Wolverhampton Wanderers’ insane UEFA Europa League campaign came to an end last night as they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage in heartbreaking fashion by five-time winners Sevilla.
It was the sort of game that was always going to be closer than most people had anticipated, but with almost 75% possession behind them, the La Liga side was always in control – that is, after the first 10-15 minutes when Raul Jimenez missed a penalty for the Premier League hopefuls.
Lucas Ocampos was the hero of the day for Sevilla as he headed them into the semi-finals with an 88th minute winner, but beyond that, there was a lot of other factors to take away from the result.
Nobody is perfect
Many fans will be hoping and praying that Raul Jimenez’s final big contribution in a Wolves shirt will not be that penalty miss, especially after the season he’s had. Still, while the title of this entry may seem to point towards the Mexican, it’s also relevant for VAR, too. We saw two separate incidents during the penalty that could’ve forced a retake, with the goalkeeper coming off his line and a Sevilla player encroaching in the area.
Running out of steam
In their 59th game of a season that has lasted for 13 months, Wolverhampton Wanderers finally had to tap out. They looked as tired as you’d expect given their small squad size, and now, they deserve the right to rest and recuperate – especially given the quick turnaround before the new campaign. They just couldn’t keep up with the pace Sevilla were setting, and that’s understandable.
Sevilla need finishers
While they may be one of the best defensive units in Europe right now, there’s clearly a whole lot of work that still needs to be done in regards to Sevilla’s finishing. While Wolves did defend valiantly, you’d have to imagine the Spaniards would’ve been out of sight by the hour mark if they’d have had a 20-goal striker in their ranks. Still, they’re a club on the rise, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they wound up challenging for the La Liga title at some point in the next few years.
Wolves’ future is bright
They might not be playing in Europe next season, but you aren’t likely to find many teams with a brighter future than Wolves. From their owners to their manager to the crop of talent they’ve got coming through the system, there are plenty of reasons to be excited if you’re part of the Molineux faithful. They do need to add a few fresh faces to the squad and they also have to try and keep hold of some big names, but if they manage to do that, a top six finish is within reach.
It was known leading up to the match that the winner would take on Manchester United after they were able to edge past Copenhagen on Monday night. Now, Sevilla are the ones who will have to tackle Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, and they’re actually priced at a reasonable 2/1 with 888sport. Given their pedigree in this competition you would think more people will be backing them to win, but after a shaky start against Nuno’s men, some are wondering whether or not their defensive stability is quite as formidable as was first thought. Either way, if they win, they won’t fear facing either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final.
Wolves: Patricio (6.5), Vinagre (7), Saiss (6.5), Coady (6.5), Boly (7), Doherty (7), Moutinho (6.5), Neves (6.5), Dendoncker (6.5), Jimenez (5.5), Traore (7), Jota (6), Neto (6)
Sevilla: Bounou (8), Navas (6.5), Kounde (7.5), Carlos (6), Reguilon (6.5), Banega (7.5), Fernando (6.5), Jordan (6.5), Suso (7), En-Nesyri (6.5), Ocampos (8), Haddadi (6), Jong (6), Vazquez (6)
Referee: Daniele Orsato
Yellow Cards: Saiss, Neves, Carlos
Red Cards: N/A
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