Panathinaikos FC v West Ham United
Fussballplatz, Kitzbuhel, Austria
Friday 23 July 2010
There goes the final whistle. Another game, another win for Avram Grant. The summer stay in Germany/Austria has gone very well and the Hammers will head home at the weekend on a real high. Pablo Barrera and Frederic Piquionne will add to the feelgood factor next week when West Ham United go to MK Dons and Ipswich Town on Wednesday and Saturday respectively.
Full time - Panathinaikos 0-1 West Ham United
90min - A quick counter and Montano only just misses Stanislas's cross. We are deep into two minutes added time here.
90min - Outstanding from Diamanti in a defensive position. Just as Vyntra tried to work an opening in the area, the Italian timed his challenge well before a bit of skill eased the danger.
90min - Last minute here and the Hammers might just pull off another victory. Excellent work all round has been the order of the day, with the defence standing firm. Hitzlsperger will take the headlines with his goal but the return of Scott Parker is another major plus.
88min - McCarthy had done well to head clear Ninis's shot after the corner. Ninis then had another go and it ran through to Kurucz. Good pair of hands again from the keeper.
87min - Fry is penalised to the left of the Hammers area. ANother chance for Ninis to attack the goalmouth with a free-kick. The ball hits two players and runs out for a corner. That was close. 'Focus' shouts Keen from the bench.
86min - Spence clears another Greek ball into the area. They are pushing hard and the Hammers forwards have seen little of the ball. This is a rearguard action for the young Hammers. Montano is penalised for a late foul.
84min - Diamanti squares up to Vyntra. The Italian was unhappy with that challenge.
82min - Kovac does well to deny Ninis, just as the youngster shaped to shoot.
81min - Brilliant tackle from Sarrigi denies Dyer as he surged forward. He had been played through superbly by a defence-splitting pass from Diamanti.
80min - Fry clears the danger from Ninis. The Greek side seem to be gaining the upper hand as we enter the final ten minutes.
79min - Yellow card to Kovac for a foul on Dimoutsos.
78min - Petropoulos gets another shot away and this time it deflects off Fry for a corner. McCarthy does the job at the near post and the danger is cleared. There is a big onus here on the likes of Dyer, Kovac, Diamanti and McCarthy to help the younger lads. The Greek side are vastly more experienced.
77min - Great save Kurucz from Petropoulos's low shot. He was not to know that the Greek substitute had been flagged offside.
75min - Understandably the game has become a little disjointed. The Hammers fans are still in good voice, singing Twist and Shout. I have primed the PA announcer to play the Beatles' version at the final whistle.
73min - More changes. Tomkins is off for Fry, Da Costa is off for Spence and Noble is replaced by Cristian Montano. The Colombian youngster is the most advanced, just ahead of McCarthy.
72min - A little period of pressure involving Ninis, ends with Da Costa glancing the ball into Kurucz's hands. Not sure how much the imposing centre-back meant that.
70min - Diamanti sends one that looks like it is going to the top corner before Marinos blocks. The corner from Noble is comfortably claimed by Karnezis.
69min - Stanislas fires in a cross from the right but Sears cannot get in front of his marker. The ball is cleared.
67min - Haris Mayrias is coming on for Panathinaikos. Leto makes way.
65min - The match has to settle down again. The changes have disrupted what flow there was.
63min - The Hammers are lining up with McCarthy just off Sears. Daprela has gone to left-back while Diamanti and Stanislas will support the attack from the wide positions.
61min - Diamanti only just misses out on finding Noble with a deep cross. Antonis Petropoulos is on for Rukavina and Robert Vyntra is on for Josu Sarrigi. For us, Ilunga is coming off for Fabio Daprela, Boa Morte is coming off for Junior Stanislas, Cole makes way for Benni McCarthy and Freddie Sears replaces Faubert.
60min - It is a very overcast evening now and the floodlights are not helping to lift the gloom too much. The brand new Macron away kit is looking the part though and the Hammers are still unbeaten in it in this their third match of the summer.
59min - Foul by Ilunga allows Simao to cross. He pings it across the penalty area but no one can get there in time.
57min - Panathinaikos will be playing in the UEFA Champions League this year after theri Greek double triumph last season. They also were superb in a 3-1 win against VfL Wolfsburg earlier this week. Ninis, fresh from the FIFA World Cup, shows his class with a long-ranger that just goes wide.
56min - Cole misplaces a pass just as Diamanti threatened to beat the offside trap. It is pretty even stuff this half.
55min - David Coles barks out support for Kurucz. The coaching staff are constantly talking to the players, with Coles, Groves and Kevin Keen all making their presence heard. Manager Grant surveys the scene and looks deep in concentration.
