West Ham crashes out of Europa League group stage

West Ham dreams to reach the Europa League group stage were thwarted yesterday after Astra Giurgiu knocked them out in the qualifying round for the second year in a row.

 

After a 1-1 away draw last week, West Ham went behind when Filipe Teixeira precisely finished a swift counter-attack by the Romanian champions.

 

West Ham’s Jonathan Calleri and Winston Reid missed good chances and Ashley Fletcher went close after the half-time, but it was too late for them to win a goal from offensive Astra Giurgiu.

 

The home fans left the Premier League club’s new 60,000-seater ground within seconds of the full-time whistle, although the small pocket of Romanian supporters remained to celebrate with their jubilant players.

 

“The disappointment is massive,” said West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. “We didn’t play good in the first half or with desire as a team. We were second best.”

 

The Hammers’ exit from Europe’s secondary club competition leaves Manchester United and Southampton as the only English sides in Friday’s draw.

 

Both teams moved directly into the group stage after finishing fifth and sixth in the Premier League last season, above seventh-placed West Ham.

The draw takes place at 12:00 BST on Friday.

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