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Leagues: Europa Conference League

Scamacca opens West Ham account in Conference League win


Paris (AFP) – Gianluca Scamacca scored his first West Ham goal on Thursday to help secure a 3-1 win over Danish minnows Viborg in the Europa Conference League play-offs.

West Ham, who made the Europa League semi-finals last season, went into the game after back-to-back losses in the Premier League to Manchester City and Nottingham Forest.

But Italian international Scamacca, signed for £30 million from Sassuolo, eased the nerves by finding the target in the 23rd minute after being teed up by another new signing, Maxwel Cornet.

Jarrod Bowen added a second in the 64th minute before Viborg pulled one back through Jakob Bonde five minutes later.

Twelve minutes from time, substitute Michail Antonio scored a third for West Ham to put the Londoners on course for a place in the group stage.

Villarreal, who were Europa League champions in 2021, overcame an early shock to defeat Hajduk Split 4-2.

Stipe Biuk gave Hajduk a second-minute lead but the Spanish side quickly recovered and were 4-1 ahead by the break.

Jose Luis Morales, with a brace, a Marko Livaja own goal and a Gerard Moreno strike in first-half stoppage time put Villarreal in charge.

A Marco Fossati penalty five minutes from time, however, gave Hajduk a glimmer of hope of overturning the deficit in next week’s second leg.

Anderlecht, 32-time Belgian champions, came away from Young Boys in Switzerland with a 1-0 win secured by a Hannes Delcroix goal just before the hour mark.

Former Arsenal star Mesut Ozil was left on the bench as his Turkish side Basaksehir were held 1-1 by Antwerp in Istanbul.

Cologne, third in the Bundesliga after two games, lost 2-1 at home to Fehervar of Hungary.

Florian Dietz put the German side ahead after 15 minutes but they were reduced to 10 men five minutes later when Julian Chabot was red-carded.

Fehervar pounced with Budu Zivzivadze and Palko Dardai giving them the lead before the break.

In the Europa League, Hearts gave up a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Zurich but will start the second leg as favourites next week in their first European tie in six years.

The Scots went ahead through a Lawrence Shankland penalty after a foul on Australian international Nathaniel Atkinson.

However, the Swiss champions hit back with goals inside the space of two minutes.

Adrian Guerrero levelled with a 32nd-minute volley before Blerim Dzemaili added a second after being left unmarked.

“I thought we were outstanding tonight,” Hearts coach Robbie Neilson told BBC Scotland.

“We’ve come to the Swiss champions, who had a magnificent season last season with international players.”

Ferencvaros of Hungary were the biggest winners in the Europa League as Adama Traore scored twice in a 4-0 defeat of Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers.

Former Bournemouth and Watford striker Josh King scored an eighth-minute goal to help Fenerbahce to a 2-0 win at Austria Vienna.

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