54min - Dyer upends Ninis. A chance here for Panathinaikos to put pressure on Kurucz. Young prodigy Ninis takes but the ball is well claimed by Kurucz.
53min - Dyer looks lively in the full-back role. It is a position he knows well from his Newcastle United and England days.
52min - Cole tries to launch an attack down the right wing. He is supported by Dyer but the Greek defenders do their job well.
50min - Spyropoulos wins a corner with a deflected effort of Dyer. The ball is crossed in and Da Costa rises majestically to head clear. Another corner is soon won by the Greek side but this time Cole does his job at the near post.
48min - The fans are weighing in with the banter. They are all having a good time. Panathinaikos are trying to build slowly. Bjarsmyr, Gabriel and Cleyton have all made way for Sotoris Ninis - the young star of Greece - Glin Dimoutsos and the experienced Giourkas Seitaridis.
47min - Faubert continues in his advanced role to the right of Cole. Diamanti is in the advanced left-hand position and Boa Morte has switched to central midfield.
46min - The Hammers get us under way. Peter Kurucz has replaced Marek Stech while further forward Radoslav Kovac, Kieron Dyer and Alessandro Diamanti are on for Danny Gabbidon, Scott Parker and Thomas Hitzlsperger. Dyer has gone to right-back with Tomkins in the centre now alongside Da Costa.
You will have to bear with me in this second half. There will be plenty of changes so apologies in advance if it all gets a bit confusing at times. I am watching this game in a little wooden hut on the halfway line but half the pitch is obscured by a cameraman.
Half-time - Panathinaikos 0-1 West Ham United
45min - The half-time whistle sounds. Well done West Ham United. If you get the chance to see Hitzlsperger play against RC Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday 7 August, you should be there. The midfielder looks the part and has shown early signs of a good understanding with Noble and Parker.
45min - Da Costa rises above everyone else in the area to head away a Leto corner. The former Liverpool man's delivery was good but Da Costa was not letting that one past.
44min - Avram Grant will be delighted with the way his team have stuck to the task in this half. They have been competitive and stuck to the task from the first whistle.
42min - 'Well done Hitz' is heard and rightly so. The German midfielder has been a revelation since the moment he has arrived. His first goal was just reward for his positive play in all three pre-season matches.
42min - GOAL! - Hitzlsperger scores with a low free-kick from 18 yards. Boa Morte touched it to him and Der Hammer did the rest.
41min - Tomkins does brilliantly to advance to the edge of the penalty area from the right wing. He was taken out just as he was about to cross, giving a free-kick chance for Hitzlsperger.
40min - Parker tries to find Faubert on the left wing but the pass is too strong. The No8 and reigning Hammer of the Year is doing well to find space in the crowded centre of the pitch.
39min - Good feet from Gabriel works a shooting opportunity. His 20-yard shot skims the turf and into Stech's grateful grasp. Good hands from the Czech Under-21 keeper.
38min - Cole gets a chance to head for goal but his effort never troubled Karnezis. Ilunga, seconds before, had nearly tricked his way past two defenders and into the box before a desperate lunge saved the day for the Greek side.
36min - Faubert and Boa Morte have swapped wings. Hitzlsperger just does a lovely feint in midfield to pass his opponent. Despite the conditions, he looks class.
35min - Parker, Hitzlsperger and Noble look a good midfield three. They are trying to play one-touch football whenever they get the chance.
34min - This time it is Cole who is penalised for jumping too strongly against Simao.
33min - Ilunga leaves Marinos on the floor with what looked a high boot. He has not shirked one challenge.
32min - Still too many passes are going astray from both sides. The conditions are having a huge impact on the teams' attempts to play a passing game.
31min - Boa Morte and Ilunga are up for this. They are marshalling the left-side with strong tackles that leave nothing to chance.
30min - Stech has been the busier of the two keepers and has coped well with the slippery surface. We are playing with the Premier League ball, by the way. Another stoppage, this time for a Noble foul on Cleyton.
29min - Pablo Barrera will join up with his new team-mates on Monday, ahead of the Wednesday trip to MK Dons. That's when Frederic Piquionne may well make his debut, and the World Cup quartet of Robert Green, Jonathan Spector, Matthew Upson and Valon Behrami could come back into contention.
28min - Boa Morte is being urged to push on by Groves. The Hammers have not been able to find a way through yet, however. The Greek side look very well organised.
26min - Well done Da Costa. The Hammers had been crowded out in midfield after a promising move. A quick counter saw the Greeks surge forward but the Portuguese defender times his tackle well.
