their best but have run out of steam under the weight of a European challenge. Injuries have increased, players have come out patched up or exhausted. And at Eintracht Frankfurt they found a team with many similar qualities: physical when needed, quick on the counterattack and hard-working.

Once West Ham were down to ten, the game was overlooked, then Frankfurt scored, and so it was. We have seen some good comebacks in Europe this week, but this was never going to be another. West Ham just didn’t have the energy or ultimately the quality.

But a word about Frankfurt. Not just the team, but the club. It is on nights like this that all the indignation of last year’s Super League plot is felt. How dare a clique of elite clubs exclude one as passionate and magnificent as Eintracht Frankfurt from their tournament? This was a game played in a pretty bright atmosphere watched by fans whose effort matched that of their players.

They were asked to wear white – although the first-team shirt is black – because that is the color they played in when they eliminated Barcelona, ​​and a man, woman and child responded. The area behind the goal that houses their most committed supporters was a solid white block from over an hour before kick-off, occasionally bouncing together.

However, when the teams finally emerged, that was something else. Giant, elaborate banners were unfurled from the upper and middle tiers, while beneath each fan their black and white flags furiously waved. Then the flares went off, then the smoke canisters, a torrential rain of white streamers and strobe lights. It created an incredible effect: part fireworks display, part party.

The streamers were caught by the giant protective fence and danced in the wind. Delegates turned up with leaf blowers to clear the field as if this were a regular thing, and menial chores were taken into account. Frankfurt sent a message to the rest of Europe. They may have been away for a while, but this is a great, great club.

Eintracht Frankfurt found the back of the net just eight minutes after the card thanks to Colombian striker Rafael Borre

Eintracht Frankfurt found the back of the net just eight minutes after the card thanks to Colombian striker Rafael Borre

West Ham’s corner was unable to compete, as was his team once Cresswell was sent off after 18 minutes. It was possible to be optimistic up to that point. West Ham were stable and Frankfurt lost influential defender Martin Hinteregger to injury after just six minutes, second best in a clash with Michail Antonio.

Then it was West Ham’s turn to suffer misfortune. Although, how much does fortune come in when you keep making the same mistakes? Cresswell was sent off in the first leg against Lyon after losing his man, but many thought the decision was harsh. So what about this? Eighteen minutes had passed when he lost Frankfurt striker Jens Petter Hauge.

Cresswell’s arms were on him and Hauge didn’t need much of an invitation to come down. He was definitely looking for it, but Cresswell gave it to him anyway. When referee Manzano showed a yellow card, it looked like he might have gotten away with it.

But for that there is the VAR, so that justice is done. Alejandro Hernández asked his colleague to take another look, which he did. He came back and upgraded to red. Funny, right? To some, yellow seemed lenient, but red too harsh.

As a result, West Ham struggled to gain a foothold in the game after that point and went downhill for the Irons.

As a result, West Ham struggled to gain a foothold in the game after that point and went downhill for the Irons.

Either way, Cresswell was gone. He really couldn’t complain…she Lost the man from him and tried to hinder him illegally. There is always a risk. He may look soft in the eyes of the English, but the defense was also soft. And Frankurt took advantage almost immediately. Moyes repurposed his defense, introducing Ben Johnson for Manuel Lanzini, but the damage was done. From there, all of Frankfurt’s best work came from the side where Cresswell had been, including the 26th-minute goal that virtually ended the contest.

Ansgar Knauff was now making hay on that flank and dragged the entire West Ham back line out of position before cutting a sweet cross to Rafael Borre down the middle. The Colombian had moved away from Craig Dawson and was in a lot of space. He finished first time, in the corner and out of her reach.

Frankfurt looked comfortable from there: two goals ahead on aggregate and playing with ten men. West Ham sat deep out of necessity, unable to pursue the game as they would have liked. There were flashes, of course. In the 44th minute, Jarrod Bowen crossed, Antonio tried to put the ball at the far post and Evan N’Dicka cleared it over the line. But Frankfurt remained in control and will travel to Seville to play Rangers. West Ham returns to scrap for European places.

As for Moyes, if West Ham make it to the Europa League or Conference League next season, he may not join them for some games. UEFA will not like the abuse of the ballboy no matter the mitigation. The José Mourinho memorial laundry awaits.

Moyes was also shown a red card after he hit a ball into the kid's ball in frustration on a forgettable night for the Hammers.

Moyes was also shown a red card after he hit a ball into the kid’s ball in frustration on a forgettable night for the Hammers.

Relive the action with Sportsmail’s live blog. Includes updates on Eintracht Frankfurt vs West Ham and Rangers vs RB Leipzig in tonight’s Europa League semi-finals, as well as the latest from the Europa Conference League.

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