Wolverhampton Wanderers complete a stunning comeback at Villa Park, defeating Aston Villa 3-2 thanks to an injury-time deflected winning goal from Ruben Neves.

Wolverhampton Wanderers came back from 2-0 down to emerge victories in the dramatic West Midlands derby, courtesy of a deflected free-kick from Ruben Neves in the fifth minute of the stoppage time.

Regardless of the scoreline being 0-0 at halftime, the first 45 minutes between the two teams were exciting. Both teams looked bright from the offing and tested the keepers on several occasions. Danny Ings was sent through on goal by Emiliano Buendía. The striker appeared to be on his way to scoring, but Jose Sa made a brilliant save.

Adama Traore then dribbled past four Villa players before shooting straight at Emiliano Martinez. The deadlock was broken in the second half, with Ings heading home a pin-pointed John McGinn’s cross.

Both sides became careless in possession and gave the ball away cheaply at times. McGinn took advantage of this by scoring with a thunderous left-footed strike from just outside the area. And when it looked like a perfect sail with the home side 2-0 ahead, Wolves defender Romain Saïss pulled one back for the visitors with a well-worked goal.

Adama Traore did well to dink a chip into the back post, and Leander Dendoncker scooped it in for captain Conor Coady to scramble in the equalizer with just 5 minutes from normal time. Just when it became apparent that the game ended with sharing the spoils, Ruben Neves struck a stunning winner as his free-kick was deflected off Matt Targett, catching Sa off guard.

Dean Smith & co. would be scratching their heads on how they blew a 2-goal advantage at home. The result means Wolves take a jump to 8th in the fledgling Premier League standings while Aston Villa dropping to 12th with 10 points. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Dean Smith’s men following a major collapse in the final 15 minutes.

Emiliano Martinez: 6/10

Coming late from the international break, Martinez was called into action several times. He parried away a strike from Adama Traore. He couldn’t have done more to stop any of the three goals and had absolutely no chance in any of them.

Ezri Konsa: 6.5/10

Was the better of the three defenders on the field. He was smart with his positioning and held Marcal from bombing into the box in the first half. He contributed with three tackles, two interceptions and two clearances. However, he was nowhere to be seen for the equalizing goal.

Axel Tuanzebe: 4/10

Rusty after back into the starting fray. Tuanzebe looked sluggish in the first half and almost handed Wolves a gift when his quickly taken free-kick went straight back to Wolves, though, thankfully for him, the shot didn’t result in a goal.

Tuanzebe again threw the ball away before Traore started on his rampage, but Martinez came up with a great stop. The on-loan Man United defender also failed to clear the ball leading to Coady’s goal as the ball crept in.

Tyrone Mings: 5/10

Was instructed to lob the ball down the sides of Watkins. He was decent in the first half; he came to his sides’ rescue to crucially block Hwang’s goal-bound strike. He became sloppy in the second half and couldn’t show any leadership skills as Villa threw a two-goal lead. Again nowhere to be seen in the final 15 minutes when Wolves pressed hard.

Matty Cash: 7/10

A genuine threat down the right as he was allowed more freedom in the right wing-back role. His wonderful crosses were lacking a finish from the forwards. He had a great chance when he grabbed onto Watkins’ touchdown before slamming the ball much too hard with his weak foot over the crossbar. Cash put in an excellent performance before being hauled off with little over ten minutes remaining before Wolves having scored their first goal. His departure resulted in disaster.

John McGinn: 8/10

The MOTM on the day bagged a goal and an assist along with producing an energetic display in the middle of the park as usual. He rolled Saiss before sending a superb cross into Ings, who headed home to score the opener. He smashed a thundering half-volley past Jose Sa to get to double the advantage for the Villan’s. He was everywhere on the pitch, completed four key passes, four accurate long balls- joint highest on the day- and four tackles.

Douglas Luiz: 7/10

Given a surprise start considering his really late arrival following the international break. Douglas snuck in to steal balls expertly and displayed his customary swagger while on the ball, hitting a pile-driver just a little over Sa’s crossbar when a loose ball dropped into his way. He was given a round of applause when substituted off, which was quite appropriate given his efforts. Another player whose departure caused an absolute mess to Villa’s midfield’s balance.

Emi Buendia: 7/10

Decent. Buendia was deployed in a more central role to have more impact in the attacking plays, he was the supplier to the front-two and continued to work his clever passes as he attempted to cut Wolves open. Villa’s finest chance of the first half came via a superbly weighted ball from Buendia, but Danny Ings couldn’t convert.

Matt Targett: 6.5/10

The left wing-back was left exposed and was pinned back up against Semedo and Hwang drifting around him. Targett delivered a well-timed tackle that bruised Neves, while Semedo and others frequently stopped his crosses. His deflection resulted in Martinez being wrong-footed and eventually the sucker punch.

Danny Ings: 7/10

Made no mistakes in nodding home from a John McGinn cross to put Villa 1-0 ahead, though Sa brilliantly saved his low effort after being put through one-on-one by Buendia once. Worked his utmost, feeding off the scraps when Villa went direct. Took three shots, out of which 2 were on target.

Ollie Watkins: 7/10

Given the duty to work out the channels between the Wolves defenders. He held onto the ball to get Villa up the pitch. He was pressing hard and made several exciting runs. After such a frenetic shift up-top, Watkins appeared exhausted towards the end. Didn’t create much though.


Marvelous Nakamba: 5/10

A sensible change at the time to bring in a more defence-minded midfielder to see the game out replacing for a restless Douglas Luiz, but the decision backfired with Villa dropping deeper in Nakamba’s presence as Wolves pinned them back to score 3 goals in the final 15 minutes.

Jacob Ramsey: 5/10

Displayed his naivety by giving away a cheap free-kick in a decent position in the dying moments that resulted in the winning goal. He will be disappointed.

Ashley Young: N/A

His coming on as a substitute coincided with Villa conceding three goals.

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