West Ham at home already, Europa woe for Eder

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West Ham United’s Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate celebrates after scoring his second goal during the qualifying third round second leg Europa League football match between West Ham United and NK Domzale at the London Stadium in east London on August 4, 2016. West Ham are playing their first competitive match at their new home, the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, against Slovenia’s NK Domzale in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. AFP photo

West Ham United’s Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate celebrates after scoring his second goal during the qualifying third round second leg Europa League football match between West Ham United and NK Domzale at the London Stadium in east London on August 4, 2016. West Ham are playing their first competitive match at their new home, the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, against Slovenia’s NK Domzale in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. AFP photo

LONDON: Cheikhou Kouyate scored twice as West Ham United beat Slovenians NK Domzale 3-0 on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to reach the Europa League play-off round in their first game at their new ground.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Slaven Bilic’s side won 4-2 on aggregate at London Stadium courtesy of Senegalese midfielder Kouyate’s first-half double and Algerian winger Sofiane Feghouli’s late strike.

“We’re not going to go over the moon because of the level of the opponent, but for a stage like this, we played really good,” said Bilic, whose side will learn their play-off round opponents in Friday’s draw.

Elsewhere, Portugal’s Euro 2016 final hero Eder was brought down to earth with a bump as his side Lille were eliminated by Qabala of Azerbaijan.


West Ham manager Bilic added: “It was a good atmosphere, loud. You can hear them, you can feel them.

“There’s no point comparing it to Upton Park. It’s a totally different thing. But it’s a really good atmosphere.”

Formerly known as the Olympic Stadium, West Ham’s new 60,000-seater ground hosted the athletics events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

It has been converted to a football stadium at a cost of 272 million pounds ($362.7 million, 325.8 million euros), partly funded by the British taxpayer.

Thursday’s game was West Ham’s first as hosts since leaving Upton Park — their home for 112 years — at the end of last season.

They are due to officially open the stadium in a glamour friendly against Italian champions Juventus on Sunday.

With the stadium due to continue being used as an athletics venue, a retractable bottom tier of seating has been moved into place for West Ham’s matches and green fabric placed over the running track.

Spartak stunned
West Ham, missing the rested Dimitri Payet, took an eighth-minute lead when Kouyate flicked home left-back Sam Byram’s low cross from close range.

It made the Senegal international the first scorer at the ground and he added another in the 25th minute, toeing the ball in from Andy Carroll’s knock-down to register his first career brace in his 321st match.

Feghouli, a close-season signing from Valencia, made it 3-0 in the 81st minute by beating Domzale goalkeeper Axel Maraval at his near post.

West Ham open their Premier League campaign away to Chelsea a week on Monday.

In Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, Eder’s efforts to repeat his Euro 2016 heroics fell flat as Lille lost 1-0 to Qabala for a 2-1 aggregate defeat.

Lille had been held to a 1-1 draw at home in last week’s first leg with Eder watching on from the stands.

On Thursday he was handed a start by coach Frederic Antonetti, just 25 days after coming off the bench to score Portugal’s dramatic extra-time winner against hosts France in the European Championship final.

He played the full 90 minutes, but could not make his presence count as the Croatian Filip Ozobic got the only goal in the 34th minute for Qabala, who finished third in the Azerbaijan Premier League last season.

Eder, 28, spent the second half of last season on loan at Lille from Swansea City before making the move permanent in May.

An 89th-minute goal by Ivan Trickovski earned Cypriots AEK Larnaca a shock 2-1 aggregate win over Russian giants Spartak Moscow, who had been poised to go through on away goals.

Finland international Teemu Pukki scored a hat-trick as Danish side Brondby overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit with a 3-1 home win over German representatives Hertha Berlin.

AFP

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