Sunday, 3rd August 2014
Having emerged victorious from the clash with hosts Schalke - albeit via a penalty shootout - in yesterday's opening match of the two-day tournament, hopes were high for a good performance today against a Malaga side who opened their Schalke Cup campaign with a 3-1 win over Newcastle United.
Yet despite ultimately going down to two first half goals conceded within three minutes of each other, West Ham could have lost by a far greater margin such was Malaga's dominance during the closing stages.
And prior to that late, Spanish onslaught West Ham's goalkeeper - the Spaniard Adrian - had already saved a penalty, long before being forced to withstand a series of close range shots as the game began to bear more resemblance to a kick-around in the park than one featuring two professional outfits.
Largely responsible for that was the sheer number of inexperienced players West Ham were fielding by the final whistle; Amos Nasha, Danny Potts, Reece Burke, Danny Whitehead and Josh Cullen formed half of a team that was left chasing shadows in the closing stages.
Therefore it was something of a minor miracle that Adrian managed to refrain from conceding further, but a string of saves - combined with some dreadful finishing by Malaga - ensured the losing margin remained at just two.
West Ham had managed just one shot on target against Schalke 24 hours earlier - penalties excepted - and today they failed to create any whatsoever. Mauro Zarate looked competely lost leading the line and received barely any service, whilst youngster Whitehead - playing behind the Argentinian - failed to make an impact.
Even when Matt Jarvis managed to break through in the closing stages a heavy touch cost him the chance to shoot. It was that sort of day for West Ham and one in which further criticism was aimed at manager Sam Allardyce by his detractors.
The goals that won the game for Malaga came midway through the first half and within the space of just three minutes. Having ignored earlier warnings, West Ham allowed Ezequiel Rescaldani to fire into Adrian's bottom right hand corner with the (makeshift) defence stretched.
Still reeling from that strike, the Hammers fell further behind two minutes later when Luis Alberto finished a flowing move with a curling effort. When the same player was felled by new signing Carl Jenkinson in the box two minutes later, West Ham had their goalkeeper to thank for saving the day - although Alberto's spot kick was poorly struck.
As if defeat wasn't bad enough in itself, there was further bad news for Sam Allardyce as debutant Jenkinson was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring strain with an hour played. There is no news as yet to confirm the extent of the injury.
Next up for West Ham is the final game of pre-season at home to Sampdoria next weeked. Can West Ham finally get their first win (in normal time) of pre-season?
West Ham Utd: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Burke, Cresswell, Noble (c), Whitehead, Diame, Jarvis, Vaz Te, Zarate.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Kouyate, Lletget, Downing, Cullen, Lee, Nasha, Poyet, Potts, Fanimo.
Malaga CF: Kameni, Perez, Angeleri, Rescaldini, Samuel Sanchez, Juanmi (c), Rosales, Sergio Sanchez, Boka, Alberto, Recio.
Subs: Ochoa, Gamez, Weligton, Antunes, Camcho, Santa Cruz, Duda, Darder, Horta, Castillejo, Juanpi, Cousillas.
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Did not play.
Did not play.
Man of the Match: Adrian San Miguel del Castillo.
West Ham United
Adrian, Guy Demel, George McCartney, James Collins, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Mo Diame, Matt Jarvis, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll.
Goals: None .
Booked: Winston Reid 81 James Collins 90 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Subs not used: .
Booked: None booked..
Sent Off: None sent off..