West Ham United 2-0 Atalanta 

Saturday, 7th August 2021
by Staff Writer

West Ham lifted their first trophy of the season thanks to a goal each from Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals either side of the half time interval.

Both players struck in the final few moments of each half to secure a win for the Hammers in this year's Betway Cup clash to give the Hammers a morale-boosting victory ahead of next week's season opener at Newcastle.

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Star man: Said Benrahma enjoyed a thoroughly productive afternoon

After a quiet start Said Benrahma, who was named as Man of the Match went close to giving West Ham the lead on the half hour mark when he struck the crossbar with a fierce effort that had goalkeeper Musso well beaten.

Three minutes later the visitors should really have taken the lead when a cross from the left was met by the head of Pasalic, whose contact was poor and resulting header sent wide of the target.

And the visitors paid the price for that error when Antonio opened the scoring in the final few seconds of the half.

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Alphonse Areola made his first appearance since joining West Ham

A mistake in the Italian defence saw Benrahma seize possession on the edge of the box. The Algerian midfielder chose the right option as he found Antonio with a a clever touch which was superbly finished as West Ham's new number nine volleyed low and hard into the opposite corner.

The second half rarely failed to get the fans out of their seats being as it was spoiled by a succession of substitutes - 16 in total, six for West Ham and ten for Atalanta - although the Italians went close to equalising twice within 60 seconds on the hour mark with two efforts that only narrowly missed their intended target.

Meanwhile West Ham had to wait until the 70th minute for their first notable chance of the half which arrived via the head of Craig Dawson, who couldn't keep his effort under the bar.

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On target: Michail Antonio gave West Ham a first half lead...

Ultimately however it was the Hammers who were to grab that all-important, vital second goal through Fornals. Substitute Ryan Fredericks tore down the right flank before delivering a pinpoint cross to Said Benrahma, who headed towards goal.

The header appeared to be covered by Atalanta substitute 'keeper Sportiello - until Fornals intervened and lunged towards the ball, diverting it into the opposite corner to give the Hammers an unassailable lead.

It was perhaps the perfect end to pre-season for David Moyes' side who ended their pre-season programme unbeaten. Just a word of caution however - the last time that happened and the Irons faced Newcastle on the opening day of the season, they were relegated at the end of the 2002/03 campaign...

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...before Pablo Fornals clinched the winner

West Ham Utd: Fabianski (Areola 63), Coufal (Fredericks 63), Diop, Dawson, Cresswell, Rice (Noble 63), Soucek (Coventry 63), Fornals, Yarmolenko (Johnson 63), Benrahma, Antonio (Bowen 63)

Subs not used: Martin, Baptiste, Alves, Okoflex

Goals: Antonio (45+1), Fornals (89)

Atalanta: Musso (Sportiello 76), Gosens (Scalvini 76), Palomino (Demiral 56), Toloi (c) (Lovato 45), Djimsiti, Maehle (Del Prato 76), Freuler (Pessina 56), De Roon (Da Riva 82), Pasalic (Ghislandi 76), Miranchuk (Muriel 56), Piccoli (Zapata 56)

Subs not used: Rossi, Pezzella

Booked: Freuler

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Player Ratings


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Match Facts

West Ham United: , , , , , , , , , , .

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Atalanta: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: .

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Said Benrahma.