West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has bemoaned the fact that his side have already received three red cards in five European matches this season, after defender James Collins was dismissed in their 2-2 draw at home to Romania's Astra Giurgiu.
Goals from Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate had given the Hammers a two-goal lead in their third qualifying round tie. But the match changed after Collins received a second yellow card for pulling Constantin Budescu's shirt in the 59th minute. Fernando Boldrin made it 2-1 before an own goal by Angelo Ogbonna meant that West Ham will have it all to do in the second leg on 6 August.
Collins' dismissal means the club has received a red card in each of the Europa League qualifying rounds this season, after striker Diafra Sakho was sent off against Andorra's Lusitanos and James Tomkins received a red card in Malta against Birkirkara.
Bilic said he was unhappy about receiving so many red cards so far in this campaign.
"We've had three red cards in three rounds, it's too much. It was a professional foul. I think the decision is harsh but I can't blame the referee," he said.
West Ham's red cards in Europe
Lusitanos v West Ham (9 July)
Birkirkara v West Ham (23 July)
West Ham v Astra Giurgiu (30 July)
With Astra earning two precious away goals into their second leg in Romania, West Ham will have a lot of work to do to progress. After the match Astra's coach Marius Șumudică said West Ham were still 60/40 favourites to progress, a notion that Bilic dismissed.
"What does that mean? They had a good result and they [next] play at home. If we play like we did in the first 60 minutes then we have a good chance to go through. If we're going to get another red card then it's better to stay here," he said.
West Ham travel to Astra for the second leg of the qualifying match on 6 August, just three days before the Hammers' first game of the new Premier League season away to Arsenal.