West Ham at home already, Europa woe for Eder

London (AFP) – Cheikhou Kouyate scored twice as West Ham United beat Slovenians NK Domzale 3-0 to reach the Europa League play-off round in their first game at their new ground.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Slaven Bilic’s side won 4-2 on aggregate at London Stadium courtesy of Senegalese midfielder Kouyate’s first-half double and Algerian winger Sofiane Feghouli’s late strike.

Elsewhere, Portugal’s Euro 2016 final hero Eder was brought down to earth with a bump as his side Lille were eliminated by Qabala of Azerbaijan.

Formerly known as the Olympic Stadium, West Ham’s new 60,000-seater ground hosted the athletics events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

It has been converted to a football stadium at a cost of 272 million pounds ($362.7 million, 325.8 million euros), partly funded by the British taxpayer.

Thursday’s game was West Ham’s first as hosts since leaving Upton Park — their home for 112 years — at the end of last season.

They are due to officially open the stadium in a glamour friendly against Italian champions Juventus on Sunday.

With the stadium due to continue being used as an athletics venue, a retractable bottom tier of seating will be moved into place for West Ham’s matches and green fabric placed over the running track.

West Ham, missing the rested Dimitri Payet, took an eighth-minute lead when Kouyate flicked home left-back Sam Byram’s low cross from close range.

It made the Senegal international the first scorer at the ground and he added another in the 25th minute, toeing the ball in from Andy Carroll’s knock-down to register his first career brace in his 321st match.

– Spartak stunned –

Feghouli, a close-season signing from Valencia, made it 3-0 in the 81st minute by beating Domzale goalkeeper Axel Maraval at his near post.

West Ham open their Premier League campaign away to Chelsea a week on Monday.

In Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, Eder’s efforts to repeat his Euro 2016 heroics fell flat as Lille lost 1-0 to Qabala for a 2-1 aggregate defeat.

Lille had been held to a 1-1 draw at home in last week’s first leg with Eder watching on from the stands.

On Thursday he was handed a start by coach Frederic Antonetti, just 25 days after coming off the bench to score Portugal’s dramatic extra-time winner against hosts France in the European Championship final.

He played the full 90 minutes, but could not make his presence count as the Croatian Filip Ozobic got the only goal in the 34th minute for Qabala, who finished third in the Azerbaijan Premier League last season.

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  1. FPL August 5, 2016

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