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Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK

Sport: Football

Ref swore at me - Di Canio

Trevor Sinclair fails to beat the keeper from close range

Steaua Bucharest 2-0 West Ham

Steaua Bucharest took control of this Uefa Cup tie in the first leg, but the night was overshadowed by Paolo di Canio's latest run-in with officialdom.

John Murray reports from Bucharest
The Italian striker claimed referee Claus Bo Larsen swore at him.

It is just the latest clash with the men in black for Di Canio, who was given an 11-match ban last seaon when he pushed referee Paul Alcock to the floor during a game between his former club Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal.

This time he claimed Larsen had twice called him a "bastard" during the game.

The referee denied the allegation - but said he had told him to "Get up" as he sat on the ground appealing for Steaua players to be cautioned.

On the brink

For the Hammers, a trip which featured the players attending the launch of the Romanian edition of Playboy magazine, ended in defeat.

And a massive effort is likely to continue the East Enders' unlikely Euro adventure.

Goals from Laurentiu Rosu and Sabin Ilie either side of half time did the damage, but the talking point afterwards was Di Canio's bizarre substitution.

The volatile Italian was apprently given the ultimate final warning by Larsen: "Get off before I send you off."

[ image: Wanchope: Willing to run but unable to finish]
Wanchope: Willing to run but unable to finish
The message was transferred to manager Harry Redknapp, who replaced the forward with midfielder Joe Cole on 55 minutes.

It was a mysterious decision at the time, with the Hammers a goal down, although Di Canio had been booked in the first half for throwing the ball away, and teenager Cole played well.

"He sent a message over through John Moncur which said `tell the coach I'm going to send him off'," said Redknapp of the referee's strange warning.

"It's the first time this has ever happened to me. It's weird and I've never heard of it before."

Di Canio said: "The referee gave them a chance to kick us all over the pitch. He used bad words about me."

Referee's explanation

The Danish official said the West Ham star had been complaining throughout the game but denied swearing or telling Redknapp to substitute him.

But he admitted: "I said for him to be careful of Di Canio because next time he made me angry I would send him off."

The game itself began on a pudding of a pitch in chilly conditions, but the hosts overcame the heavy surface with some neat passing.

Shaka Hislop made four saves in the opening 20 minutes, although the Londoners should have gone ahead themselves in the 29th minute.

[ image: Neil Ruddock and his team-mate attended a playboy function while in Romania]
Neil Ruddock and his team-mate attended a playboy function while in Romania
Marc-Vivien Foe was played through on the right, but instead of shooting he tried a weak pass to Di Canio, which was intercepted with the Italian offside anyway.

Moncur, who had already received a third European booking and second suspension, then shot from 25 yards, and when the goalkeeeper spilled Paulo Wanchope shot well wide.

But the Romanians were still in charge, and five minutes before half-time, Ciocoiu seized on a Wanchope mistake in midfield and found Rosu.

The midfielder slid his shot under Hislop's dive, and West Ham went into the break a goal down.

It could have been two soon after the interval, but Steve Lomas saved his side with a last-ditch tackle.

Two minutes after Cole's forced introduction, West Ham's deficit was doubled when Steve Potts presented Ilie with an easy chance.

The Hammers knew now that they needed an away goal lifeline.

Wanchope and Lampard came close on more than one occasion, with the recent England debutant having a header correctly ruled out for offside.


Steaua Bucharest: Ritli, Reghecampf, M. Baciu, Miu, Bordeanu, Duro, Lincar, Danciulescu, Rosu, Ciocoiu, Ilie. Subs: Hotoboc, Ogararu, Chiorean, Lutu, Luca, .. Baciu, Iordache.

West Ham: Hislop, Lomas, Potts, Ruddock, Ferdinand, Sinclair, Lampard, Moncur, Foe, Wanchope, Di Canio. Subs: Forrest, Carrick, Newton, Margas, Kitson, Keller, Cole.

Referee: C Bo-larsen (Denmark)

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