Palermo 3 West Ham United 0 <i>(Palermo win 4-0 on aggregate)</i>: West Ham fail to pass Simplicio's examination

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The Independent Football

West Ham United's brief European adventure failed to distract from the club's domestic troubles last night as they went out of the Uefa Cup in Palermo. Alan Pardew's side lost 3-0 on the night to record an aggregate loss of 4-0, leaving the club to focus on talk of a takeover and its uncertain Premiership form since the arrival of the high-profile Argentinians, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

Pardew conceded afterwards that his team had been beaten by a top-class side. "Make no mistake, Palermo are a very good side although they had less possession than we had," he said. "They maximised their chances and I think Palermo have a very good chance in this competition. I am disappointed of course, but I think the draw was unkind to us."

With the Hammers needing to overcome a 1-0 first-leg deficit, Pardew opted to play with Carlton Cole, Marlon Harewood and Tevez up front. West Ham began in confident fashion and almost took the lead with five minutes played. Tevez struck a dipping volley which the Palermo goalkeeper Alberto Fontana palmed away.

Shortly after, Cole headed wide from Paul Konchesky's free-kick as West Ham continued to push forward. At the other end, David Di Michele tried his luck from distance but his shot was off target. Roy Carroll did well to save Fabio Simplicio's powerful effort.

West Ham had plenty of chances to take the lead before the break but found Fontana hard to beat. The Palermo goalkeeper stood tall to deny Cole's impressive attempt and his next save looked all the more impressive as he turned away Harewood's acrobatic shot. Seconds later it was James Collins' turn to be denied by Fontana.

Just as West Ham looked in control, Palermo scored. Eugenio Corini's free-kick from the left found Simplicio. whose right-footed shot from outside the area beat Carroll. The Hammers now trailed 2-0 on aggregate.

In the second half, Palermo picked up where they left off and could have extended their lead in the 53rd minute had Carroll not made a fantastic save from Cristian Zaccardo. West Ham replied with Cole latching on to Lee Bowyer's cross, but his header went inches wide.

West Ham's hopes of a comeback were finished shortly after the hour with Simplicio striking his second. Di Michele easily passed Gabbidon and found Simplicio inside the area - he lobbed the ball past Carroll and into the back of the net. Five minutes later, Palermo struck again with a fast break. There was nothing Carroll could do to save Di Michele's shot from close range.

Palermo: Fontana; Cassani, Zaccardo, Barzagli, Pisano, Diana (Dellafiore, 89), Corini (Guana, 78), Simplicio, Di Michele (Brienza, 85), Bresciano, Caracciolo. Substitutes not used: Agliardi, Tedesco, Parravicini, Capuano.

West Ham United: Carroll; Spector, Collins, Gabbidon, Konchesky, Reo-Coker, Bowyer, Mascherano (Benayoun, 68), Harewood (Sheringham, 68), Tevez, Cole (Zamora, 60). Substitutes not used: Green, Etherington, Mullins, Ephraim.

Referee: G Kasnaferis (Greece).

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