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West Ham held in Austria

17 July 2017 National Sport

Last Updated: 17/07/17 8:17pm

West Ham started their pre-season campaign with a goalless draw against Sturm Graz II in Austria on Monday evening.

Pablo Zabaleta made his Hammers debut at right-back as Slaven Bilic gave every fit member of his squad a 45-minute run-out.

Sturm Graz II almost went ahead when the third-tier side had a goal disallowed for offside after eight minutes.

That close call sparked West Ham into life and young midfielder Nathan Holland went close, while goalkeeper Tobias Schutzenhaur twice denied Andre Ayew.

The hosts’ best chance fell to Romano Schmid but Adrian made a smart save to preserve his clean sheet.

Bilic made a number of changes at the break – with Aaron Cresswell taking over the captain’s armband – but the Premier League side could not find a breakthrough.

Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini looked bright but their Austrian opponents held firm to earn a draw.

West Ham face Sky Bet Championship side Fulham on Thursday evening as they continue their preparations for the new season.

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