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Soccer

Astra Giurgiu: West Ham United's European bogey team

In sport, there are teams that clearly have the number of their opponents. Somehow, Romanian side...



Astra Giurgiu: West Ham United...
Soccer

Astra Giurgiu: West Ham United's European bogey team

In sport, there are teams that clearly have the number of their opponents.

Somehow, Romanian side Astra Giurgiu can say that about West Ham United. The London side have been knocked out of the Europa League now in the previous two seasons by the team from the Romanian-Bulgarian border.

On Thursday night, following a 1-1 draw in Romania, Astra's Filipe Teixeira scored just before half-time in the London Stadium to send the Romanian side into the group stages of the Europa League.

Over the 180 minutes, West Ham failed to score a goal from open play as Mark Noble's goal in Romania came from the penalty spot.

The Romanian side also knocked West Ham out of the Europa League last year.Picture by: Stephen Pond / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Astra currently lie in 11th place, after five games in Romania's Liga I. Despite winning the league last season for the first time, they lost to FC Copenhagen in the Champions League qualifiers, before moving down to the Europa League.

Last season, West Ham qualified for the competition through the Fair-Play rankings and used youth team players on their way to losing to Astra on away goals at the same stage.

This season, as the team begin life in their new stadium, a substantial European run, would have been seen as a great way to cap off a maiden season. That journey ended in August.

Could West Ham United and Astra Giurgiu become one of the most unlikely European rivalries of recent times?

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