Friday, July 31

Daily WHUFC News - 31st July 2015

West Ham United 2 AFC Astra Giurgiu 2

West Ham United were held to a 2-2 draw by Romanian side AFC Astra Giurgiu
despite Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate firing them into a two goal
advantage. The home side looked to be in pole position after Valencia opened
the scoring with a close-range header and Zarate scored a superb individual
goal early in the second half. But following the dismissal of James Collins
for two bookable offences, Astra Giurgiu made the extra man count and a fine
strike from Fernando Boldrin and a late own goal from Angelo Ogbonna means
the tie is wide open heading into the second leg in Romania next week. West
Ham United also suffered a major injury blow when Valencia was forced to
leave the field on a stretcher in the first half with a leg injury. With
Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins already serving a suspension in the
competition, manager Slaven Bilic cannot afford to lose any more of his
players as he prepares for the start of the new season. After a quiet
opening ten minutes to the game, the crowd soon got into life as Valencia
burst clear and played the ball into Cheikhou Kouyate who made a powerful
surge into the penalty box but the ball was just taken away from him at the
vital moment as the Astra defence cleared for a corner.

The home side came close again on 17 minutes when Payet's corner picked out
Zarate who saw his volley superbly blocked by the Astra defence. The ball
rebounded to the Argentine forward who saw his deflected shot just wide of
the post. It was not all one-way traffic and Astra Giurgiu alsio came close
to breaking the deadlock on 20 minutes when William De Amorim played the
ball to Filipe Teixeira who found himself unmarked inside the box and
drilled a powerful low shot which flew inches past the post. But it was West
Ham United who opened the scoring on 23 minutes and it was that man Payet
who played a crucial role in setting up the first goal.

The France international weaved his way into the area before picking out the
perfect ball for Valencia who made no mistake directing a header into the
corner of the net. Payet was now clearly in the mood and almost doubled West
Ham's lead on 27 minutes when he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the
box and fired a shot which flew just over the bar. O'Brien was booked for a
foul on Takayuki Seto and will now face a one match ban after picking up
three cautions in the competition this season. The West Ham defender was
then forced to leave the action on 34 minutes when he picked up an injury
and had to be replaced by Reece Burke.

There was more bad news for the home side sixty seconds later as Valencia
was then forced to leave the field on a stretcher after picking up a leg
injury. The injury looked unpleasant and he was taken straight down the
tunnel for further treatment. The Ecuador international had started the
game so well and seemed to be forging a great partnership with Payet, but he
was replaced by Modibo Maiga.

West Ham continued to push for a second goal and James Collins was unlucky
not to get on the scoresheet just before half-time when his glancing header
flew just over the bar. His centre half partner Ogbonna also came close to
getting on the scoresheet as his close-range header produced a fine save
from Astra keeper diving away to his left hand side. West Ham had a strong
finish to the first half and Zarate was unlucky not to get his name on the
scoresheet when his curling shot from the edge of the box was superbly
tipped away by Lung.

West Ham continued to create pressure on the Astra goal in the early stages
of the second half and Kouyate fired just over. But the home side were
finally rewarded for all their dominance when Zarate made it two in
spectacular fashion on 51 minutes. The Argentine forward showed his quality
once again when he skipped his way past four challenges and made no mistake
striking the ball into the back of the net for his first competitive goal at
the Boleyn Groiund. But the good luck ended there as West Ham United were
then reduced to ten-men on 58 minutes when Collins was sent off for a second
bookable offence for a foul on Budescu. The Wales international could not
believe his luck when Swiss referee Adrien Jaccottet pulled out the red
card. Astra almost pulled back a goal immediately when Mark Noble cleared
the ball off the line from Fernando Boldrin's corner on 63 minutes. But the
away side made their extra man count when Fernando Boldrin pulled the
Romanian team back into the game with a stunning strike on 71 minutes.
Boldrin picked up the ball unchallenged and fired an unstoppable shot which
sailed past Adrian into the roof of the net. Things went from bad to worse
for the Hammers on 81 minutes as Astra Giurgiu drew level after Ogbonna
could only slice a cross from the left hand side past his own keeper and
into the corner of the net.

