West Ham’s Europa Conference League semi-final win over AZ Alkmaar descended into carnage as players climbed into the crowd after Dutch supporters attacked a section of visiting supporters where many of their loved ones were sitting.
Pablo Fornals’ injury-time winner ensured David Moyes’ side are into next month’s final but the visitors’ celebrations were cut short when Alkmaar fans – dressed in black, hoods up – raced around the ground to spark violence.
Punches were thrown and players jumped into try and defend their friends and families, who were gathered behind the away dugout.
Michail Antonio and Flynn Downes both leapt over the hoardings, while others were held back, as the violence threatened to turn really nasty.
Fortunately, order was restored after a few minutes and Declan Rice’s side could head over to the away end to toast their 3-1 aggregate win.
Hooded fans attacked rival supporters in the crowd after West Ham’s victory
Michael Antonio (centre) jumped over the advertising hoardings after violence broke out
Dutch supporters attacked a section of visiting supporters where the player’s families sat
There were grim scenes in Holland and West Ham’s players stepped in to stop the violence
After the game, manager David Moyes said: ‘I can’t explain what happened and why it happened.
‘Players were involved because it was the family section… that was probably the reason for the reaction.
‘I don’t want that in anyway to blight the night because the West Ham fans weren’t looking for trouble. Hopefully they’ll (UEFA) look into it.
‘My family were there and I had friends in that section. You’re hoping they would try and get themselves away from it… I didn’t recognise it because I was too happy.
‘Security wanted to take me inside but I had to make sure my players weren’t involved.’
After last week’s first leg, the family of Alkmaar manager Pascal Jansen was attacked at the London Stadium.
On Thursday after his side’s defeat, he reflected: ‘I feel a little bit ashamed that it happened in our stadium. You have to stay in control of your emotions. A few players were worried because they had family members in the stands and I can imagine what they felt.’
Former West Ham stars Joe Cole and Carlton Cole condemned the actions, with the pair speaking to BT Sport.
Joe Cole called for action from UEFA, as he said: ‘It’s absurd. Ridiculous grown men, AZ Alkmaar fans attacking the fans where families were sitting, our friends and colleagues. The players tried to break it up.
‘You have to look at UEFA and AZ Alkmaar with things like that. Turning up with balaclavas throwing punches, it’s just ridiculous. The players are rightfully concerned, families, friends, kids over there. Ridiculous in teh modren game, pathetic.’
Lucas Paqueta (right)and Said Benrahma (left) were also among the players to step in
West Ham manager David Moyes said he didn’t want the violence to blight the night
‘People talk about hooliganism in England. We don’t’ see things like that, we haven’t for a long time. We get a reputation for it. It’s other clubs in Europe, it’s pathetic.’
‘We have friends sitting there. In the modern game, with the cameras in these places, find out who these people are and ban them for life. We were talking about bringing our kids to the final now you second guess when you see things like that.’
Carlton Cole continued: ‘There was no need for it. West Ham came, did their job, didn’t disrespect them. When a goal like that goes in you’re elated, happy, you can’t suppress feelings.
‘Your family is over there with the fans. You have to understand that. What is that about? It’s the same men that were outside the player’s hotels, setting off fireworks. What are they doing? Chill out.’
AZ Alkmaar legend Robin Van Persie added to the criticism, sticking up for West Ham fans as he continued: ‘From the point of view of West Ham, they are allowed to be happy and celebrate together.
Pablo Fornals netted the only goal of the game as West Ham secured a victory over AZ Alkmaar
The semi-final win sees them progress into the UEFA Conference League final
West Ham broke off from the unsavory incident and had time to celebrate on the pitch
‘This should not happen. It’s a big shame. Everyone is here, there’s a winning and losing team. That’s part of it.’
West Ham boss David Moyes added to the conversation, revealing that his player’s were concerned for their friends and family in the away end.
‘We need to wait for the dust to settle,’ he said. ‘The biggest problem was the area players have friends and families in.
‘The players were angry they couldn’t see if they were okay. We need to wait and ask the officials what happened.’