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Sakho eyes more Europa League wins

Match-winner Diafra Sakho said it was tough to break down Andorran club Lusitans in their 3-0 UEFA Europa League qualifying win on Thursday.

The Hammers’ first European fixture since 2006 saw them ease to a comfortable victory, as 16-year-old Reece Oxford made a record-breaking appearance.

Oxford became the youngest player to represent the London club, picking up a yellow card before Sakho’s quickfire brace before half-time of the opening leg of the first-round qualifying tie.

The Senegal international said he was pleased to get his tally ticking at the first time of asking.

“Two down, now 18 more for the 20,” Sakho told West Ham TV, revealing his 2015-16 target. 

“It’s important to win the first game at home. Every fan came to see the team play, and the young players did well for us today.

“It’s difficult to play against a team who every time play back, and so it was important for me to score the first goal. Every player is happy with the result, but we’re not finished because we also need to win next Thursday.

“We need to stay focused and go away to win at Lusitans. All the qualifying rounds are important – we want to have six games in this competition before the league starts, and now we have five more to win.”

Sakho credited Morgan Amalfitano and Mauro Zarate for their work in helping break down Lusitans, who are facing an early exit from the competition heading to the second leg in Andorra on July 9.

“Lusitans were strong in their play and every player had respect for them,” Sakho added.

“Zarate assisted the first, and Amalfitano the second. They are important players for passes and assists for me. 

“Today I’m happy that Mauro was back and it’s good for the striker to have two players like them assisting them.”

New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was presented to the Upton Park faithful on Thursday but watched from the stands with academy boss Terry Westley in charge on the bench.

Fri 3 Jul, 2015
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