25min - There is quite a sizeable crowd here now and most have thought to bring an umbrella. Very wise decision. We have had a succession of Panathinaikos throws here.
24min - Noble deflects the retaken free-kick and it loops up a Greek attacker and just bounces wide of Stech's left-hand post.
23min - Gabbidon clears a crossed ball. The Wales defender has looked strong this summer. Foul by Boa Morte on Gabriel gives the Greek champions a free-kick right on the edge of the area. Gabriel takes it and Noble blocks by running out too quickly. No yellow card to Noble, though.
21min - Still the rain comes down. The squad had about a 90-minute drive to get here from their Bavarian base in Grassau.
20min - Corner ball after Hitzlsperger's drive is deflected wide by Josu Sapriggi. Noble to take. Come on you Irons rings out. Excellent headed clearance from Stelios Marinos.
19min - Foul by Simao on Hitzlsperger. Neither side has really clicked as demonstrated by an offside call against Herita Ilunga. No, I stand correction. Free-kick to the Hammers after a foul on Boa Morte. The ball is back in midfield.
18min - Lovely pass from Hitzlsperger out to Faubert. The move eventually breaks down with a chipped ball from Cole. The striker is being paid close attention and has not had much of a look-in just yet.
17min - Da Costa blocks again. The Hammers then get a period of possession in midfield.
16min - Foul on the halfway line by Faubert on Sebastian Leto.
14min - An important touch from Da Costa as Mattias Bjarsmyr tries to start an attack. Someone has a drum and is banging out a good beat. No vuvezelas here thankfully.
13min - Some security guards have forced the Greek fans to put out their flares. Fun's over lads. Bubbles is still being sung while Paul Groves hands out instructions to Noble and Luis Boa Morte.
12min - Lovely 25-yard effort from Noble that just was just tipped wide by Karnezis. From the resulting Noble corner, Tomkins gets clattered in the face and requires treatment.
11min - Another offside, this time against Ante Rukavina. The game is a bit scrappy, perhaps understandably given the conditions.
10min - Some Greek supporters on the far side have lit a bright pink flare. Meanwhile, the Hammers fans just keep on singing Bubbles.
9min - Danny Gabbidon executes a great sliding tackle to deny the dangerous Gabriel. The same attacker is then just inches away from hooking the ball away from Stech. Cole is clattered into by Christos Melissis. The No9 is going to have a physical contest this evening.
7min - Dangerous cross from left-back Nikos Spyropoulos but no Panathinaikos player can get on the end of it. A quick counter from the Hammers sees Cole just fail to get to a ball that runs into the grateful arms of Orestis Karnezis in the Greek goal.
6min - The pitch seems to be holding up well despite the constant rain. The referee will have to keep a close eye on it, though.
5min - Tomkins clears well from Gabriel's cross. The youngster is playing at right-back, the position he finished in last week's game against VfL Borussia Monchengladbach.
4min - Offside Cole. The advancing Parker had fed Noble, but the resulting pass through to the England striker was just too late.
3min - It looks like Mark Noble is playing in an advanced midfield role, in support of Carlton Cole, who already has two goals from two games this summer.
2min - Good save Marek Stech. It was a deep cross from Cleyton that nearly just crept under the crossbar. Manuel da Costa then rose highest to clear the resulting corner.
1min - We are under way with the Greek champions taking the kick-off. Bear with me here as the view is not the best. Early foul from Julien Faubert gives the Greek side a chance to play the ball into the penalty area.
6.25pm: Captain Scott Parker leads the teams out to the sounds of Eye of the Tiger. We have already had Bubbles played here by our hosts.
Panathinaikos: Karnezis, Sapriggi, Rukavina, Mglissis, Leto, Bjarsmyr, Gabriel, Marinos, Simao, Sypropoulos, Cleyton
Subs: Galinovic, Ninis, Mayrias, Stambolziev, Vyntra, Seitaridis, Petropoulos, Katsouranis,Machlelis
West Ham United: Stech, Tomkins, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Ilunga, Parker, Hitzlsperger, Noble, Faubert, Cole, Boa Morte
Subs: Kurucz, Spence, Daprela, Fry, Montano, Edgar, Stanislas, Sears, Diamanti, McCarthy
Welcome to tonight's second friendly of the club's pre-season training camp in Germany. We are actually just across the border in Kitzbuhel, Austria and the bad weather has followed us to this picturesque stadium. The rain is bucketing down and there has been some doubt about this game going ahead. A strong starting lineup has been named with Julien Faubert being tried in an advanced wide right position and Scott Parker making his first appearance this summer.