Kalou's Boleyn delight

Salomon Kalou's love affair with the Boleyn Ground continued as the Ivory Coast scored an impressive 1-0 friendly victory over Italy.

The Chelsea forward has scored twice in four visits to West Ham United in the Premier League and enjoyed his trip to east London again on Tuesday evening.

The 25-year-old was in impressive form all evening, but it was Manchester City defender Kolo Toure who scored the only goal of the game, heading in Guy Demel's cross ten minutes after half time.

After being eliminated at the group stage at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the result will provide the squad with a massive boost ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, which begins with the visit of Rwanda on 3 September.


"It was a great result for us," Kalou told WHUTV. "It was great for us to keep up the spirit of the World Cup. To play a big team like Italy was a good test for us and we showed that we can beat great teams.

"It is a great stadium to play at and the pitch is amazing. You can use your skill on the pitch and I think playing here was a good experience for the boys. Italy was a great team, but we played our best and I'm glad we won.

"Obviously it was a good boost for us to beat Italy because they have great players. It will give us the confidence that if we believe in our ability, we can do a great thing."

While many of his team-mates jetted in from all over the world to play on Wednesday evening, Kalou had the luxury of travelling just ten miles down the District line to take part.

With that in mind, the Oume-born player said he would welcome the chance to play international football at the Boleyn Ground again in the future.

"Of course, when you play an international game and you know you don't have to travel, then that's the best thing! If you can stay in the same place and play with your national team, it's good.

"I would like it if we could play more friendly games here. There are plenty of Ivorians in London, but tonight there were more Italians. It was not easy to play in the midweek because people have problems to come because of working and stuff stopping them coming to the stadium.

"To play at West Ham, I thought it was a beautiful stadium and a beautiful game."