In the curtain raiser friendly West Ham lost 2-1 to German outfit Werder Bremen at Upton Park.
In the opening 15 minutes of the game on August 2 the likes of Mauro Zarate, Diafra Sakho and Mark Noble showed spurts of creativity, while 18-year-old left back Lewis Page applied great tenacity to some crunching tackles.
The quality from a number of players in the early exchanges was rewarded when summer recruit Dimitri Payet did exactly what he was signed to do with an assist that set up Diafra Sakho to prod the ball past Felix Wieldwald.
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West Ham’s lead lasted barely a minute as Adrian made a mess of striker Anthony Ujah’s long-range effort.
Payet’s attempt to regain the lead with a curling strike failed to trouble Bremen’s Wiedwald in this free-flowing match on a glorious summer afternoon, with the nominal Betway Cup up for grabs.
In the space of 14 minutes the Hammers went from cruising to trailing. Confusion among the West Ham backline resulted in the ball falling to Ujah who finished confientally.
Again – like they did after Ujah’s first goal – the hosts responded well as Wiedwald reacted brilliantly to Zarate’s first time volley from the edge of the area.
Payet’s scuffed volley after 35 minutes showed that a top forward is a major priority for the remaining month of the transfer window.
Jannik Vestergaard and Ulisses Garcia could have found the net and piled more misery on the east Londoners as Bremen took control of the last 10 minutes of the first half.
Felix Kroos forced a spectacular save from substitute goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel that was worthy of appreciation from both sets of fans and kept the Hammers in the match.
Argentine playmaker Manuel Lanzini was making a good impression with some jinking runs at the Bremen backline – while his 25 yard free kick was well handled by Wiedwald in a dull second 45 minutes.
The home faithful jumped for joy after 79 minutes as Sakho rattled the net but it was only the side netting and the German visitors still remained ahead.
West Ham: Adrian (Spiegel, 45), Jenkinson (Collins, 45), Oxford (Poyet, 45), Tomkins, Ogbonna (Henry, 65), Page (Knoyle, 65), Kouyate (Amalfitano, 65), Noble (Cullen, 65), Payet (Lanzini, 45), Zarate (Maiga, 65), Sakho.
Subs: Howes, Nasha, Pask, Lee.
Werder Bremen: Wiedwald, Lukimya, Vestergaard, Fritz, Kroos, Garcia, Ujah, Bartels, Grillitsch, Eggestein.
Subs: Hajrovic, Pavlovic, Zander, Husing, Sternberg, Frode, Husic, Manneh