Rangers and West Ham share Europa League penalty fury as 'crazy' Hammers decision sparks Ibrox anger

The West Ham incident has sparked a Rangers questionThe West Ham incident has sparked a Rangers question
The West Ham incident has sparked a Rangers question
Rangers and West Ham both had bouts of penalty woe in the Europa League.

Both Rangers and West Ham have been hit with penalty woe in the Europa League, according to one pundit.

The Light Blues were penalised in their 2-2 round of 16 first leg draw away at Benfica. With the game at 1-0 after Tom Lawrence's opener, John Souttar appeared to head the ball onto his arm and a penalty was awarded following a VAR review.

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In West Ham's 1-0 defeat to Freiburg, Noah Weisshaupt's hand appeared to connect with the ball in the Freiburg penalty box. A lengthy VAR check confirmed contact had been made but he may have been pushed by Tomas Soucek.

Rangers hero Miller pointed to the West Ham penalty incident as the reason why his former club were unfortunate to be penalised. He told Sportsound: "He clearly heads it off his arm. His arm and his head are less than a foot apart. I wonder if they think it's hit his hand first, his head, and then back to his arm - that's the only way I can understand it.

"His hand comes close to the ball as it's passing, but it's not conclusive. For me, there is no way in this world they can definitively say that the ball hit - and it must be the very tops of his fingers - before it hit his head. There is no way they can see that. I'm in absolutely no doubt, it's as clear as day, that he heads it onto his arm.

"There was a penalty in the last minute of Freiburg vs West Ham, the last kick of the ball. Tomas Soucek goes to kick it over his head back towards goal and it strikes the Freiburg player on his arm. His hand is above his head. I'm thinking it's a stonewall penalty.

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"Clearly hits his arm. The ref gets called to the monitor, and it must be to see if the Freiburg player has touched it onto his own arm. If it's not given when Soucek's done it - which would be crazy because it's a stonewall penalty - if it's not given there, how can it go against Souttar? This is the inconsistency people aren't happy with."

Moyes said of the West Ham scenario: "I’ve had the chance to look at it and I think it is a penalty kick. My reasons aren’t biased, but nowadays if you lift two hands above your head then it’s an unnatural position. I think the reasons for his hands being there was because it was a free-kick, but if that was his reason, then the referee never restarted the game for a free-kick."

Ibrox boss Philippe Clement meanwhile was also unhappy with Souttar's penalisation: "It's very harsh. I have said it already a few times but I don't agree with where the game is going with the handball situation, but those are the rules. I had more problems with some situations in the last few weeks, but with this one gets given because of the rules. But as someone who loves football I have difficulty with those rules, like all other managers and players.

"It is too harsh now that a ball that is clearly not intended to hit your arm is given as a penalty the moment it touches you. Too many games all over the world are decided in this way. But those are the rules. Maybe when I am finished as a manager I can do something to make the game more simple again and for referees also, as it's difficult for them too."

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