Lucas Paqueta was in charge for the away side as West Ham completed their Europa League revenge mission over Olympiacos.
The 26-year-old Brazilian, who plays like a boy on the playground, guided the hosts to victory, two weeks after the defeat to the Greeks in Athens.
West Ham didn’t care how their opponents celebrated that 2-1 win. Naturally, the confirmation from VAR that his goal was good ensured that Paqueta took the lead towards the visiting fans.
They soaked in their revenge and remained top of Group A with two games to go.
“These are great nights in Europe and long may they continue,” said manager David Moyes after the win. ‘Paqueta’s goal made a big difference.
West Ham defeated Olympiacos 1-0 on Thursday evening to top their Europa League group
It was Lucas Paqueta who found the back of the net in the 73rd minute to secure the win
It was James Ward-Prowse’s ball into the penalty area that caught most people’s attention
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WEST HAM MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
WESTHAM (4-2-3-1): Fabiansky 7; Coufal 7, Mavropanos 7, Aguerd 7, Emerson 7; Ward-Prowse 7, Alvarez 7 (Soucek 80); Kudus 7, PAQUETA 7.5, Benrahma 6 (Cornet 84); Bowen 7.
Scorer: Paqueta 73.
Booked: Alvarez, Kudus.
Manager: David Moyes 7.
Referee: Matej Jug (Slov) 6.
‘Normally Paqueta plays other people for opportunities, so it was good that James Ward-Prowse scored that nice ball over the top. In the final third we just missed that little bit of something special. Fortunately, that moment gave us the goal and the victory.’
Moyes made six changes from the weakened team that lost that reverse fixture, bringing in Paqueta and Jarrod Bowen.
Said Benrahma also started, although his standards have dropped of late. Two stupid mistakes within five minutes made you wonder if we were in for another frustrating evening from the 28-year-old Algerian.
However, in the 13th minute he collected Paqueta’s pass and curled one towards the postage stamp of the goal, forcing Olympiacos goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis into a super-diving save. From the subsequent corner, Nayef Aguerd’s header could not beat Paschalakis.
There was deja vu in the 32nd minute when the same sequence was repeated. Once again Paqueta went to Benrahma. Once again he forced Paschalakis into a save, this time low on the left. Once again West Ham won a corner. Once again Aguerd’s header was not good enough to go in.
There was silence at the London Stadium as Daniel Podence, the winger on loan from Wolves to Olympiacos, fired a warning shot. It was cut so wide that it was as unsettling to the nearby Westfield Shopping Center as West Ham’s goal, but it was a reminder that the visitors could strike at any time.
Paqueta ended the first half with, well, Paqueta, performing a few keepie-uppies until he was cut down by his marker. He can frustrate Moyes to no end at times, but my word for it, does he know how to keep us hooked on his every move.
With Freiburg beating Backa Topola elsewhere, West Ham were no longer top of Group A of the Europa League in the live table. Bowen did his best to liven up this affair, nutmegging his man before crossing for Ward-Prowse when his effort was met by Paschalakis.
However, David Moyes was not happy with their performance in the first half of the match
He was seen calling for more intensity and aggression from the Hammers in the first half
In the 73rd minute, West Ham celebrated when Paqueta hit Ward-Prowse’s ball over the top. Nice assist, nice finish, but the assistant’s flag was raised.
The VAR checked it and to the naked eye it looked like Francisco Ortega played him. Moyes had seen the replay himself and was sure of it. Then came the confirmation: 1-0 for West Ham.
The entire team sprinted towards the away fans. Revenge for their opponents’ overzealous celebrations two weeks ago? Absolutely, and West Ham loved it.
Olympiacos came within inches of a late equalizer, but Mady Camara could only hit the post when it looked easier to score. West Ham left the London Stadium relieved by that miss and satisfied with this result.
Said Benrahma started on Thursday night, even if his standards have dropped of late
After scoring, the entire team sprinted towards the away fans. Revenge for their opponents’ overzealous celebrations two weeks ago? Absolutely, and West Ham loved it