Aston Villa successfully dispatched a youthful Wolverhampton Wanderers side in the Carabao Cup last sixteen at Villa Park.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Neither side fielded a full-strength side in this last-sixteen Carabao Cup tie at Villa Park – but Wolves sprang a surprise by calling up a cacophony of young talent into their first time squad.
Both sides started sheepishly, feeling their way into the game and getting used to their team-mate – but it was Aston Villa who were the brighter of the two sides in the first ten minutes as Wolves struggled to find their stride.
Wolves took thirteen minutes to make their first attack, but from this point woke up a little and started to push forward into the Aston Villa half.
Regardless, the first twenty-five minutes or so provided a period of Aston Villa dominance in possession – yet no real chances had come for the home side.
The 28th minute broke the deadlock, as Henri Lansbury notched another Carabao Cup assist, playing a cute ball into the box for Anwar El Ghazi to run on to and poke past Ruddy in the Wanderers’ net. Arguably, the Wolves keeper could have done better.
Neil Taylor had the opportunity for his first senior career goal outside of the international set-up after a well-worked one-two with Conor Hourihane just before the end of the half, but was stopped in his tracks by Dion Sanderson as he marauded into the box.
The opening three minutes saw some bright play from Keinan Davis, before the forward dropped the ground injured. He was subbed off shortly later for a masked Jonathan Kodjia.
A lapse in concentration brought Wolverhampton Wanderers back into the game. Douglas Luiz was dispossessed in his own half, leaving a three-on-three situation. Taylor Perry fired towards goal from the left, and Patrick Cutrone jumped to scissor-kick Perry’s goal-bound shot past Jed Steer.
Before Wolves even had a chance to breathe, Ahmed Elmohamady met a free-kick cross before anyone else at Ruddy’s near post, firing past the Wanderers’ keeper and into the back of the net. Lansbury’s second assist of the evening in the build-up.
Patrick Cutrone could have bagged a second a few minutes later following a poor pass from Neil Taylor, but Jed Steer stood firm to deny the former Italian international. It took 60 minutes, but this game had finally come to life.
There were a handful of chances for both sides in the next 20 or so minutes, but neither side could truly test the other side’s goalkeeper.
Henri Lansbury had a wonderful chance in the 80th minute as a cross found him open in the box but his header was a weak one that went wide of the post. That was the midfielder’s last chance of the game as he was replaced by John McGinn directly after.
John McGinn was booked, and had two shots on goal in his first four minutes on the pitch.
There were six minutes of added time once the 90 were up.
Neither side were able to make much of the added time – with Cutrone firing a long-ranged volley wide of Steer’s goal.
The draw for the Quarter-Finals, where Aston Villa could meet a range of sides from the English footballing leagues, takes place tomorrow evening.