U17s in Japan - Day One


  • West Ham United began their J-League Challenge campaign with two wins from two
  • They beat Renofa Yamaguchi and V-Varen Nagasaki to ensure qualification to the semi-finals
  • The Hammers face Gamba Osaka tomorrow in their final group fixture

West Ham United U17s qualified for the semi-finals of the J-League club challenge with two victories from two on day one.

The youngsters made the 12 hour trip to Japan a day prior, but that didn't seem to affect them as they made it through to the semi-finals with a game to spare.

The Hammers kicked off the group stage in Osaka with a hard-fought victory over Japanese side Renofa Yamaguchi.

It was a warm day at the J-Green Sakai facility, but the youngsters showed terrific resolve to fight back from a goal down and earn a crucial three points.

Yamaguchi took the lead within the opening 15 minutes. A misplaced Ben Johnson pass allowed the opposing striker a route to goal and he duly obliged, firing past Joseph Anang. 

But Danny Searle's players responded brilliantly and stuck with their possession game, which enabled them to frustrate their opponents. 

Their equaliser was created down the left hand side after great work from Reece Hannam and Amadou Diallo. Diallo crossed for Sean Adarkwa who finished excellently into the top corner.

Bernardo Rosa gave the Hammers the lead just before half-time - again, Hannam was involved in the build-up, squaring for the Brazilian who found the bottom corner with great accuracy.

They could have added to their lead in the second half, particularly when Jeremy Ngakia struck the crossbar, but the Hammers picked up a well-deserved three points going into their second group fixture.

The team remained unchanged going into the next game against V-Varen Nagasaki, with Searle keeping faith with the same eleven from the start, although changes were to be expected with the demands of two 70 minute matches on the same day.

The Hammers were imperious in the first half scoring three unanswered goals, and they could have easily scored more.

Diallo gave them the lead with a neat finish from a Ngakia cross before Adarkwa scored his second of the tournament with a delightful chip over the Nagasaki keeper.

Hannam gave Searle's men some breathing space just before half-time, finishing well after a jinking run and 3-0 was how the game finished.

The Hammers next opponents are Gamba Osaka, who will join United in the semi-finals regardless of the result tomorrow. The match kicks off at 2:30am BST on Wednesday morning.

West Ham (v Renofa Yamaguchi): Anang; Johnson, Mingi, Wells, Hannam: Coventry, Rosa (Dalipi); Ngakia, Watson (Chesters), Diallo; Adarkwa. Subs not used: Sanneh, Forson, Okotcha, Ashby, King.

Goals: Adarkwa, Rosa.

West Ham (v V-Varen Nagasaki): Anang (Sanneh); Johnson (Forson), Mingi (Ashby), Wells (Okotcha), Hannam: Coventry (Wells), Rosa (Dalipi); Ngakia (Chesters), Watson, Diallo (King); Adarkwa (Ngakia). 

Goals: Diallo, Adarkwa, Hannam

Bookings: Johnson.