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West Ham’s Unbeaten Run Ends in Olympiakos Defeat
- Updated: October 27, 2023
West Ham‘s United’s remarkable 17-game unbeaten run in European competitions came to a halt with a 2-1 loss to Olympiakos in the Europa League. The Hammers had been on a historic streak of consecutive matches without a loss but couldn’t extend it against the Greek side.
In a closely watched Group A match, Olympiakos’ captain, Kostas Fortounis, opened the scoring in the 33rd minute with a powerful toe-poked strike from the edge of the penalty box. The home crowd roared with approval as their team took the lead.
West Ham’s troubles deepened in first-half stoppage time when their captain, Angelo Ogbonna, unintentionally directed the ball into his own net. This unfortunate own goal further put Olympiakos in control, and it seemed like West Ham’s perfect start to the Europa League season was under serious threat.
The Hammers, who made seven changes to their lineup for this match in Greece, were determined not to go down without a fight. Late in the game, substitute Lucas Paqueta provided a glimmer of hope for the English side with a fantastic first-time volley in the 87th minute, which narrowed the scoreline to 2-1. However, Olympiakos managed to hold on to their lead despite eight minutes of added time, securing the victory and dealing a blow to West Ham’s European ambitions.
This loss was West Ham’s first defeat in European competitions since May 2022, marking the end of a historic 17-game unbeaten streak. Their journey in Europe had been nothing short of impressive, but Olympiakos proved to be a tough opponent on this occasion.
The result didn’t completely disrupt West Ham’s position in the group. Despite the defeat, they still maintained their spot at the top of Group A. However, they were now level on points with German side Freiburg, who had secured a 3-1 victory against the bottom side, TSC. This outcome meant that third-place Olympiakos was only two points behind the Hammers.
The match was played under heightened security, with both anticipation and tensions running high. The Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium was a cauldron of noise, and the local ‘ultras’ did their part to make the atmosphere as intimidating as possible for the visiting team. A large banner reading “tonight you dine in hell” welcomed West Ham onto the pitch, setting the stage for a challenging evening.
The match took place in the midst of warnings and preparations to avoid crowd trouble. Olympiacos had previously faced incidents with crowd misconduct, including a match against fierce rivals Panathinaikos that had to be abandoned due to a firework thrown from the stands. In response to these concerns, around 1,600 West Ham fans were transported to the stadium from the city center under police escort to ensure their safety.
The intense atmosphere and crowd hostility may have contributed to West Ham’s challenging first-half performance. The Hammers were caught off guard and couldn’t regain control of the match, leading to their eventual defeat.
Despite the disappointment, West Ham remained in a promising position in the group and would look to bounce back in their next Europa League fixture. The loss was a reminder that even the most impressive unbeaten runs can come to an end, but the Hammers would be eager to rebuild their momentum as the competition continued.
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By- Sahiba Suri