Lucas Paqueta proved to be the driving force behind West Ham's revenge against Olympiacos in their Europa League showdown. The Brazilian midfielder showcased his skills reminiscent of a child on the playground, volleying the hosts to a well-deserved victory. It came two weeks after the London side suffered a defeat to the Greek team in Athens, with Olympiacos celebrating their triumph at West Ham's expense.
The tension surrounding the match was palpable, with West Ham determined to avenge their previous loss. Paqueta, in particular, was unstoppable on the field. His exuberant celebration, leading the charge towards the away end after VAR confirmed their goal, encapsulated the team's hunger for victory and their desire to repay Olympiacos in kind.
By securing this win, West Ham remains at the top of Group A with two games still to play. The unpredictable playmaking abilities of Paqueta have undoubtedly been instrumental in their success. The pre-match team talk from manager David Moyes likely revolved around the Greek team's corridor celebrations following their previous encounter. In response, Moyes made six crucial changes to the lineup, introducing Paqueta and Jarrod Bowen, among other key players.
Although Said Benrahma's recent performances had faltered, he showcased early promise in the game. A finely-crafted pass from Paqueta provided Benrahma with an opportunity to showcase his skill, forcing Olympiacos goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis into an impressive save. Despite being given another chance from a corner kick, West Ham's Nayef Aguerd was unable to capitalize.
The first half lacked notable action until Olympiacos' Daniel Podence fired a warning shot, reminding West Ham of their opponents' capabilities. Paqueta continued to dazzle with his intelligent play, ensuring the spectators remained captivated by his every move.
West Ham's position at the top of Group A seemed at risk when Freiburg secured a victory elsewhere, but Jarrod Bowen attempted to inject life into the match with nutmegs and crosses. However, it was Paqueta who ultimately stole the show. A magnificent volley off James Ward-Prowse's assist appeared to solidify West Ham's lead, though it was initially ruled out for offside. VAR stepped in, confirming the goal's validity to the delight of the West Ham team, who raced towards their jubilant away supporters.
Lucas Paqueta's starring role in this revenge mission demonstrated his exceptional talent and importance to the West Ham squad. With the Brazilian playmaker in their ranks, it is impossible to predict what thrilling moments await West Ham in the remaining Europa League matches.