Kurt Zouma was taunted by Newcastle fans who booed the West Ham defender and waved inflatable cats at him during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Zouma was back in the spotlight after the France international withdrew from last weekend’s draw in Leicester after falling ill minutes before kick-off. Newcastle supporters showed no mercy for the 27-year-old, who made his second Premier League appearance since a video appeared of him kicking and punching his cat.
Zouma was fined two weeks’ wages by West Ham and dropped by his personal equipment supplier Adidas.
The former Chelsea centre-back has apologized but his behavior has been strongly condemned in the football world.
Despite the outcry, West Ham boss David Moyes chose to play Zouma against Watford immediately after the video went viral.
Moyes insists Zouma deserves a second chance, but he was booed loudly by Newcastle fans throughout the match, while the inflatable cats added a surreal touch to the taunt.
West Ham fans made an unsavory cry in support of Zouma, but Newcastle’s 3,000 traveling supporters responded by singing: “Hey, hey Zouma, I want to know how you kicked that cat.”
On the pitch, there was more bad news for West Ham as they were booed after their bid for a top four spot in the Premier League took a hit.
Craig Dawson put the Hammers ahead but Joe Willock’s first goal this season gave Newcastle a point in their struggle for survival.
West Ham remain fifth, one point behind Manchester United after having played one more game.
Newcastle remain in fourth place after being five points from the relegation zone with a sixth consecutive unbeaten league game.
As it rained Declan Rice failed to complete an early free kick from Newcastle and Joelinton nearly made him pay with a shot that forced a good save from Lukasz Fabianski.
Zouma tried to clear Willock’s pass, but Joelinton shot wide from close range.
West Ham striker Jarrod Bowen has scored seven goals in his last seven games, raising awareness of a possible first call-up for England for March’s friendlies against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.
Bowen was inches away from extending his hot streak with an oblique drive that pushed Martin Dubravka onto the bar.
Due to storm Eunice, Newcastle had to take a five-hour bus journey on Friday instead of a quick flight to London.
In the 32nd minute they drifted off course again when Dawson gave West Ham the lead.
Only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more goals from set pieces this season than West Ham in the league and this was another well-crafted routine.
Dawson, who scored West Ham’s late equalizer at Leicester last weekend, easily dodged Newcastle’s sloppy mark with a well-timed run to go home from an Aaron Creswell free kick.
West Ham pressed for a second and Bowen’s low strike was well saved by Dubravka.
But Newcastle beat them with a sucker just before halftime.
Rice bit his head and Willock charged with a close effort that seeped in through the post.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article