Europa League - Qualifying Second Round - 1st Leg
West HamWest Ham United1Birkirkara FCBirkirkara FC0

West Ham United 1-0 Birkirkara FC

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
West Ham v Birkirkara
West Ham United are competing in Europe for the first time since the 2006-07 season
  • West Ham take slender lead to Malta
  • James Tomkins scores 90th minute winner
  • Second leg on 23 July

James Tomkins scored a 90th-minute winner to earn West Ham United a narrow Europa League second qualifying round first leg lead over Malta's Birkirkara.

The Hammers dominated possession but failed to make it count until defender Tomkins chested home from a corner.

In front of a crowd of 33,048, Modibo Maiga hit a post for the hosts, while skipper Kevin Nolan went close with an acrobatic volley.

Birkirkara went closest through Liliu, the return leg taking place on 23 July.

Analysis: Former West Ham midfielder John Moncur on BBC Radio London
"West Ham have won a game which looked like being 0-0 by nicking a goal at the end. It will be a different game away from home. Birkirkara played like it was a cup final for them. Can they work that hard again? If West Ham had won 5-0 Slaven Bilic could have left his key men at home next week but now they will all have to go to Malta."

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic's side will have to perform better in Malta if they are to make sure of a place in the third qualifying round.

They made heavy weather of seeing off a team 318th in Uefa's club rankings - 200 places below West Ham.

Bilic made seven changes to the side that won against Lusitanos in Andorra last week, with experienced first-team players Nolan, Aaron Creswell and Winston Reid all returning.

But they lacked cutting edge and when one second-half move resulted in the ball being played back to goalkeeper Adrian, some sections of West Ham's support booed in frustration.

Mali forward Maiga could have had a hat-trick, the 27-year-old going closest when goalkeeper Justin Haber palmed his 27th-minute effort onto a post.

Maltese Cup winners Birkirkara defended in numbers and were minutes away from a memorable result when Tomkins struck.

Mauro Zarate's corner was missed by Haber, allowing Tomkins to chest over the line for his second goal in Europa League appearances this season.

West Ham v Birkirkara
West Ham United striker Modibo Maiga endured a frustrating game
West Ham v Birkirkara
Kevin Nolan (left) was one of several players recalled to the West Ham United side
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic
West Ham have won all three competitive games without conceding since Slaven Bilic was appointed manager in June


West Ham

  • 13Adrián
  • 17O'BrienBooked at 64mins
  • 2ReidBooked at 82mins
  • 5Tomkins
  • 3CresswellBooked at 69mins
  • 21AmalfitanoSubstituted forSamuelsonat 59'minutes
  • 16Noble
  • 4NolanSubstituted forPoyetat 79'minutes
  • 7Jarvis
  • 10Zárate
  • 20MaigaSubstituted forLeeat 70'minutes


  • 1Randolph
  • 19Collins
  • 23Poyet
  • 33Hendrie
  • 36Lee
  • 42Samuelson
  • 66Pike

Birkirkara FC

  • 16Haber
  • 6FenechSubstituted forZammitat 49'minutes
  • 15Vukanac
  • 5Mazzetti
  • 7Camenzuli
  • 19Zerafa
  • 24Muscat
  • 18LiliuSubstituted forPlutat 65'minutes
  • 22MuscatBooked at 38mins
  • 17MurgaSubstituted forAgiusat 45'minutes
  • 10Miccoli


  • 4Sciberras
  • 8Agius
  • 11Plut
  • 12Akpan
  • 13Zerafa
  • 20Zammit
  • 23Aquilina
Markus Hameter

Match Stats

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Thursday 16th July 2015

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