An incredibly youthful West Ham side came up just short against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday, with the visitors holding on to a 1-0 win.
Even a senior defence wouldn’t have been able to stop Mislav Orsic’s scorching opener after just three minutes. Cutting in from the left, Orsic unleashed an outrageous strike which soared into the top corner.
In the first half, it was West Ham’s experienced forwards who underwhelmed. Their final ball to young striker Sonny Perkins left a whole lot to be desired and really limited the Hammers’ chances on goal.
The visitors were comfortable before the break and could have easily added a few more, only for some poor finishing to let them down.
Dinamo sat deep after the interval and invited pressure from West Ham, who showed a little more flair following the introduction of Said Benrahma, but David Moyes’ side found it hard to get anything going.
The hosts were visibly tired, but with Moyes prioritising resting his stars over a meaningless result here, the boss focused more on handing out debuts to academy stars than trying to actually mastermind a win here.
West Ham may have lost the match, but with the team already through to the Europa League knockout stages, Moyes will have been delighted with the emergence of some more home-grown stars at the London Stadium.
Alphonse Areola (GK) – 6/10 – Couldn’t do anything about Orsic’s opener and made a handful of smart saves to stop it being any worse.
Harrison Ashby (RB) – 7/10 – Looked confident at this level. Made a real impact at both ends of the field. Highlight was smashing the corner flag when attempting a clearance.
Jamal Baptiste (CB) – 6/10 – Quick across the ground and flashed glimpses of his potential, but looked a little shaky at times. Understandable.
Ajibola Alese (CB) – 7/10 – Moyes will have taken notice. Looks physically capable at this level and wasn’t scared to try some impressive passes.
Emmanuel Longelo (LB) – 6/10 – Bombed forward down the left and looked to be enjoying himself. Some great crosses.
Mark Noble (CM) – 4/10 – The oldest academy graduate looked a little leggy. Lost the midfield battle and took some awful corners.
Alex Kral (CM) – 5/10 – Strong in the tackle but found it tough against Dinamo’s three-man midfield.
Andriy Yarmolenko (RM) – 2/10 – Really off the pace. So underwhelming at both ends of the field. Perkins is coming for his spot.
Pablo Fornals (AM) – 5/10 – Lively going forwards but left a little to be desired in the final third. Surprisingly benched at the break.
Nikola Vlasic (LM) – 6/10 – West Ham’s best forward by a long way. Still a little underwhelming but looked like the only senior player who actually really wanted this.
Sonny Perkins (ST) – 4/10 – Flashed a really nice first touch but there was only so much he could do with absolutely zero help. This poor rating is on his team-mates, not him.
Said Benrahma – 6/10 – Looked lively and caused Dinamo a fair few problems with his dribbling.
Freddie Potts – N/A
Keenan Forson – N/A