A late equaliser from Denis Alibec had restored parity in last week's first
leg of the qualifying play-off, leaving Slaven Bilic's men with nervy memories
of last year's exit at the hands of the Romanian minnows.
And the Premier League side were left to rue a host of missed opportunities
in the return game as Filipe Teixeira's strike late in the first-half settled
the tie to prompt a chorus of boos from home supporters, as West Ham fell at the
final hurdle before the group stages.While it had come from Astra's first
serious attack, it was no more than the visitors deserved in an opening 45
minutes where they had hassled and harried West Ham.
The hosts saw chance after chance go begging in the second period, but could
not force a crucial goal against a side that had shipped five in the league at
the weekend, superfly v
black cleat meaning Bilic has to pick up the pieces after a
humbling way to exit the competition.
Bilic's star man Dimitri Payet was again missing, while Mark Noble also sat
out, and his team made a slow start in their absence.When a first chance adidas x
sliver did come in the ninth minute, Jonathan Calleri could not magista obra
black cleat get the ball out from under his feet as he ran through,
allowing Silviu Lung to smother.
The Astra goalkeeper had to be rather more impressive to beat away Pedro
Obiang's low drive, but, despite a few nervy moments for the visitors, the home
side continued to struggle.
And, on the stroke of half-time, Bilic's men fell behind.
A counter-attack arrived at Daniel Niculae's feet and he waited long enough
for the support of Teixeira, who coolly tucked a finish under Darren Randolph to
become the first opposition player to score at London Stadium in a competitive
fixture since West Ham switched to their new home ahead of this season.
West Ham started the second-half stronger, with Angelo Ogbonna nodding into
Lung's hands before his team-mates squandered two marvellous opportunities.
As in the opening period, Calleri failed to connect properly from a great
position, this time with his head, allowing Lung to parry, and Michail Antonio
then stormed onto a powerful Sam Byram cross but directed over.
Cheikhou Kouyate volleyed wide before another headed chance arrived as ace 16+ purecontrol
cleat Winston Reid angled an effort way off target.
It was starting to become apparent that West Ham's profligacy was going to
cost them and Ashley Fletcher then surrendered the best chance yet, controlling
Ogbonna's mishit to spring a fine stop from Lung with his close-range
The outstanding Lung tipped Enner Valencia's free-kick away and likewise
denied Fletcher from range as he clung on to a clean sheet and another