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EUROPA LEAGUE QUALIFYING: West Ham rely on penalties to edge past Birkirkara

West Ham United had to struggle before they scraped past Maltese minnows Birkirkara FC on penalties in Europa League qualifying.

The Hammers carried the 1-0 first leg advantage into the return bout in Malta, but it took just 15 minutes for the home team to cancel out the lead, which they kept for the remainder of regular time to force a shootout.

Centre-half James Collins couldn't check the run of Ellenton Liliu down the right channel and the eventual delivery was guided home by Fabrizio Miccoli.

Things got worse for the Hammers just minutes before half-time as James Tomkins was sent-off for pushing Nikola Vucanac.

The Londoners, who scored all five from the spot, eventually cemented their spot in the next round against Romanian side Astra Giurgiu when Diego Poyet converted the winning penalty for a 5-3 penalty shootout win.

Vyom Chaudhary
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Vyom Chaudhary

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