Spirited Hammers youngsters come up just short

West Ham United v Dinamo Zagreb – UEFA Europa League Group H – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 0-1 Dinamo Zagreb

West Ham United’s youthful line-up displayed plenty of endeavours but came up just short as Croatian outfit, Dinamo Zagreb ended the East Londoners unbeaten sequence in this seasons UEFA Europa League.

With qualification and top spot in Group H already secured, unsurprisingly David Moyes fielded an entirely different starting eleven to the one that had gone on to beat Chelsea in the Premier League at the weekend.

The Scotsman provided an opportunity for no less than five of his up and coming prospects. Jamal Baptiste, Emmanuel Longelo, Aji Alese, Harrison Ashby and Sonny Perkins were handed full debuts: “I’m nervous for them – I think that they’re fine,” Moyes explained.

“You’re always anxious because you want them to do well for their families and everybody’s who played the game and has made their debuts in their careers, it’s a big night for them and everybody so I hope it goes well for them.”

But in front of a 50,000-plus crowd, the start was far from perfect from the home side. Mislav Oršić brilliantly whipped an angled effort high beyond Alphonse Areola in only the fourth minute. The winger afforded too much room – The outcome, both exquisite and ruthless.

Ashby and Andriy Yarmolenko fashioned an opening for Perkins as the Hammers began to find their feet. On this occasion, the 17-year-old was unable to direct his header goalwards. Meanwhile, Areola raced from his goal to thwart Oršić’s advances as the contest continued to ebb, but hardly flow.

Dinamo skipper, Arijan Ademi nodded over from a good position after Daniel Štefulj had picked him out from the left, while Stefan Ristovski was wayward and Luka Ivanušec a whole lot closer as the Croatian double winners began to turn the screw.

Ashby almost caught out Dinamo stopper, Dominik Livaković with a dipping cross-come-shot from out by the touchline. Pablo Fornals also went close. His effort scrambled behind as the pendulum swung again.

Ariola dived to his left to deny Oršić as Dinamo started the second period on the front foot, while Hammers substitute, Said Benrahma found Livaković’s midriff as the hosts continued to attack sporadically.

Content with what they held, the game became somewhat pedestrian as Dinamo settled for possession and preservation. Their narrow victory saw them accompany West Ham to the next stage of the competition.

The Hammer return to Premier League action on Sunday, December 12 when they take on Burnley at Turf Moors (2pm).

West Ham United: Areola, Ashby, Baptiste, Alese, Longelo, Noble (Capt), Král, Yarmolenko (Potts 87′), Fornals (Benrahma 46′), Vlašić, Perkins (Forson 87′) Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Martin (GK), Coufal, Diop, Lanzini, Masuaku, Swyer

Booked: None
Goals: None

Dinamo Zagreb: Livaković, Šutalo, Théophile-Catherine, Perić, Ristovski, Ademi (Capt) (Bulat 71′), Gojak, Štefulj (Dilaver 80′), Ivanušec, Andrić (Jurić 64′), Oršić (Mišić 64′) Subs not used: Zagorac (GK), Čavlina (GK), Moharrami, Lauritsen, Tolić, Baturina, Dilaver, Menalo, Špikić

Booked: Stefan Ristovski (foul)
Goals: Mislav Oršić 4′

Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
Assistants: Stefano Alassio and Giovanni Baccini (both Italy)
Fourth Official: Daniele Chiffi (Italy)
Video Assistant Referee: Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)
Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Jérôme Brisard (France)
UEFA Referee Observer: Markus Strömbergsson (Sweden)
UEFA Delegate: Michał Listkiewicz (Poland)

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]