Boa Morte blow in Beijing

BEIJING - West Ham United's Luis Boa Morte could be out of action until 2010 after suffering knee ligament damage in the club's 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League's Asia Trophy on Wednesday. The 31-year-old Portugal attacking midfielder collapsed in agony after tangling with Spurs left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto nine minutes into the match and was stretchered off with his leg in a brace. "West Ham can confirm that Luis Boa Morte could be out until 2010 after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee," the club said on their website. He will undergo further tests to determine whether surgery is required. Manager Gianfranco Zola told reporters. "It's a big blow for me, he's a big player on and off the pitch." Tottenham were the sharper of the two London rivals and Jermain Defoe's 75th-minute goal was enough to send them through to Friday's final against Hull City, who beat Beijing Guoan 5-4 on penalties after their match finished at 1-1. TERRIFIC WORKOUT Defoe, who spurned several chances, held off the challenge of Julien Faubert before his tame shot trickled through the grasp of England goalkeeper Robert Green. "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." Redknapp said he was looking forward to working with Monday signing Peter Crouch and 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 players 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, who looked sluggish on a hot evening. "I wasn't expecting anything more really," said Zola, whose side will now play Beijing on Friday. "I'll use it to identify problem areas. I'll use it as a positive." Hull survived a 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.