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Europa League: West Ham, Marseille Triumph; Liverpool Stunned

 Europa League: West Ham, Marseille Triumph; Liverpool Stunned

Lucas Paqueta of West Ham United
Lucas Paqueta of West Ham United celebrate with Said Benrahma after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League match between West Ham United FC and Olympiacos FC at London Stadium on November 9, 2023 in London, England.(Image-Getty) 

Lucas Paqueta, playing for West Ham United, secured a crucial 1-0 home victory over Olympiakos Piraeus in the Europa League Group A match with a late goal. This win allowed West Ham to maintain their position at the top of the group standings. In a parallel match, Olympique de Marseille triumphed 2-0 against AEK Athens, ensuring their continued dominance in Group B. The initial loss of West Ham to Olympiakos two weeks prior was overshadowed by their exceptional performance in the London Stadium, placing them level with Freiburg at nine points, who secured a commanding 5-0 victory over Backa Topola. Despite the setback, Olympiakos holds the third spot with four points. West Ham manager David Moyes acknowledged the team's deficiency in creating opportunities, expressing his intention to analyze the reasons behind this.

The critical moment arrived in the 73rd minute when Paqueta skillfully volleyed a left-foot shot, capitalizing on James Ward-Prowse's precise chip over the defense. Despite a tense moment towards the end, with Mady Camara's near-equalizer hitting the post, West Ham fans reveled in their team's hard-earned victory. Meanwhile, Marseille's success in Athens was solidified by goals from Chancel Mbemba and Ismaila Sarr. Mbemba's header from a corner kick opened the scoring in the 25th minute, while Sarr's goal in stoppage time secured the 2-0 win. With eight points, Marseille leads the pack, closely trailed by Brighton & Hove Albion, who secured a 2-0 victory against Ajax Amsterdam on the same day.

In another surprising turn of events, Liverpool faced a 3-2 defeat against Toulouse in Group E. Although Juergen Klopp's team remained at the top of the standings with nine points, their potential equalizer in the final minutes was disallowed by VAR due to a handball earlier in the move. Klopp expressed his frustration at conceding three goals and the contentious VAR decision. The match's post-game atmosphere was marked by jubilant celebrations from the Toulouse supporters, causing a lively interruption during Klopp's interview.

Elsewhere, Atalanta clinched a 1-0 victory over Sturm Graz in a rain-soaked match at the Gewiss Stadium, courtesy of Berat Djimsiti's goal five minutes into the second half. Atalanta remains undefeated in Group D with 10 points, maintaining a three-point lead over Sporting, who secured a 2-1 win over 10-man Rakow Czestochowa with goals from Pedro Goncalves. In Group C, Rangers sealed a 2-1 win over Sparta Prague with early goals from Danilo Pereira and Todd Cantwell. Real Betis displayed dominance as they hammered Aris Limassol 4-1, securing the leading spot in the group with nine points, followed closely by Rangers with seven points.

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