Hammers to face International Cup holders Porto in group stages

Hammers to face International Cup holders Porto

West Ham United’s U23s will this season face reigning champions FC Porto in the group stages of their Premier League International Cup campaign.

The Portuguese giants, who were crowned tournament winners for the second consecutive season when they beat Arsenal in the final in May, will travel to London to face the Hammers in Group A.

Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb will also offer Terry Westley’s side a stern test, while Southampton are the second English club drawn in the east Londoners’ group.

Last term marked West Ham’s first involvement in the competition, and they will hope to this campaign battle towards progression from the opening round after last season’s early elimination.

Semi-finalists Villarreal were winners against the Hammers in London, and so too were Benfica and local rivals Tottenham Hotspur as they beat what were extremely youthful West Ham starting XIs.

While Porto are experts in the competition, south coast outfit Southampton are taking part for the first time. The Saints play their league football in Premier League 2 Division 2, a level below the Hammers’ Division 1.

Zagreb, meanwhile, impressed in last season’s edition, topping their group before coming unstuck at runners-up Arsenal at the quarter-final stage.

Dates for the fixtures are yet to be confirmed.