Ruben Neves can claim he was the match-winner today with a smart free-kick. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
Wolverhampton Wanderers pulled off a stunning fight-back to claim a 3-2 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Villa held a 2-0 lead through Danny Ings and John McGinn, but goals from Romain Saïss and Conor Coady brought them level before Rúben Neves free-kick deflected off Matt Targett for an unreal finish in the Midlands Derby.
The Villains controlled most of the first-half with Emi Buendía and John McGinn both flashing their efforts just wide of the post before José Sá saved Danny Ing’s low-struck shot.
Adama Traoré had Wolves’ best chance, going on a solo run but Emi Martínez denied him at the final hurdle, blocking his shot with his knee.
Two minutes after the restart, Villa went in front through a Danny Ings header. McGinn held off Saïss and crossed for the £25m signing, who scored with a bullet header, rising past three statuesque defenders.
The home side then went two in front with twenty minutes remaining as McGinn grabbed a deserved goal. Ollie Watkins’ picked up Hwang’s loose ball and his shot was initially blocked but there was McGinn to rifle home a low effort.
There was a late scare from Wolves as Saïss brought the away side to within one. Substitute Daniel Podence played the ball across to the Moroccan to slide into the net.
After what looked like an unassailable lead, Villa surrendered their grip on the game as Wolves equalised. Connor Coady claimed the final touch after Axel Tuanzebe kicked the ball onto the away skipper.
Agony turned into ecstasy for Wolves as they mounted an incredible comeback to claim a dramatic victory, leaving Villains bewildered in how they threw the game away. Rúben Neves’ free-kick deflected off of Matt Targett for his second own goal in as many games.
John McGinn: The Scottish international was everywhere today and found himself breaking up the defence and instigating the attacks. He played a part in Villa’s goal and when they had to dig deep, he was on the edge of his own box, making the crucial interceptions. Unfortunate to be on the losing side given his efforts, let down by his teammates.
Adama Traoré: One of Wolves’ only bright-sparks in a quiet first-half, the Spaniard played a key role in his sides equaliser in the second-half. He was full of running, pace and trickery and caused a lot of problems at the right times for the opposition defence.
Bruno Lage: The Portuguese manager has been under some early season pressure and would have been under more had they lost this.
Wolves were not at their best until the second goal went in and something changed within the team. The introduction of Daniel Podence changed the complexion of the game. Podence assisted Saiss for the equaliser and made Wolves attack their opponents another way.
Hwang Hee-chan: Perhaps harsh but this was a chance for the South Korean to stake his name for a starting place with Raúl Jiménez rested but he failed to take it. The Wolves forward failed to get himself in a position for any meaningful opportunities and found himself at fault for Villa’s second goal, cheaply giving the ball away before McGinn netted.
Axel Tuanzebe: It wasn’t the greatest defensive performance from the Manchester United loanee today. He was bailed out early in the match by carelessly giving away the ball from Villa’s own free-kick. He was then at fault for Wolves’ equaliser by failing to deal with the trouble and kicking it off Coady. This is a performance the 23-year-old will have to learn from.
Dean Smith: Was the Villa boss wrong to play Emiliano Martínez after his long-haul flight from Argentina? Martínez made one key save but perhaps should have done better for the goals, especially the winner. The free-kick trickles in but the goalkeeper may have been fatigued when making decisions on lining up his wall. The substitutes he made ended up costing him, as Ramsey conceded the foul, whilst Young’s introduction for Cash saw goals come down his side.
Aston Villa (3-5-2): Martínez 5, Cash 7 (Young, 78; 5), Konsa 6, Mings 6, Tuanzebe 5, Targett 6, Douglas Luiz 7, (Nakamba, 66;6), McGinn 9, Buendía 7, (Ramsey, 73;5), Watkins 6, Ings 7,
Wolves (3-5-2): Sá 6, Semedo 6, Kilman 6, Coady 8, Saïss 7, Marçal 6, (Podence, 74;7), Dendoncker 8, Neves 7, Moutinho 6, (Silva, 74;6), Traore 7, Chan Hwang 6, (Jiménez, 87;6)
Player of the Match
A goal and an assist, John McGinn is the Player of the Match, but that is the only consolation for him. His assist for Ings was from good determination, whilst his goal was a trademark strike from outside the box.
What’s next for both clubs?
Aston Villa play in front of the television cameras on Friday evening as they travel to North London to play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on October 22.
Wolves are on the road again as they head up to Yorkshire to face Leeds United on Saturday October 23.