CARABAO CUP THIRD ROUND
WEDNESDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER, 2021
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 2(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(2)
(Spurs won 3-2 pens)
Referee:- Peter Bankes
Assistant Referees:- Ian Hussin and Neil Davies
Fourth Official:- Mike Dean
Wolves (3-4-3):- Ruddy; Mosquera (sub Coady, 9), Boly, Kilman; Hoever, Neves(Capt.), Dendoncker, Ait-Nouri (sub Semedo, 75); Podence (sub Moutinho, 84), Fabio Silva (sub Traore, 46), Hwang Hee-chan
(Armband to Coady when he replaced Mosquera)
Subs not used:- Moulden; Trincao; Jimenez
Booked:- Fabio Silva (foul on Tanganga), Neves (Dissent)
Spurs (4-3-3):- Gollini; Tanganga (sub Reguilon, 90+7), Romero, Sanchez, Davies; Dele (sub Hojbjerg, 82), Skipp, Ndombele; Lo Celso (sub Son, 62), Kane (Capt.), Gil
Subs not used:- Austin; Doherty, Rodon; Scarlett
Booked:- Ndombele (foul on Podence)
Spurs put on the spot, but win
After taking a two-goal lead in the first quarter of the game, Spurs allowed Wolves to come back via one corner in the first half and a Podence equaliser in the 58th minute, following a mistake by the scorer of our opening goal Tanguy Ndombele. Wolves manager Bruno Lage introduced Adama Traore after the interval and he immediately caused panic in the Spurs defence as he attacked the right flank. Spurs survived after the equaliser and came through the penalty shoot-out 3-2 after three Wolves players Neves, Dendoncker and captain Coady failed in front of their bitterly disappointed fans. Spurs’ reward is an away tie against Burnley next month.
Both coaches rung the changes, but still fielded strong sides for a match they both wanted to win, being one of few realistic paths to silverware. Spurs were captained by Harry Kane, desperate to find form. They had a strong back four with Tanganga picked ahead of former Wolves man Matt Doherty who was once again left on the bench at his former home. Davinson Sanchez played to the left of Romero. An attacking Spurs side included Ndombele and Bryan Gil. The latter offered plenty of skill, pace and excitement and turned up everywhere on the pitch. Gil also took a powerful and convincing penalty in the shoot-out. Our chief man in reserve was Heung-min Son, who replaced Lo Celso after 62 minutes.
All Wolves game are preceded by pyrotechnics and these always look more effective under the floodlights. This match was also preceded by respect and applause for the late, great Jimmy Greaves, whose last goal scored at this ground was on 11th May, 1968.
Spurs played in their recently announced third kit, which is a purple colour.
Podence threatened goal after two minutes, following Neves’ through ball, but Gollini got to the ball first. Wolves’ Colombian defender Mosquera was injured on his debut and after lengthy treatment had to be replaced after only 9 minutes by Coady, wo took the armband from Neves. Ndombele got nothing when he went down outside the box and Spurs offered seemed to be the victims of lenience by Mr Bankes and his assistants throughout the game. Ndombele gave us the lead a few minutes later with his first goal since Wycombe in January. I thought Oliver Skipp slipped Tanguy the ball, but Tanguy got the rub of the green as the ball rebounded off a defender to his feet. He advanced into the left of the box with Coady failing in his challenge, before hitting a low right foot shot to the left of Ruddy.
This was an open game, and refreshingly Spurs were not slow in getting forward. They went two up after a slick passing move which ended with Dele sending the ball to Kane, who took two touches outside the right of the box before beating Ruddy with a powerfully driven low right foot shot. Was it “two” early for Spurs?
Only two minutes after Kane’s goal, Spurs had another chance after good play on the left by both Lo Celso and Gil. Kane was also to the left of the goal, but the ball didn’t run for him and the defence won this situation. Wolves had a corner with Gollini collecting a header by Dendoncker before Spurs attacked with Gil feeding Lo Celso. Dendoncker cleared before Lo Celso got his shot in. Wolves got a goal back after a corner taken from the left by Ait-Nouri. This was met by Dendoncker who was allowed a powerful header into the net. It was all too easy really. Spurs were nervous in and around the area after this goal. Ait-Nouri had a short run and a shot on target, but Gollini held.
Spurs had a sight of goal again after Lo Celso’s ball to Kane who passed forward to Tanganga to his right. Japhet tried an angled shot, but this passed over the target. Wolves won a cheap corner before the break and this ended with Hwang heading over the bar.
On came Traore after the break and he immediately offered danger. Hoever got the better of Sanchez on the right of the box, and when he crossed Hwang fired over. Neves was booked for dissent, as referee Peter Bankes denied penalty appeals as Hwang went down. Oliver Skipp made a great tackle on Traore who would otherwise have advanced into Spurs’ area on the right.
Dele received a cross from the left and fed the ball to Kane, whose shot was blocked. Ndombele hit a 25-yarder which Ruddy could not hold cleanly, conceding a corner. That came to nought, but on the downside, Ndombele wanted a foul but failed both with his appeal and his ability to keep the ball as Podence was away and had plenty of space on offer as he beat Gollini to his left. The home crowd was roaring.
Kane and Dele combined on the right before Dele’s cross reached Bryan Gil whose shot was saved and cleared. Traore offered more danger from the right wing, but his cross passed across our goalmouth. After Son came on, Gil was turning up left and right in the Wolves half. He fed a pass to Ndombele who fired wide. Spurs’ next move ended with a cross by Skipp and a shot over the bar by Tanganga. Kane had a point blank header saved and Spurs had a corner taken by Son, which came to nothing.
Ait-Nouri needed lengthy treatment and was eventually assisted across the pitch to be replaced by Semedo. The left wing-back looked concussed to me.
Sanchez blocked a Traore cross, and Moutinho subsequently won a corner for Wolves. After 80 minutes Traore had a shot which took a deflection making Gollini’s save comfortable. Wolves came closer when a Neves shot from 22 yards took a deflection and went off the top of the Spurs bar. Sanchez committed a foul 25 yards out as we moved into 6 minutes of added time. Neves’ free kick took another deflection for a corner. Spurs were under pressure. A free kick by Moutinho beat everybody and floated out of play. A Son cross from the left was comfortably for Ruddy, and with penalties looming, Nuno put on Reguilon for Tanganga. I assumed correctly that Reguilon had desirable penalty-taking skills.
We went straight to penalties. Away fans at Molineux are positioned on the sideline in the lower tier so both ends are home ends, but the kicks took place in front of the less vocal Wolves end. Wolves took the first kick and Hwang’s shot just beat Gollini, diving to his right. Gollini got a strong touch and arguably should have saved this kick. Harry Kane stepped up and of course convincingly converted his kick. Moutinho scored before Reguilon hammered home his kick to make it 2-2 after the first four kicks.
Now the fun started as the usually convincing Neves scooped his shot over the bar. Bryan Gill also hammered home his kick in the same fashion as Reguilon and Spurs were 3-2 up. Dendoncker’s weak kick was saved by Gollini, diving to his right, but Hojbjerg (who had also come off the bench) let us down with Ruddy also able to save. Spurs didn’t need to take their fifth penalty as Conor Coady’s kick agonisingly reblounded off the bar.
The Spurs players embraced their keeper. The fans embraced each other and sang “Spurs are on their way to Wembley”. Well, that’s a long way, but our next game is not as big a challenge as we might have faced at this stage of the tournament.
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