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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Ireland U19 international makes full debut as West Ham prevail in Europa League

A goal from Elliot Lee on his first Hammers start sealed a 4-0 aggregate win.

Josh Cullen made his full debut this evening (file pic).
Josh Cullen made his full debut this evening (file pic).
Image: Steven Paston

WEST HAM CONFIRMED their place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League with a routine 1-0 win over at Lusitans, despite being reduced to 10 men.

It was a special night for Ireland U19 international Josh Cullen, who made his full competitive debut for the Hammers.

The 19-year-old central midfielder, who came on as a substitute in the first leg, played 86 minutes before being replaced by fellow youngster Amos Nash.

Cullen, who was raised in raised in the Essex resort of Southend-on-Sea, was capped by England at U16 level before switching his international allegiance to Ireland.

Two other Irish players — Darron Randolph and Joey O’Brien — also featured on the night for West Ham.

The Premier League club were in control of the tie following their 3-0 win in the first leg and were never in danger of surrendering that comfortable advantage at Estadi Comunal d’Andorra la Vella.

There was some controversy as Diafra Sakho – who scored twice in the match at Upton Park - was dismissed just 14 minutes into Thursday’s clash following an incident with Lusitans defender Moises San Nicolas.

But a goal on his full debut for young forward Elliot Lee seven minutes later made the difference as West Ham wrapped up a 4-0 aggregate triumph.

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They will now face Birkirkara in the next round after the Maltese side claimed a 3-1 victory over Ulisses of Armenia.

The visitors had the better of the early stages, but were reduced to 10 men when Sakho saw red. The striker was sent off following an apparent altercation in the centre circle with San Nicolas.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, West Ham’s superior quality told in the 21st minute when winger Matt Jarvis flicked the ball in to Lee, who showed his composure to fire into the bottom-right corner.

The Premier League side continued to dominate without creating much and looked to have been pegged back when San Nicolas put the ball in the net for Lusitans in the 71st minute, only for the linesman to rule the goal out for offside.

The Londoners endured another close call in stoppage time, when first-leg goalscorer James Tomkins cleared off the line, but West Ham’s bid for first major continental trophy since their 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph continued in understated surroundings.

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