Let’s break down a crazy and — it turns out — controversial ending to West Ham United’s 1-0 defeat of Fulham on Saturday.
Nil-nil under stoppage time, the match saw a wild final four minutes which included a West Ham goal that Fulham felt should’ve been pulled back for offside in the build-up and a VAR-awarded penalty that the Cottagers missed in eye-popping fashion.
[ RECAP: West Ham 1-0 Fulham ]
We’ll start with the West Ham goal. A mishit headed clearance from Fulham fell to Said Benrahma, who set up Tomas Soucek for a well-struck goal, but Cottagers boss Scott Parker wants to know why Sebastien Haller was not found offside.
Haller never played the ball but the ball was certainly played into the offside forward, forcing Fulham’s attempted clearance that fell to Benrahma (freeze frame of an already-offside Haller a split-second before the service, right. Full video atop the post).
“Their goal, the player is an offside position,” Parker said after the game. “I don’t know the rule but you work on offsides, my player has headed the ball out because Seb Haller is there. I don’t know the offside rule. My center half can’t leave it, he’s had to deal with it.”
That’s entirely fair, but the goal counted and Fulham will feel it karmic retribution that VAR spotted a kick on Tom Cairney in the West Ham box moments later.
Ademola Lookman stepped up to the task, but never looked up to spy Lukasz Fabianski guessing correctly to foil his soft chip.
Lookman covered his face with his jersey and crumbled to turf, a valuable Fulham point gone
“It’s tough to take,” Cairney said. “It’s just football in the Premier League. It’s a bit crazy sometime. We managed to get the penalty and these things happen in football. … [Lookman is] devastated, a little bit apologetic. He’s a young man. He’s had a good start to his Fulham career. He is a big player for us. We’ll get around him and pick him up. He knows he could have got us a point.”
Parker didn’t try to make excuses for his winger.
“The boy has made a mistake, that’s clear,” Parker said. “You can miss a penalty, but you can’t miss a penalty like that. He knows that. When you’re young you have to learn quick. … He’s disappoined and rightly so. Everyone can miss penalties of course but in a certain way. This is football, growing as an individual and we’ll learn from this.”
Fulham has Everton, Leicester City, Man City, and Liverpool next. A point Saturday would’ve helped on several fronts.