Wednesday, March 29, 2017

West Ham 3 Lusitans 0: Sakho nets twice at start of Europa League journey

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 2 Jul 2015

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Diafra Sakho scored twice as West Ham eased to a 3-0 first-leg UEFA Europa League win over minnows Lusitans.

The Andorran side managed to frustrate their Premier League opponents until the 40th minute, when the previously profligate Sakho opened the scoring.

The Senegal international doubled his tally before the break and West Ham captain James Tomkins ensured the Londoners began their final season at Upton Park with the anticipated victory.

New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was introduced to a sell-out crowd before kick-off, but academy boss Terry Westley took charge of a team blending youth and experience on the night – including Reece Oxford, who became the club’s youngest ever player.

There was an early scare from the hosts when Sakho failed to clear a free-kick and Jose Manuel Romero scuffed wide.

Winger Matt Jarvis had plenty of joy down the Lusitans left, but his numerous dangerous deliveries went unconverted.

Sakho headed wastefully over following good work by Diego Poyet and Andy O’Brien in the 31st minute, while Reece Burke had an effort cleared off the line before West Ham’s pressure told.

Mauro Zarate embarked on a mazy run down the right and chipped the ball back for his strike partner to head home.

The duo combined once more in first-half stoppage time as Zarate’s cutback left Sakho with a simple finish.

Sakho turned provider with a deft flick on for Morgan Amalfitano to draw an early second-half save from Lusitans goalkeeper Gerardo, who was at full stretch to keep out an audacious 40-yard effort from the same player in the 50th minute.

Oxford sent a drive narrowly wide before Jarvis’ fine supply work was finally rewarded by Tomkins nodding in after 58 minutes.

Other West Ham youth products impressed the Upton Park faithful as the clock ticked down. Elliot Lee brought a sharp stop from Gerardo and set up fellow substitute Josh Cullen to rattle the crossbar in stoppage time.

 

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