Napoli nick it

West Ham United 0-1 SSC Napoli

West Ham United went down to a single goal defeat as Napoli lifted the Bobby Moore Cup.

Italy international Fabio Quagliarella's brilliant header with 12 minutes remaining sealed the win for the visitors, who were reduced to ten men late on. On the day the new Sir Trevor Brooking Stand was opened, West Ham were punished for not converting several clear-cut chances, but will go into the season with optimism after a spirited performance.

Gianfranco Zola had no new injury concerns so named a strong starting XI. Julien Faubert started at right-back, Scott Parker returned in midfield, while new signing Luis Jimenez made his first appearance at the Boleyn Ground.

Captain Matthew Upson led the teams out and once they were lined up, guests of honour Sir Trevor Brooking and Stephanie Moore were introduced to the players. A minute of applause was also held in memory of Sir Bobby Robson, with the 1,200-strong travelling supporters joining the home fans to create a crescendo of noise.


In the glorious sunshine in east London, Napoli set about continuing their impressive pre-season form, which has seen them win three and draw one of their warm-up games. After just 48 seconds Ezequiel Lavezzi showed a statement of intent with a shot that flew over the crossbar that would no doubt have impressed the watching England head coach Fabio Capello.

Five minutes later another forceful break saw Quagliarella break down the left touchline before turning James Tomkins and driving a shot that crashed into the back of fellow forward Lavezzi.

West Ham began to show their attacking intent as the front-three of Jimenez, Kieron Dyer and Carlton Cole started to link up with some short, sharp passing. Dyer won a free-kick on the left. Jimenez took it, and his drilled ball across the six-yard box was just inches away from being converting by Tomkins' outstretched leg.

Dyer's forceful running was causing the Italians some concern, and he won another free-kick right on the edge of the Napoli penalty area. Jimenez stepped up once more but his free-kick hit the wall. Napoli continued to carry a threat, though, and Faubert had to be at his best to thwart the visitors as he made a superb interception just as Quagliarella seemed destined to score.

Ten minutes before the break, Cole played a delightful ball into the path of Parker and, after taking a quick look up, the Hammer of the Year opted to take it first-time and blasted a right-foot shot narrowly wide of the far, top corner. Luca Cigriani became the first player to be booked after a late lunge on Collison shortly before the break.

After finishing the first half on top, the Hammers started the second in the same vein. Mark Noble was the first to come close as his spectacular effort from the edge of the area was just off target before substitute James Collins, on for Tomkins at half-time, hit a free-kick high and wide.

Parker had an even better chance minutes later when he rounded Morgan De Sanctis to give himself a clear sight of goal from the angle. Sadly, the West Ham No8 lost his footing just at the crucial moment and the chance went begging.

Collison was the cautioned for a challenge on Lavezzi before Napoli made their first three changes as Hugo Campagnaro, Manuele Blasi and Christian Maggio replaced captain Gianluca Grava, Michele Pazienza and Leandro Rinaudo. Gianfranco Zola, managing against the team where he first made a major impact as a player, made two more substitutions of his own a short time later, with Jonathan Spector and Savio replacing Faubert, who had enjoyed an impressive afternoon at right-back, and Dyer.

Junior Stanislas was the next replacement to be called up, replacing Jimenez before Blasi picked up his first booking for a foul on Savio on 77 minutes.

Napoli took the lead with 12 minutes remaining when a hopeful ball into the box from right wing-back Maggio was met expertly by Quagliarella, who twisted his neck to loop the ball over the stranded Green.

It was to be the striker's final contribution to the match as he soon replaced by Erwin Hoffer, while West Ham introduced Danny Gabbidon in place of Upson for the defender's first home appearance since December 2007.

Blasi received his marching orders for a second booking following a dangerous, late tackle on Ilunga. West Ham continued to probe in the closing stages, with Collins powering a header too close to De Sanctis from Noble's right-wing corner.

The match provided an entertaining spectacle for the 21,364 inside the Boleyn Ground and their attendance helped raise £42,728 for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK.

West Ham United begin their Barclays Premier League campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers next Saturday.