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Published: 20:17 | 25/8/16

Astra Giurgiu knock out West Ham


Silviu Lung Jr produced a goalkeeping masterclass, as Astra Giurgiu beat West Ham 1-0 at the London Stadium to knock the Premier League side out of Europe for the successive season.

35-year-old former West Brom midfielder Filipe Teixeira scored the only goal of the game to wrap up a 2-1 aggregate win and lead the Romanian side through to the Europa League group stages.

But Astra, who currently lie 11th in the 14-team Romanian top-flight, were indebted to Lung for this, the biggest win in their European history.

True, they beat the Hammers in the Europa League third-round qualifier last season, but West ham boss Slaven Bilic played youth-team players Kyle Knowle, Josh Cullen, Elliot Lee and Lewis Page in that tie as he showed his intention to focus on the Premier League.

This year, with a new 60,000 seat stadium to fill, both Bilic and the West Ham board demanded a European adventure. But such hopes were quashed by this brilliant smash-and-grab raid by Marius Sumudica's side.

It had all started so well for the Hammers, who dominated the opening 30 minutes in E20.

Jonathan Calleri wasted a huge chance on nine minutes, when he failed to beat Lung one-on-one after being set free by a sliderule Reece Burke pass.

The Argentine, who was representing his country at the Rio Olympics just 15 days ago, may still be adapting to the pace of English football but it was the 22-year-old's second bad miss in his last ten minutes of football at the London Stadium, after his injury-time chance against Bournemouth on Sunday.

Lung, the son of the Romanian goalkeeper by the same name who played against Ireland in the 1990 World Cup, was then forced into a sprawling stop to keep out a Pedro Obiang effort on 15 minutes.

Lung then almost gifted Calleri another chance on the half-hour mark, but the striker, on a season-long loan from Deportivo Maldonado, was unable to control the Astra goalkeeper's shanked clearance.

But as the half wore on, Hammers' manager Slaven Bilic grew more animated on the touchline at the way Astra's front two of Denis Alibec and Daniel Niculae were dragging his centre-back pairing of Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid out of position

And he was right to be so worried, as Astra scored a crucial away goal on the stroke of half-time.

And it was Ogbonna who must take at least some of the blame, the Italy international dragged left following a mistake from Sam Byram, which allowed Portuguese playmaker Teixeira space down the left channel to roll a cool finish past West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph .

West Ham laid siege to the Astra goal in the second half, with Lung brilliantly clawing out a mistimed Calleri header on 55 minutes, then Michail Antonio heading over seconds later from six yards.

And Lung, who was just a year old when his father played at Italia 90, then produced a brilliant point-blank save with his legs on 73 minutes to keep out an Ashley Fletcher shot on the turn.

And when Byram saw an 87th minute header at the far post drift inches wide of Lung's far post, the 56,932 crowd at the former Olympic Stadium knew that their hopes of a European odyssey were over, and they could put their passports away in the back drawer for another year.

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