Paris (AFP) – Gianluca Scamacca scored his first West Ham goal on Thursday to secure a 3-1 victory over Danish minnows Viborg in the Europa Conference League play-offs.
West Ham, who made the Europa League semi-finals last season, came into the game after back-to-back Premier League defeats to Manchester City and Nottingham Forest.
But Italian international Scamacca, signed for £30m from Sassuolo, eased the nerves when he found the target in the 23rd minute after being trapped by another new signing, Maxwel Cornet.
Jarrod Bowen added a second in the 64th minute before Viborg pulled one back through Jakob Bonde five minutes later.
With twelve minutes remaining, substitute Michail Antonio scored a third goal for West Ham to put the Londoners on course for a place in the group stage.
2021 Europa League champions Villarreal overcame an early shock to defeat Hajduk Split 4-2.
Stipe Biuk gave Hajduk a second-minute lead but the Spanish side quickly recovered and were leading 4-1 at the break.
Jose Luis Morales, with a brace, an own goal from Marko Livaja and a strike from Gerard Moreno in first-half stoppage time, put Villarreal in charge.
A Marco Fossati penalty five minutes from time, however, gave Hajduk a glimmer of hope to overturn the deficit in next week’s second leg.
Anderlecht, 32-time Belgian champions, returned from Young Boys in Switzerland with a 1-0 win secured by a goal from Hannes Delcroix just before the hour mark.
Former Arsenal star Mesut Ozil was left on the bench as his Turkish side Basaksehir were held to a 1-1 draw by Antwerp in Istanbul.
Cologne, third in the Bundesliga after two games, lost 2-1 at home to Hungarian Fehervar.
Florian Dietz put the Germans ahead after 15 minutes but they were reduced to 10 men five minutes later when Julian Chabot was shown a red card.
Fehervar pounced with Budu Zivzivadze and Palko Dardai giving them the lead before the break.
In the Europa League, Hearts surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Zurich but will start the second leg as favorites next week in their first European game in six years.
The Scots went ahead thanks to a penalty from Lawrence Shankland after a foul on Australian international Nathaniel Atkinson.
However, the Swiss champions fought back with goals in the space of two minutes.
Adrian Guerrero equalized with a volley in the 32nd minute before Blerim Dzemaili added a second after being left unmarked.
“I thought we were exceptional tonight,” Hearts manager Robbie Neilson told BBC Scotland.
“We arrived at the Swiss champions, who had a magnificent season last season with international players.”
Hungary’s Ferencvaros was the biggest winner in the Europa League, with Adama Traore scoring twice in a 4-0 loss to Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers.
Former Bournemouth and Watford striker Josh King scored an eighth-minute goal to help Fenerbahce to a 2-0 win at Austria Vienna.