Saturday 10 December 2016

Hammers slip to Domzale defeat

Domzale 2 West Ham Utd 1

Published 29/07/2016 | 02:30

Sofiane Feghouli (L) in action against Alvaro Brachi (R) Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images
Sofiane Feghouli (L) in action against Alvaro Brachi (R) Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images

West Ham endured a chastening defeat by Slovenian minnows NK Domzale in their Europa League third-round first-leg qualifier at Stozice Stadium.

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Even with England striker Andy Carroll at the spearhead of a strong line-up, the Hammers came off second best against a club who were making their first appearance in Europe.

Slavin Bilic, who watched from the stands as he served the second game of his two-match touchline ban, saw Mark Noble pounce from the spot while the superb Matic Crnic scored both of Domzale's goals.

The rivals meet again in next Thursday's second leg at the Olympic Stadium where West Ham, who only avoided a 3-1 final scoreline when Adrian made a brilliant late double save, will demand a substantial improvement.

Andy Carroll (R) in action against Marko Alvir (L) (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images)
Andy Carroll (R) in action against Marko Alvir (L) (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images)

Bilic gave debuts to Havard Nordtveit and Sofiane Feghouli, but any pre-season optimism evaporated when they fell behind inside the opening 11 minutes. Nordtveit handled the ball in the area when a shot appeared to strike the underside of an arm and Crnic rifled home a sharp penalty.

Domzale's lead did not last long, however, as Axel Maraval clattered into Winston Read from behind, sending the defender sprawling, and Noble was on target from the spot. Chances fell at both ends with Crnic missing the best of them. He made amends four minutes into the second half when Michail Antonio was out of position, enabling Crinic to charge in and slot a low shot past Adrian.

Pedro Obiang (L) in action against Lucas Horvat (R) (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images)
Pedro Obiang (L) in action against Lucas Horvat (R) (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images)

Irish Independent

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