Thursday, July 9

Daily WHUFC News - FC Lusitans v West Ham United

Preview - FC Lusitans

The background

The Hammers head to the principality of Andorra for the second leg of their
UEFA Europa League first qualifying round tie against FC Lusitans on
Thursday. Holding a 3-0 lead from the first leg, the Hammers are odds-on
favourites to progress to a second round match-up against either Birkirkara
of Malta, or Armenia's Ulisses. A Diafra Sakho double in front of nearly
35,000 fans at the Boleyn Ground put the Hammers in command before half-time
last week. James Tomkins' second half header added a third and gave West Ham
the perfect start to the 2015/16 campaign.

For Lusitans to give themselves a chance, they will have to achieve
something they have never managed in their history – a victory in European
competition. Nine previous matches in the UEFA Champions League and Europa
League have yielded eight defeats and a draw. West Ham will be going all
out to extend that winless run to a tenth game.

The history

West Ham's trip to the Pyrenees gives an Andorran club side a first ever
opportunity to host a counterpart from England. West Ham last faced a
competitive away game in Europe nearly nine years ago, when Palermo secured
a 3-0 victory and sealed their progress in the UEFA Cup.

This is West Ham's seventh foray into European competition, with their
victory in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1964 ranking as one of the
Club's most significant achievements.

The Hammers also reached the final on the same competition in 1976, while
this campaign is their third in the UEFA Europa League, or UEFA Cup as it
was previously known.

Lusitans' continental pedigree is restricted to more recent years, They have
been knocked out in the first qualifying round of all of their four
campaigns to date across the Europa and Champions Leagues.

The match

Team news

West Ham United

The Hammers' squad will again contain a mixture of senior and younger
players, with a group of first teamers still on a training camp in Ireland.

Diafra Sakho notched twice in the first leg and will be keen to add to his
tally on Thursday. Should he play, Joey O'Brien will make his 100th
appearance for the Club.

Youngsters Josh Cullen, Reece Burke, Reece Oxford, Elliot Lee and Djair
Parfitt-Williams will all hope for another opportunity after featuring last

FC Lusitans

Experienced duo Oscar Sonejee and Edu Moya will both be looking for starts
after coming off the bench last week.

Sonejee is Andorra's most capped player, having turned out for his country
101 times, while Moya played in the Spanish top flight for Recreativo de
Huelva eight years ago.

Match facts

Thursday's match officials hail from Denmark, with 34-year-old Anders
Poulsen taking the whistle. As well as refereeing at the top level in his
native country, Poulsen also has previous experience in the UEFA Europa
League. He will be assisted by Henrik Larsen and Christian Brixen, while
Peter Kjaersgaard-Andersen will be the fourth official.
Should he be selected, Joey O'Brien will make his 100th appearance for West
Ham United on Thursday.
Diafra Sakho is already the Club's joint-12th highest scorer in European
competition following his brace last week. Another goal on Thursday would
propel him to joint-sixth in the list.
Lusitans have never won a game in European competition. Their previous four
home matches have brought them one win and three defeats, with two goals
scored and ten conceded.
Birkirkara, of Malta, or Ulisses from Armenia await in round two. The pair
drew 0-0 in the first leg.

The Club's principal partners Betway are again offering a huge range of
markets on the game. Check out their betting preview here.
Tickets, travel, weather and coverage

The game will be played at the Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella. Our travel
advice, including directions and other vital information can be found here.
West Ham United's allocation of 450 tickets for this fixture have all SOLD
The weather is set fair in Andorra la Vella for Thursday, with sun expected
all day and temperatures predicted to reach a high of 23C (73F).
Live text updates will be provided by and our social media
channels throughout the game.
Please note that alcohol will not be sold inside the stadium in accordance
with UEFA regulations.

View on the Opposition - Ivan Moure

What did you make of the first leg at the Boleyn Ground?

"Unfortunately I couldn't watch the first leg but I heard it was a
competitive game."

Which Lusitan players should we look out for?

"It's personal, and each person has a different opinion but for me, the two
best players are the two professional ones. At Lusitans, they're all amateur
except two, Edu Moya and Alfie Conteh, the goalkeeper is also a very good
player. In the first game, I heard he was very busy, I'm not surprised

What kind of game are you expecting tomorrow night?

"I wasn't at Upton Park but I think it will be similar game. I think West
Ham will keep the pressure and have lots of chances. But Lusitans are at
home so they have the home advantage and the supporters behind them."

How well known are West Ham United in Andorra?

"They are a popular team, of course, every Premier League team is. Everyone
who knows about football knows West Ham."

There was a bit of controversy in the last game, but Slaven Bilic will be in
the dugout tomorrow night, is that a good thing?

"For me I think it is important, it is the right thing to do. I defend the
words of Xavi Roura."

What do you think of Xavi Roura, is he a popular manager?

"Yes, he is. He was managing in Andorra for quite a few years, then he left
to coach in Barcelona. But now he is back. He's a prestigious trainer."