Bilic was then given his marching orders in injury time and was asked to
leave the dug-out by referee Jaccottet. West Ham United will now have it all
to do in Romania next Thursday if they are to reach the play-off round in
the Europa League.

West Ham United: Adrian, Cresswell, Kouyate, Zarate (Jarvis 76mins), Noble
(c), O'Brien (Burke 36mins), Collins, Ogbonna, Payet, Valencia (Maiga 37
mins), Oxford

Subs: Spiegel, Nolan, Poyet, Samuelsen

Astra: Lung, Alves, Seto, Enache, Budescu (Lovin 90mins), Morais, Boldrin
(Dandea 87mins), Gaman, Teixeira, Quieros, De Amorim (Florea 76mins)

Subs: Gavrilas, Oros, Alves, Stan

New squad numbers for the 2015/16 season

The new shirt numbers have been announced for the 2015/16 season and summer
signing Dimitri Payet will be wearing the 27 shirt in his first season at
West Ham United. Fellow summer signings Pedro Obiang will wear 14 while
Angelo Ogbonna has been handed the 21 shirt.
Our latest new recruit Manuel Lanzini will be 28 while on-loan defender Carl
Jenkinson has changed his number from 18 to 12 this season.
Youngsters Martin Samuelsen and Stephen Hendrie will wear 42 and 33
respectively. The other big changes from last season see Enner Valencia
change to number 11 while Morgan Amalfitano will wear the 18 shirt.

Please note the following changes from last Season and shirt numbers
allocated to our new signings:

1 Darren Randolph
11 Enner Valencia (ex-31)
12 Carl Jenkinson (ex-18)
14 Pedro Obiang
18 Morgan Amalfitanto (ex-21)
21 Angelo Ogbonna
27 Dimitri Payet
28 Manuel Lanzini
33 Stephen Hendrie
42 Martin Samuelsen

West Ham 2 Astra Giurgiu 2
30 July 2015
Last updated at 22:05

West Ham's hopes of qualifying for the Europa League group stages suffered a
setback as they were held after leading 2-0 against Romania's Astra Giurgiu.
Goals by Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate put the Hammers in control of the
third qualifying round before James Collins's dismissal changed the game.
Fernando Boldrin pulled a goal back before Angelo Ogbonna headed past his
own keeper while attempting to clear. West Ham now face a tough test in the
second leg in Romania on 6 August. A section of home fans at Upton Park
vented their frustration by booing at the final whistle. The Hammers had
been control for almost an hour before Collins's red card turned the tie
upside down and left Slaven Bilic's side with it all to do next week.

Having required penalties to see off Birkirkara in Malta in the previous
round, West Ham are not making life easy for themselves in Europe. They
qualified for the Europa League through the Fair Play League but for the
second successive game they had a player sent off.
Collins, who had already been booked, would have had few complaints after
pulling Constantin Budescu's shirt in the 59th minute. The Hammers should
have been more than 2-0 up by that stage, Ogbonna and Mauro Zarate both
frustrated by keeper Silviu Lung Jr.As if losing a 2-0 lead was not enough,
West Ham lost goalscorer Valencia to what looked like a serious injury. The
Ecuador forward was carried off on a stretcher soon after falling awkwardly,
moments after defender Joey O'Brien had gone off with a suspected hamstring
problem. Valencia's powerful header had set the tone for a dominant Hammers
first-half performance before the hosts imploded.

Hammers blow two goal lead
West Ham 2-2 FC Astra: Enner Valencia injured and James Collins sent off for
Last Updated: 30/07/15 9:56pm

West Ham were held 2-2 at home by FC Astra in the first leg of their Europa
League third-round qualifier after blowing a two-goal lead and being reduced
to 10 men. On a disappointing night for the Hammers, Enner Valencia put them
in front in the 23rd minute, only to then be stretchered off later in the
first half. Mauro Zarate made it 2-0 shortly after the break but Fernando
Boldrin pulled a goal back for Astra after James Collins was dismissed. The
Romanians then levelled on the night through an Angelo Ogbonna own goal and
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic was sent to the stands late on. Bilic had named a
strong side, with Dimitri Payet shining for much of his debut, but he will
now be forced to do likewise in Romania next week - something he would no
doubt have wanted to avoid given West Ham open their Premier League season
at Arsenal three days later.

