West Ham United U23s have tonight advanced to the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup for the first time in the competition's history.
Despite winning two of their three group games before the turn of the year, the Hammers faced an anxious wait to see whether that would be enough to advance after finishing as runners-up in Group B.
Leicester’s U23s 2-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb this evening ensured Dmitri Halajko’s side were among the two highest-ranked second place teams in the competition confirming their passage to the next round.
West Ham started their International Cup campaign back in September with a 1-0 victory against Valencia 'B' at Dagenham and Redbridge.
A month later they suffered a narrow 3-2 loss to VFL Wolfsburg II in a game which saw Winston Reid’s return to action, and with only one team from each group qualifying automatically, it left the Hammers with an uphill battle to make it through.
A superb 3-1 away victory at Brighton & Hove Albion U23s followed in the final group game, but it wasn’t enough to secure top spot in the group, leaving the U23s to rely on results going their way this evening.
With Leicester failing to amass a superior goal difference to West Ham in their match with Dinamo Zagreb, the youngsters in Claret and Blue have advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time in the competition's six-year history.
The potential quarter-final opponents for West Ham United U23s include Arsenal U23s; Derby U23s; Monaco II; Benfica 'B'; Swansea U23s; VFL Wolfsburg II; and one of PSG II, Liverpool U23s or Wolves U23s (depending on the result of a remaining game to be played Wednesday evening).
Further information regarding the Premier League International Cup quarter final will follow in due course.