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July 30, 2009

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Boa Morte blow for Hammers

WEST Ham United's Luis Boa Morte was taken to hospital for a scan after suffering a knee injury in the 0-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the opening match of the Premier League's Asia Trophy in Beijing yesterday.

The 31-year-old Portugal midfielder collapsed in agony after tangling with Spurs left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto nine minutes into the match. He had a brace fitted to his right knee before being taken off the Workers' Stadium pitch on a stretcher.

"He's gone to hospital for a scan and hopefully it's not too serious," West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola told reporters. "It's a big blow for me. He's a big player on and off the pitch."

Tottenham was the sharper of the two London rivals and Jermain Defoe's 75th-minute goal was enough to send it through to tomorrow's final against Hull City, which beat Beijing Guo'an 5-4 on penalties after its match finished deadlocked at 1-1.

Spurned chances

Defoe, who spurned several chances, held off the challenge of Julien Faubert and his shot from the edge of the area trickled past Robert Green and over the line, although the England goalkeeper should have kept it out.

"It was a terrific workout," said Spurs manager Harry Redknapp. "Defoe looked so sharp it was only a matter of time before he got one ... The midfield was excellent today. We controlled the middle of the park."

Redknapp said he was looking forward to bringing Monday's new signing, England striker Peter Crouch, into the team but that he had not yet necessarily finished spending.

"If I need to improve the squad again before the start of the season, I will do," he said.

While the Spurs already had two tough matches against Barcelona and Celtic under their belts from the weekend Wembley Cup tournament, it was the first serious pre-season outing for West Ham, which looked sluggish on a hot evening.

"I wasn't expecting anything more really," said Zola, whose side will now play Beijing tomorrow. "I'll use it to identify problem areas. I'll use it as a positive."

Hull survived a huge scare in the second match of the evening with the hosts dominating after Geovanni's superb ninth-minute strike was cancelled out by Beijing's Cameroonian defender William Paul Modibo in the 47th minute.


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