West Ham party spoiled by classy Juventus
PUBLISHED: 15:01 07 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:03 07 August 2016
Hammers striker Andy Carroll scores twice but it is not enough to stop Italians
West Ham 2 Juventus 3
The Hammers may have kicked off at the London Stadium with a Europa League victory over NK Domžale but today’s prestige friendly against the Italian champions was billed as the official opening.
And sadly they were destined to taste defeat in their new home as Andy Carroll’s determined double either side of the interval fell short thanks a trio of efforts from Italian snipers, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandžukić and Simone Zaza.
Three miles down the road from Green Street, the Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking stands were re-dedicated before kick-off and - four years on from the London 2012 opening ceremony – it was more Susan Boyle than Danny Boyle as the claret & blue fans in the record crowd of 53,966 were treated to rendition of the National Anthem plus a trademark firework blast.
Playing in an unfamiliar, yet striking, all-black Thames Ironworks commemorative kit, it was the Hammers, who created the first chance when Gianluigi Buffon’s careless throw-out led to Enner Valencia rocking the base of the Italian’s left-hand upright from a tight angle.
But having survived that scare, Juventus quickly strolled into a two-goal lead.
On 18 minutes, Dani Alves’ cross was nudged on by Mandžukić and Dybala hooked the ball past the stranded Adrian from eight yards.
And just three minutes later, Mandžukić took full advantage of a lack of awareness from Winston Reid to ghost in and slam a 10-yarder beyond the helplessly-exposed Hammers keeper.
In reply, Sam Byram sent a long-ranger inches wide but, on 33 minutes, the West Ham United defender sent over an inch-perfect left-wing cross onto Carroll’s head and, although Buffon brilliantly clawed away the striker’s point-blank header, he was powerless to prevent the alert Big Man from bundling the ball and Sandro over the line.
Just before the break, Carroll was in the thick of things again but, this time, he was back on his own goal line blocking a goal-bound effort as West Ham somehow survived a frantic scramble that also saw Adrian parry at point-blank range and the home crossbar rattled by Medhi Benatia as the Hammers somehow went off at the interval just one goal behind
Juventus replaced Mandžukić at the interval with Gonzalo Higuaín – their record £76m signing from Napoli –however, within seven minutes of the restart, it was £15m Carroll, who showed the Argentinian the way to goal, when he met Mark Noble’s deep right-wing free-kick with thumping far-post header.
Having made it 2-2, that was the cue for the towering striker to depart as young Ashley Fletcher entered the fray in a predictable flurry of substitutions for both sides that culminated in the arrival of Dimitri Payet for the final quarter-hour to a hero’s welcome.
By now, both sides resembled nothing like those that had kicked off and, with just five minutes left on the day the London Stadium had been officially opened, one-time Hammers target Zaza burst through the heart of the open Hammers defence to give the Italians victory with a well-taken 15-yarder.
HAMMERS: Adrian, Antonio (Payet 74), Byram (Page 85), Reid (Collins h/t), Ogbonna (Oxford h/t), Nordtveit, Cullen (Browne 83), Noble (Quina 59), Valencia (Samuelson 74) Feghouli (Burke h/t), Carroll (Fletcher 55). Unused subs: Spiegel.
JUVÉ: Buffon (Neto h/t), Benatia (Barzagli 59), Pjanić (Macek 78), Sandro (Kastanos 87), Mandžukić (Higuain h/t) Lemina (Lemina 78), Dybala (Pjaca), Asamoah (Hernanes 69), Alves (Untersee 59), Rugani (Chiellini 59), Pereyra (Zaza 69). Unused subs: Loria.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.