Astra Giurgiu strike late to hold West Ham to draw in Romania

West Ham suffered more jitters against Astra Giurgiu as they were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League playoff on Thursday.

The club's £20million record signing lasted just 35 minutes of his debut at Stamford Bridge on Monday before limping off.

Bilic is taking the Europa League seriously this season despite admitting it could affect their Premier League form.

You can remind yourself what happened in the two games by watching the short highlights videos below.

The Hammers face a two-legged tie against Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu, with the away leg on Thursday evening, as they bid to reach the group stages for the first time.

West Ham boss Bilic has promised Darren Randolph he'll get more of a chance to battle Adrian for the No.1 jersey than he did last season and, while the Republic of Ireland keeper didn't have the sternest of tests, he showed the confidence he got from the Euros is still with him.

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"Under the circumstances, with the pitch and the team we had out there, it's a good result", Bilic said. "I knew we were facing a very strong team who have one player who cost as much as our squad, but in the second half we were at the same level".

"For me they played a good game against Copenhagen at home and I know how good the teams from Romania can be". The Romanian league has been running for a few more weeks than the Premier League, but so far Astra have only managed a single win out of four games, conceding 6 goals along the way.

Astra beat the Hammers 2-1 in Giurgiu last season but are in some disarray this time around having lost several key players, while coach Marius Sumudica has been suspended for betting on matches.

They were beaten convincingly on their previous visit, trailing from the 36th minute and offering nothing in response and, even if the inexperienced team that they fielded was a factor, firstly there is no guarantee it won't be repeated and secondly, that was only one of three consecutive losses on their European travels, with the others occurring when close to full strength in Malta and Slovenia.

It is likely that Boro's game at West Ham would therefore move to Sunday, October 2, if the English side progress. I know there are many players from past year and a lot of global players.

West Ham has signed Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri on a season-long loan, soon after he competed for his country in the football tournament at the Rio Olympics.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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