Just finally, what do you think the score will be tomorrow evening?

"(Laughs) I don't know, it could be anything! I think the fact West Ham are
using a lot of U21 players is dangerous because they want to impress the
manager. They want to demonstrate what they can do.

"Usually teams stop if they're two or three up, but I don't think that will
happen in this case, they'll want to get as many as possible."

FC Lusitans v West Ham preview: Hammers take healthy lead to Andorra
Last Updated: 08/07/15 8:35pm

West Ham head to Andorra on Thursday evening to face FC Lusitans in the
second leg of their Europa League qualifier. The Hammers entered in the
first qualifying round by virtue of topping the Fair Play League and hold a
3-0 advantage from the first-leg. A Diafra Sakho double in front of nearly
35,000 fans at the Boleyn Ground put the Hammers in command before James
Tomkins wrapped up the simple victory with a second half header.

FC Lusitans have been knocked out in the first qualifying round of all of
their four campaigns to date across the Europa and Champions Leagues. New
boss Slaven Bilic will once again be an on-looker as academy manager Terry
Westley takes charge.

Team news

The Hammers' squad will yet again contain a mixture of senior and younger
players, with a group of first teamers still on a training camp in Ireland.
Sakho should lead the line and fellow experienced squad member Joey O'Brien
will make his 100th appearance for the Club.
Youngsters Josh Cullen, Reece Burke, Reece Oxford, Elliot Lee and Djair
Parfitt-Williams will all hope for another opportunity after featuring last

West Ham in Andorra: What Europa League trip to Lusitans holds
By Tom McKeown
Last Updated: 08/07/15 8:28am

West Ham could face a capacity crowd for their trip to FC Lusitans on
Thursday night – of just 1,300 people. The Hammers travel to Andorra for the
second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie, having won 3-0 at Upton
Park last week against a team which was only formed in 1999. The sides meet
in the Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella, which only caters for a small
crowd but boasts an incredible Pyrenean backdrop.
Slaven Bilic already knows the stadium, having travelled there with Croatia
during qualifying for Euro 2008, when his side ran out 6-0 winners. The new
West Ham boss left academy coach Terry Westley in charge for the first leg,
drawing criticism from Lusitans coach Xavi Roura for not showing his side
respect. Westley may well again take charge for Thursday's match, and it's
unclear whether Bilic will travel to Andorra with the squad. If he does go,
he'll undoubtedly have a simpler journey than the 450 travelling Hammers
fans, who have to make their own way to the ground with no official travel
set up by the club.
Supporters either face a flight to the north-east of Spain before a
three-hour drive into the mountains, or a train journey from London to the
Andorran border before a bus journey through the Pyrenees. West Ham's squad
won't be the first Premier League players to perform at the stadium. Robin
van Persie scored twice against Andorra as the Netherlands won 2-0 in front
of 500 people to secure their place in the 2014 World Cup finals.
Tottenham's Michel Vorm, Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar and former Liverpool
forward Dirk Kuyt were involved that night too.
Meanwhile, Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady netted for the Republic of Ireland
as they also won 2-0 at the Estadio Comunal, with Shay Given, John O'Shea
and Shane Long also among those involved. Lusitans do not have a set
stadium, with the Andorran Football Federation organising fixtures from
their Primera Divisio among the four stadiums they own in the principality.
However, they will hope home advantage plays its part on Thursday night,
when they attempt to overturn their first-leg deficit to Bilic's side.

West Ham arrive in Andorra
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 8, 2015 in News, Whispers

The West Ham team coach left Barcelona around 10am UK time this morning for
their 4 hour trip to Andorra ahead of Thursday night's clash against FC

The club posted pictures of manager Slaven Bilic and Darren Randolph on
Instagram boarding a plane to Barcelona. They later posted a photo Reece
Burke boarding the Hammers team coach bound for Andorra.

Around 1.30pm UK time the coach crossed the border to Andorra where the team
will be staying overnight ahead of their 2nd leg Europa league clash.

Confirmed: West Ham line-up vs Lusitanos: Full debut for exciting Academy
midfielder Josh Cullen
Damien Lucas

West Ham United will hand a full debut to exciting Academy prospect Josh
Cullen in the second leg of their Europa League qualifier at FC Lusitanos.

The Hammers take a 3-0 lead into the first qualifying round second leg
against the Andorran minnows after a Diafra Sakho brace and James Tomkins
goal sealed a comfortable first leg victory.

New West Ham boss Slaven Bilic watched on from the stands last time out and
is expected to do so again despite travelling with the team to Andorra for a
match which is already all but over as a contest.

However, it represents the perfect opportunity to give some of the club's
promising youngsters a run out in a competitive fixture in difficult
conditions as Lusitans play on an artificial pitch and judging by the first
leg like a tackle or two.

West Ham were the first Premier League side to be back in competitive action
after qualifying for Europe through the FIFA Fair Play rankings.