Despite their negative approach to the tie, it was Astra who almost took the
lead as former West Brom midfielder Filipe Teixeira saw his drilled effort
whistle inches wide of Adrian's goal. But it was the Hammers who opened the
scoring just moments later as Payet crossed for Valencia to nod home at the
back post at the mid-way point of the first half. The 25-year-old's first
game of the season came to a disappointing end as he was forced off injured,
with Modibo Maiga on in his place only minutes after Bilic had been forced
to shuffle his pack by introducing Reece Burke in place of the limping Joey
O'Brien. Payet was still the main attraction and he delivered a cross that
Ogbonna headed towards goal, only to see Silviu Lung make a tremendous
finger-tip save.

The Astra goalkeeper was at it again on the stroke of half-time, leaping
even further to his left to push away Zarate's curled attempt, but the
Argentinian defeated him five minutes after the restart, finishing coolly
after a jinking run. Bilic then saw Collins dismissed, a regular sight for
the manager in his early career in the Upton Park dugout, with Giurgiu twice
coming close as the West Ham defence readjusted. The visitors were still
pushing and with 20 minutes remaining they gave themselves hope of springing
an upset as Boldrin thrashed in a long-range effort off the underside of the
crossbar. The equaliser came in unfortunate fashion as Ogbonna hurled
himself at a hopeful cross, only to divert the ball past a despairing dive
from Adrian.

More controversy came as Maiga's claims for a last-gasp penalty fell on deaf
ears, with Payet booked for his remonstrations and Bilic sent from his
technical area for his own complaints - the Croatian also knowing his side
have it all to do next week.

West Ham 2-2 Astra: Hammers held after James Collins red sees two-goal lead
21:52, 30 JULY 2015
The Hammers were cruising at 2-0 up, but a James Collins red, plus injuries
to Enner Valencia and Joey O'Brien made it a night to forget for Slaven
The Mirror

Slaven Bilic must already be wondering if the Europa League was worth the
hassle for West Ham after all. Because, less than three rounds in, West Ham
have already picked up three red cards, had Bilic also sent off and seen two
players suffer potentially serious injuries.
And now they are facing an unwanted uphill task to reach the play-off round
three days before the start of the season next week after being held by
Astra Giurgiu in last night's third-qualifying round first leg. The Hammers'
Europa League woes continued last night when Enner Valencia, who opened the
scoring, was taken off on a stretcher a minute after right-back Joey O'Brien
limped off. James Collins then followed Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins by
being shown a Europa League red card. And Astra made the most of their
one-man advantage by staging a late fight-back to earn a draw to take back
to Romania. On the plus side for West Ham, £10.7m summer signing from
Marseille Dimitri Payet shone on his competitive debut. Payet, the most
creative player in Europe's top five leagues last season, continued where he
left off and set up Valencia's headed opener in a man-of-the-match Upton
Park bow. The Ecaudorian striker was forced off soon after after ending up
in a heap after a 35th mibyte challenge. Zarate made it 2-0 with a brilliant
solo goal in the 51st minute. But Collins was dismissed after being shown
two yellows in four minutes and Fernando Boldrin pulled a goal back before
Angelo Ogbonna's own goal levelled it up. Bilic being sent off for
complaining to Swiss referee Adrian Jaccottet rubbed salt into his wounds.

West Ham player ratings:
Adrian 6; O'Brien 5 (Burke 35), Collins 6, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 7; Noble 6,
Oxford 7, Kouyate 7; Valencia 7 (Maiga 36, 5), Zarate 6 (Jarvis 76, 5),
Payet 7. Spiegel, Nolan, Poyet, Samuelsen.


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