05 Aug A Cheikhou Kouyate double sealed victory for @whufc_official
A Cheikhou Kouyate double and a maiden strike for Sofiane Feghouli crowned a historic night for West Ham United at the new Stadium after the side secured progression to the play-off stages of the Europa League.
Slovenian side NK Domzale were downed by Senegal midfielder Kouyate’s first half brace before Feghouli struck in the final ten minutes to record a 4-2 aggregate victory over two legs in east London.
In a first half the Hammers dominated, the opener came as a result of a slick move. Skipper Mark Noble released Enner Valencia who, twisting and turning, laid back to full-back Sam Byram.
First time, Byram slid the ball across goal for Kouyate to push past the goalkeeper and give the hosts a lead seven minutes into the tie.
And he was at the double 17 minutes later, prodding home to extend Slaven Bilic’s side’s lead. Andy Carroll started the move, feeding Michail Antonio who came racing down the right-hand-side.
The full-back, standing up a cross to the back stick, found Carroll again, who cleverly knocked down for the Senegal international to finish.
The visitors were limited to half-chances and pot shots, their best coming after half an hour. Zan Majer struck well from 20 yards but saw his effort clear the crossbar.
Having never even scored a brace before, it was so nearly a hat-trick for Kouyate moments later. Antonio again was quick out the blocks, but his square pass across the six-yard-box – on a plate for Kouyate – was excellently cut out by right-back Alvaro Brachi.
From the resulting corner, Valencia didn’t connect properly with a volley as it sailed well over, but a minute before the break, it was a different story for Antonio. His first time volley flew inches wide before the referee brought things to a halt.