The club announced tomorrow's team via its official Twitter feed on
Wednesday night.

There will be two changes with academy starlet Cullen replacing West Ham's
youngest ever player Reece Oxford in the heart of midfield while another
youth player, striker Elliot Lee, replaces the injured Mauro Zarate up

GK: Randloph

The Republic of Ireland 'keeper plays his second game for the club after
signing on a free transfer from Birmingham City. Didn't do anything wrong
and looked at home in his first match last week but literally had nothing to
do so was hard to judge his performance. His kicking was slightly suspect
last time out so he will be looking to improve that aspect.

LB: Page

Homegrown starlet and boyhood West Ham fan Lewis Page is in line for his
second game after an impressive performance on his debut. Page is known to
like a tackle and have something of a temper so he will need to be careful
in testing conditions as the Andorran minnows will be trying everything they
can to claw their way back into the game.

CB: Tomkins

Captain 'Tomka' looked sharp on his return to the West Ham side after a
long-term shoulder injury last season and will be hoping to lead by example
again after a hassle free first leg where he also grabbed a goal.

CB: Burke

The 18-year-old is fast becoming a permanent fixture in the Hammers team
despite his tender years. Didn't put a foot wrong in the first leg, was nice
and positive on the ball and rightfully keeps his place.

RB: O-Brien

Veteran of the side plays his 100th game for the club, a scenario that
didn't seem likely last season after he was frozen out under Sam Allardyce
and looked set for pastures new this summer. That may well still happen but
for now is a dependable and versatile performer with bags of experience
which they could need if Lusitans get a shock goal early on.

ML: Jarvis

Arguably West Ham's best player last week and another who has come in from
the shadows with a point to prove to new boss Slaven Bilic. There were no
signs of rustiness from the winger who is another expected to leave this
summer after a disappointing spell since his £10 million move from
Wolverhampton Wanderers. Expect him to be involved in the goals again.

MC: Poyet

Played the holding midfield role well last time after a shaky start. Academy
manager Terry Westley, who has been in charge of the Europa League squad and
preparations so far, called on the young midfielder to start playing more
killer passes so expect to see him looking for that defence splitting pass
more often this time out.

MC: Cullen

Swashbuckling central midfielder is in the mould of the likes of Joe Cole
and makes his full debut in Andorra. Brave as a lion and likes to be direct
and run at defences expect to see him involved in the thick of the attacking
action. He was so unlucky not to score with a brilliant curling which hit
the bar in the home leg.

MR: Amalfitano

The vastly experienced Frenchman will give that much needed experience to
help link up West Ham's attacks. One of the most skilful players on the
pitch he will trouble Lusitans' left back all game long and I wouldn't bet
against him getting an assist or two.

ST: Sakho

With two goals to his name already from the first leg, the exciting striker
has just 18 to go to hit his season target. He could well get a few of them
here as he should have scored at least a hat-trick at home. He is so
valuable to the Hammers, though, so expect to see him withdrawn around
half-time depending on how things pan out.

ST: Lee

Lee finally gets his long awaited chance to show what he can do from the
start of a match. A player fans have wanted to see more of for nearly a year
now he was unlucky not to score in the first leg and will be itching to get
that first competitive West Ham goal which will be the cue for comparisons
to legend Tony Cottee.

SUBS: Spiegel (GK), Westley, Knoyle, Oxford, Nasha, Parfitt-Williams, Brown.

Slaven Bilic to take charge of West Ham for the first time with new boss
sitting in the dug-out for Europa League trip to Lusitans
PUBLISHED: 19:06, 8 July 2015 | UPDATED: 19:11, 8 July 2015

Slaven Bilic will take his place in the West Ham dug-out for the first time
against Lusitans on Thursday night. The Croatian sat in the Upton Park
directors box for last week's first leg 3-0 win over the Andorrans. His
decision not to sit on the bench drew criticism from Lusitans manager Xavi
Roura who branded Bilic disrespectful. Bilic was not expected to travel to
Andorra for the Europa League qualifier second leg but has since decided to
make the trip. And academy chief Terry Westley, who took charge of last
week's clash, says Bilic will be in the dug-out on Thursday night. 'Yes, I'd
expect him to be on the bench,' said Westley. 'But it's nothing to do with
their manager's comments last week. There has never been a plan, as such.
'He's returned from the first-team training camp in Cork and he wants to see
players in a competitive game that gives them a chance before he makes major
decisions.' Forward Mauro Zarate, who started last week's clash, will miss
the rematch in Andorra with a slight groin injury. But Westley has confirmed
midfielder Josh Cullen, 19, will be handed his full debut against the
European minnows as the Hammers field another young team. Lusitans coach
Roura failed to turn up for his pre-match press conference and could face
punishment from UEFA as a result.

West Ham (4-4-2 - expected): Randolph; O'Brien, Tomkins, Burke, Page;
Amalfitano, Poyet, Cullen, Jarvis; Lee, Sakho


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