West Ham United vs Astra Giurgiu match report: Slaven Bilic sent off after Hammers throw away lead

West Ham United 2 Astra Giurgiu 2: Hosts toil with 10 men in their lurching quest to reach the Europa League group stage

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The Independent Online

West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic was sent to the stands after seeing his side let a two-goal lead slip, when they again toiled with 10 men in their lurching quest to reach the Europa League group stage.

Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate had put the home side in control of their third qualifying round tie against Astra Giurgiu but then James Collins became the third player to be sent off in five games under Bilic, who was also dismissed by referee Adrien Jaccottet in the closing stages.

The Romanian side made the most of their numerical advantage as Fernando Boldrin pulled a goal back. Then West Ham debutant Angelo Ogbonna scored an own goal to level the tie.

Bilic named a strong side, with Dimitri Payet impressing on his own debut, but he will now be forced to do likewise in Romania next week – something he might have wanted to avoid with a visit to Arsenal for their first Premier League fixture three days later.

Despite their negative approach, Astra almost took the lead as former West Bromwich midfielder Filipe Teixeira saw his drilled effort fly just wide. But it was West Ham who opened the scoring as Payet crossed for Valencia to head home at the back post at the midway point of the first half. However, the 25-year-old’s first game of the season came to a disappointing end as he was forced off injured. Modibo Maiga came on in his place only minutes after Bilic had been forced to introducing Reece Burke in place of the limping Joey O’Brien.

Payet then delivered a cross that Ogbonna headed towards goal, only to see Silviu Lung make a fine fingertip save. The keeper was on hand again on the stroke of half-time, leaping to his left to push away Zarate’s curled attempt.

But the Argentine defeated Lung five minutes after the interval, finishing coolly after a jinking run.

With both Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins in the stands still serving their respective bans for Europa League red cards, Bilic then saw Collins dismissed for a second yellow card after hauling down Constantin Budescu.

Giurgiu twice went close as the West Ham defence readjusted. The visitors kept pushing and with 19 minutes remaining Boldrin thrashed in a long-range effort off the underside of the crossbar.

The equaliser then came in unfortunate fashion as Ogbonna hurled himself at a hopeful cross, only to divert the ball past a despairing dive from his own keeper Adrian.

More controversy came as Maiga’s claims for a last-gasp penalty were turned down, with Payet booked for his remonstrations and Bilic sent from his technical area for his own dissent at the decision.

West Ham United Adrian, O’Brien (Burke, 36), Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Zarate (Jarvis, 76), Oxford, E Valencia (Maiga, 37), Payet.

Astra Giurgiu Lung, Queiros, Alves, Gaman, Morais Junior, Boldrin (Dandea, 86), Budescu (Lovin, 91), Seto, Enache, Teixeira, De Amorim (Florea, 77).

Referee A Jaccottet (Swit).

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