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Wolves 0-1 Aston Villa: Anwar El Ghazi penalty wins West Midlands derby

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Anwar El Ghazi scores a penalty against Wolves
Anwar El Ghazi’s penalty was his first goal since also scoring a late penalty against Manchester City in January

Substitute Anwar El Ghazi converted a stoppage-time penalty as Aston Villa snatched victory in their West Midlands derby at Wolves.

Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez then denied Leander Dendoncker, before the visitors had midfielder Douglas Luiz sent off after picking up a second booking late on.

But Nelson Semedo brought down John McGinn in injury-time, handing El Ghazi the chance to sidefoot home his first goal since January from the spot.

There was still time for the hosts to have midfielder Joao Moutinho dismissed for a second yellow card as Villa clinched their second win in six games, climbing back above their local rivals to eighth in the table.

With Jimenez set for a lengthy absence, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo gave a first Premier League start to 18-year-old striker Silva, their club record £35.6m summer signing from Porto.

Villa also gave a teenager his first start in England’s top flight – 19-year-old midfielder Jacob Ramsey – but with no fans present, this was hardly the baptism of fire you might expect from a regular West Midlands derby.

No Silva lining in Jimenez’s absence

Wolves banner with a 'get well soon' message for Raul Jimenez
Wolves fans arranged a banner featuring a “get well soon” message for Raul Jimenez, plus their popular song Wolves Aywe.

With Wolverhampton still under tier three coronavirus restrictions, supporters have to wait a little longer to return to Molineux.

But they have shown their support for Jimenez by raising £21,000 to pay for a huge banner in the Steve Bull Stand which reads “Fuerza Raul”, and they also arranged for an aeroplane to circle the stadium before kick-off, towing a “get well soon” message.

Jimenez’s team-mates were still coming to terms with the severity of his injury as they lost 4-0 at Liverpool last weekend but Nuno said the Mexico forward gave everyone “a big lift” when he visited the club’s Compton training ground on Wednesday.

Jimenez’s injury has hastened Silva’s introduction to the starting line-up, after six substitute appearances, and he was a lively frontrunner, with Daniel Podence, Adama Traore and Pedro Neto probing in behind.

Podence had a shot deflected wide from Neto’s cutback and a fierce low strike saved, while Dendoncker fired straight at Martinez.

Silva glanced a Moutinho free-kick wide in first-half stoppage time and then almost broke the deadlock when he latched on to Podence’s perfectly weighted pass, but his first-time effort came back off the far post.

The Portuguese teenager went close again with an overhead kick, while Martinez made a fine save to keep out Dendoncker’s volley from Neto’s Rabona cross, but Wolves were undone by a lapse at the back.

Having stuck with a four-man defence, Wolves looked solid for the most part, until McGinn got in behind right-back Semedo to earn the spot-kick.

The perfect away performance – almost

A Romain Saiss header is saved by Emiliano Martinez
This routine stop from a Romain Saiss header was one of seven saves by Emiliano Martinez, compared to one from Wolves keeper Rui Patricio

For the most part, this derby did not deliver the same entertainment as Villa’s recent defeats by Brighton and West Ham, but manager Dean Smith will surely not care one jot having pulled off another fine result on the road.

Villa have now won four out of five away games in the league and had it not been for Martinez’s heroics, and Luiz’s red card, you might say it was the perfect away performance.

In the first half they looked comfortable in a 4-3-3 formation, with Ramsey a lively introduction on the left side of midfield.

They were happy to contain Wolves as much as possible, though they rarely threatened themselves despite spending more time in the hosts’ final third.

But Villa were straight on the front foot in the second half, with Luiz firing wide and Jack Grealish’s free-kick going just over.

Wolves keeper Rui Patricio was also forced to turn a deflected Ollie Watkins strike wide at his near post, yet the hosts managed to take more control and looked the most likely side to claim a late winner.

Then Grealish linked up with McGinn – who signed a new five-year contract on Friday – and El Ghazi was allowed to do the honours from the penalty spot, ensuring Villa’s excellent start to the season has not gone to waste.

‘We have to find solutions without Jimenez’ – what they said

Wolves boss Nuno: “It’s always disappointing to lose. We played good. In the first half it was an intense game and both teams were tight. [There were] too many fouls, it did not flow.

“In the second it was better. We controlled the game and had clear chances. We try to keep on growing on these aspects and be more clinical.”

On Silva’s debut: “He worked well. He was linking with team-mates and had good chances. He worked hard. The idea to make a player grow is to help him and support him during competition.”

On scoring goals without Jimenez: “It is something we have to do as a team – find solutions. But today we had [chances] – let’s work now on the final touch.”

Villa manager Smith: “I am pleased with the start we have had. This was a tough game and we deserved a point, but kept competing and got the win.

“There was only the Leeds game [4-0 defeat] that we deserved to get beaten this season. We’re 10 games into the season and if you deserve to get something out of nine, you are doing well.”

What’s next?

Jimenez hopes to be watching from the stands as Wolves host Chelsea on Tuesday (18:00 GMT), before visiting Burnley the following Monday (17:30).

Villa welcome Burnley on Thursday (18:00), then go to West Brom for another local derby next Sunday (19:15).

Player of the match

MartínezEmiliano Martínez

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number10Player nameDaniel Podence

  2. Squad number11Player nameRui Patrício

  3. Squad number7Player namePedro Neto

  4. Squad number16Player nameCoady

  5. Squad number37Player nameTraoré

  6. Squad number17Player nameFábio Silva

  7. Squad number27Player nameSaïss

  8. Squad number32Player nameDendoncker

  9. Squad number5Player nameMarçal

  10. Squad number8Player nameRúben Neves

  11. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

  12. Squad number28Player nameJoão Moutinho

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number26Player nameMartínez

  2. Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi

  3. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  4. Squad number10Player nameGrealish

  5. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  6. Squad number2Player nameCash

  7. Squad number5Player nameMings

  8. Squad number18Player nameTargett

  9. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  10. Squad number41Player nameRamsey

  11. Squad number19Player nameNakamba

  12. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  13. Squad number15Player nameTraoré

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 16Coady
  • 27Saïss
  • 5Marçal
  • 32DendonckerBooked at 77minsSubstituted forNevesat 80′minutes
  • 28João MoutinhoBooked at 90mins
  • 37TraoréBooked at 43mins
  • 10Podence
  • 7Neto
  • 17Fábio Silva

Substitutes

  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 8Neves
  • 15Boly
  • 20Vitinha
  • 21Ruddy
  • 49Kilman
  • 54Otasowie

Aston Villa

  • 26Martínez
  • 2CashBooked at 29mins
  • 4KonsaBooked at 82mins
  • 5Mings
  • 18TargettBooked at 81mins
  • 7McGinnBooked at 30mins
  • 6Douglas LuizBooked at 85mins
  • 41RamseySubstituted forNakambaat 90+7′minutes
  • 15TraoréSubstituted forEl Ghaziat 75′minutes
  • 11Watkins
  • 10GrealishBooked at 88mins

Substitutes

  • 12Steer
  • 14Hourihane
  • 19Nakamba
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 24Guilbert
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 30Hause

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