West Ham loses in the Europa League. Aston Villa cruises in the third-tier ECL

Thu, Oct 26, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

West Ham loses in the Europa League. Aston Villa cruises in the third-tier ECL

Olympiacos struck late in the first half to hand West Ham the first setback of its Europa League campaign with a 2-1 victory on Thursday.

Lucas Paqueta volleyed home in the 87th minute but the Premier League club couldn't find an equalizer after captain Kostas Fortounis and Brazilian defender Rodinei scored before halftime in Greece.

Olympiacos snapped an 11-game winless run in the competition going back to 2021.

With goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski ill, Alphonse Areola got his first start in Europe for West Ham since the Europa Conference League final in June.

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Freiburg joined West Ham atop Group A with six points after a 3-1 win at Serbia's TSC Backa Topola. Olympiacos is two points behind while TSC remains on one point.

Amine Harit and Jordan Veretout both scored from the penalty spot in Marseille's 3-1 home win over 10-man AEK Athens in the first victory for the French club.

Vitinha - whom coach Gennaro Gattuso preferred to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - put the hosts in front in the first half. Orbelin Pineda equalized in the second before Harit and Veretout secured the win.

AEK goalkeeper Cican Stankovic was sent off for a foul in the box.

Brighton hosts Ajax in the other Group B game later Thursday.

Forward Luis Muriel's two goals helped Atalanta draw 2-2 at Sturm Graz and top Group D with seven points. Sporting got a 1-1 draw at Rakow in Poland.

Rangers and Sparta played to a goalless draw in Prague to place two points behind Group C leader Real Betis, which won 1-0 at Aris Limassol.

Molde routed Häcken 5-1 in Group H.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

In the third-tier competition, Aston Villa routed AZ Alkmaar 4-1 in the Netherlands. Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans scored in the first half, and Ollie Watkins and John McGinn netted after the break. Ibrahim Sadiq had a consolation goal for the hosts. Villa also hammered West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday.

KI Klaksvik, the first team from the Faroe Islands to make the group stage of a European competition, recorded its first victory, 3-0 over Olimpija Ljubljana.

KI is third in Group B with four points, with Lille in the lead on seven after a 2-1 home win over Slovan Bratislava, which is a point behind.

Another newcomer, Breidablik of Iceland, was routed 5-0 at Gent in Group B.

WAR'S IMPACT

Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv had their Thursday games in the Europa League and the Europa Conference League, respectively, postponed for security reasons. Haifa's game at Villarreal has been pushed back to Dec. 6 and Tel Aviv's home game against Zorya Luhansk will now be held on Nov. 25 and must be moved to a new venue after UEFA decided that Israel can't host any European matches until further notice.

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