Enner Valencia knee injury worries Slaven Bilic

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Slaven Bilic saw his 10-man West Ham let slip a two-goal lead and was sent to the stands on Thursday night - but he was left worried by a potentially serious injury to Enner Valencia.

Goals from Valencia and Mauro Zarate had put the Hammers in control of their Europa League third qualifying tie only for Romanian side Astra Giurgiu to stage a stunning comeback.

James Collins was sent off for a second yellow-card offence, becoming the third player sent off in five games this season, before the visitors hit back through a superb Fernando Boldrin effort and an own goal from debutant Angelo Ogbonna earned Astra a 2-2 draw.


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Bilic was also sent to the stands after appealing against a decision in injury time, but it was a knee injury to Valencia in the first half that left him more concerned than his side's performance or ill-discipline.

Valencia was starting his first game since returning from Copa America duty.

"I am worried to be fair," Bilic said after the game.

"And this is the reason I am unhappy tonight. I am not happy with the result of course but this is not as important as the injury. It looks serious but we won't know for sure until he has a scan."

With Andy Carroll still sidelined, the Hammers could be forced into the transfer market if their worst fears over Valencia are realised.

Another thing that Bilic needs to address is the discipline in his ranks as Collins followed Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins in picking up a red card this season.

The former Croatia coach, no stranger to a dismissal during his playing days, followed the Wales defender into the dressing room and admits the disciplinary record of his side needs to change - a statement made all the more ironic by the fact West Ham's very presence in this competition came through their Fair Play League standing.

"We gave three red cards in three rounds - it is too much," said Bilic.

"This one was totally different than the one in Andorra with Sakho or Tomkins in Malta. This was professional and it was too harsh to be fair but I can't blame the referee for the decision and I can't blame James Collins for that, the situation was very dangerous."

Talking about his own dismissal, Bilic added: "I just said to the referee that I wasn't very happy with the situation.

"If that (the second Collins booking) was a yellow card then a foul on Dimitri Payet was also a yellow and would have been that player's second yellow.

"I wasn't happy with that and I reacted with him (the referee). I didn't swear. He just said I couldn't shout."

"They (Astra) have a good result. If we play like we did in the first 60 minutes next week we definitely have a chance to go through, but if we are going to get another red card it is better we stay here."

Astra coach Marius Sumudica praised his side for their reaction to Collins' sending-off after they started tentatively in front of over 33,000 fans.

"We were a bit afraid at the beginning," he said.

"We expected a lot of pressure from the fans so we were a bit afraid. In the second half, especially after the red card, we did much better and we controlled the game and the result is a good one for us.

"We started believing in our chances when the red card happened - before then I was actually watching the opposing goalkeeper and he was time-wasting so this made me proud."

Despite coming from behind to collect a valuable draw, Sumudica still believes West Ham remain the favourites to progress ahead of next Thursday's second leg in Romania.

When asked if the result made his team the favourites, he said: "Definitely not.

"West Ham have a market value of £140 million - we have roughly £20 million, that is seven times as much.

"We have played one game so far and the pressure is actually on us because everyone thinks we are the favourites. 0-0 would be enough for us but it is wrong to think about it like that. The chance is 60 per cent to West Ham, 40 per cent to us."

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