US Città di Palermo eased into the group stage of the UEFA Cup with a 3-0 home win over West Ham United FC. A goal in each half from Fabio Simplicio and a third from David Di Michele ensured the Italian side built on their 1-0 first-leg success and left them dreaming of surpassing their run to the Round of 16 last season.
While Palermo played with the confidence expected of a team currently third in Serie A, West Ham's elimination only compounds their early-season difficulties. It might have been a different story had they taken advantage of three chances to score shortly before Simplicio's opener on 36 minutes. After West Ham goalkeeper Roy Carroll produced a fine double save to deny Di Michele and Aimo Diana in the 21st minute, the English team fought back and Palermo's veteran goalkeeper Alberto Fontana outdid Carroll with three spectacular stops.
After keeping out a Marlon Harewood header, the 39-year-old then tipped behind Carlton Cole's shot before palming over a James Collins header as West Ham applied severe pressure on the hosts' goal. Having gone close, West Ham found themselves a goal behind as Brazilian midfielder Simplicio struck with a free-kick that took a deflection off Paul Konchesky on its way past Carroll.
Although Cole headed against the outside of the post early in the second period, the east Londoners' fate was sealed when Simplicio latched on to Di Michele's through-ball to score in the 63rd minute. Di Michele then switched from provider to scorer six minutes later as he netted the third goal himself.