‘Playing against 14’: Michail Antonio hits out at officials after West Ham’s exit

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Michail Antonio;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Michail Antonio</a> clashes with <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Edmond Tapsoba;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Edmond Tapsoba</a> as <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:West Ham;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">West Ham</a> lost on aggregate to Bayer Leverkusen.</span><span>Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images</span>

Michail Antonio hit out at the refereeing and said that it was like “playing against 14” after West Ham lost their Europa League quarter-final to Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on aggregate.

David Moyes’s side made a spirited attempt to recover from their 2-0 defeat in the first leg and were dreaming of knocking out the newly crowned Bundesliga champions after Antonio scored early on at the London Stadium.

Related: Leverkusen knock out West Ham as Frimpong’s strike saves unbeaten run

West Ham missed chances before half-time and the game changed in the second half. Jeremie Frimpong’s late equaliser earned Leverkusen a semi-final against Roma but Antonio was unhappy with a string of decisions from the Spanish referee, José María Sánchez, who was booed off at full time.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re playing against 11 men, it feels like you’re playing against 14 including the two linos,” the West Ham striker said. “It’s just one of those things where you have to keep pushing, make decisions go your way and remain professional.”

Moyes, who was also unimpressed with the referee, praised his side’s performance. “We’ve played a really good team,” West Ham’s manager said. “I thought we had the chance to go two or three up at one point. If I was going to go out of Europe I wanted to go out playing like that. It was a terrific effort.

“If anything we might have run out of fresh legs. But I’ve been quite limited to the changes I can make. I don’t have Kalvin Phillips, Dinos [Mavropanos], [Lucas] Paquetá. Some our own fault but some through injury. We ran out of energy in the second half.”

Xabi Alonso admitted that Leverkusen, unbeaten in 44 matches in all competitions this season, rode their luck. “We can say this has been a good lesson and we are delighted to be in the semi-final,” Alonso said.

Leverkusen, who are chasing a treble, have the chance for revenge after losing in the last four to Roma last season. “We are happy that we are back in a Europa League semi-final and again facing Roma. It is a different side, they have a new manager, the energy of Roma is good. But in football you always have a second chance.”