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Stunning double from Diafra Sakho has West Ham cruising

By Mark Bryans

Published 03/07/2015

Star in the making: Reece Oxford set a new record
Star in the making: Reece Oxford set a new record

Diafra Sakho struck a brace in front of a watching Slaven Bilic as West Ham eased to a routine victory over Europa League first qualifying round opponents FC Lusitans.

Plenty has changed at Upton Park in the last 12 months but the constant that remains going forward is the goal-threat of striker Sakho - who shone in this 3-0 win.

The contest was played just 39 days since the end of both the previous Premier League season and Sam Allardyce's reign in east London.

The 25-year-old joined the club last year and, despite ending the season on the treatment table, he finished the campaign with 10 league goals - by far the best offering from anyone in claret and blue.

It was that late thigh injury that meant Sakho lined up for the Hammers in this battle, as a number of fresher players selected by academy manager Terry Westley, who was in charge as new boss Bilic opted to watch from the stands after receiving a heroes' welcome before kick-off.

And the Croatian saw Sakho score twice in the five minutes before half-time, with skipper for the evening James Tomkins heading a third against the Primera Division minnows.

Sakho was not the only first-team regular involved as Tomkins captained a side which also contained Joey O'Brien, Morgan Amalfitano, Matt Jarvis and Mauro Zarate - back in the fold after ending last season on loan at QPR.

But the fans will have to wait a little longer to see big-name summer signings Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet.

New recruit Darren Randolph started in goal however, Reece Oxford was arguably the main attraction for the sold-out Upton Park crowd, the 16-year-old becoming the youngest first-team player in the London club's history.

The second leg takes place on July 9.

West Ham: Randolph, O’Brien (Cullen  60), Tomkins, Burke, Page, Amalfitano, Poyet, Oxford, Jarvis, Zárate (Parfitt-Williams 74), Sakho (Lee 62).Subs: Spiegel, Westley, Knoyle, Nasha.

Lusitanos: Rubio Ortuno, Acosta, Maciel Antunes, Munoz, San Nicolás, San Nicolas (Moya Cantillo 45), Soares Booked (Sonejee 54), Dos Reis, Molina, Aguilar (Conteh-Lacalle 45), Romero Ballus.  Subs: Pires Azevedo, Moreira, Fernendes, Benitez.

Man of match: Diafra Sakho. Referee: Vadim Direktorenko (Latvia).

Belfast Telegraph

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