Lucas Paquetá

Hammers 1 Olympiacos O: Paqueta power wins it

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West Ham were grateful for Paqueta power as they scraped out a 1-0 victory over Olympiakos.

This was never a quality match with the Hammers unable to break down an opposition defence which sat deep and until they went behind had little to offer up front. But Paqueta volleyed home a fine second half goal from a great ball dinked in by James WardProwse to keep us on top of Group A.

The Hammers started briskly after winning their last eight European games at the London Stadium with Benrahma trying a couple of shots which  went wide of the near and far post where Paqueta was waiting for in a good position. Later on the Number 22 saw a very decent shot well saved low by the Olympiacos keeper. But there was little tempo to the Hammers play and the game was becoming more than a little untidy until Aguerd saw a header go wide from a Bowen corner. Kudus was a threat whenever he was on the ball and is nearly impossible to knock off it but the next chance fell  to Benrahma again when he worked a good angle but again saw his shot saved. The Greeks had their best chance when  Podance was wide after a fine move down the left before Aguerd headed wide from another Bowen corner when he really should have hit the target.

With the Greeks determined to defend rather than worry about too much offensive play, the Hammers continued to find it hard to break them down. Their best chance came when Bowen – now on the right, rather than through the middle, crossed for Ward-Prowse who saw his shot well saved. But the midfielder turned provider in the 74th minute lifting a beautifully ball into Paqueta who finally saw his average performance take off with a lovely volley to put the Irons one up.

The midfield set piece expert could have helped supply a second with a great free kick which Mavropanos should have had on target but failed to get any direction on the header. But within second a ball flew into the Hammers area which was headed against the post

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

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