Wolverhampton shock 2-3 defeat at ‘second-tier’ Coventry to miss FA Cup last four

Wolverhampton crashed out of the FA Cup after failing to overcome Coventry City despite a brilliant performance from their full-backs.

Wolverhampton fell to Coventry City in the quarterfinals of the 2023-2024 English FA Cup on Saturday (June 16) at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, losing 2-3 on aggregate.

The hosts lined up in a 3-5-2 formation. Pablo Sarabia and Nathan Fraser started up front, with Mario Lemina, Thomas Doyle, and Joao Gomes in the middle. The wing-backs are Layan Ayit Nuri and Nelson Semedo, while the back three is Maximilian Kilman, Santiago Bueno, and Totti Gomes. Jozef Sa was in goal.

Wolverhampton have been without three of their top frontline options in Hwang Hee-Chan, Mateusz Cunha and Pedro Neto due to injury. Hwang suffered a hamstring injury in the FA Cup fifth round against Brighton and is expected to be out for six weeks. “He felt a little bit of pain in his hamstring, and in a team of this size, to lose him would be a disaster,” Gary O’Neill said at the time.

Coventry lined up in a 3-4-3 formation. Ellis Sims, Kesay Palmer, and Haji Wright formed a back three, with Ben Sheaf and Josh Eccles in midfield. Jake Bidwell and Milan Van Ewijk were the wing-backs, while Liam Kitching, Joel Latibeoudierre, and Bobby Thomas were the back four. Bradley Collins wore the goalkeeping gloves.

It was a back-and-forth affair early on for the hosts. In the 15th minute, Coventry attacked on the counter-attack, but Semedo’s quick cover prevented them from getting a shot on target in the box. Wolverhampton hit back. Ait Nouri’s hard cross from the edge of the box dropped right in front of Sarabia, but his outstretched foot couldn’t reach the ball and it ended up in the keeper’s arms.

Wolverhampton were slow to capitalize on their chances. In the 28th minute, a cut-back pass from Semedo’s breakaway found its way past the onrushing Fraser to Ait Noure, who slid the ball straight to an unmarked Lemina. However, Lemina’s shot was poorly placed and cleared off the line.

Coventry also had a golden opportunity. In the 35th minute, in the attacking third, Wright’s low, quick pass from the edge of the box found Palmer in front of goal, who was able to cut through the defense. Palmer’s shot was saved by Sa’s legs, not the goal, as the goalkeeper lost his concentration and simply slotted it home.

Sa made the save to keep the game alive. In the 40th minute, following a Coventry counter-attack, Sims slid a pass through to Van Aanwijk, but the ball was cleared off the line by the outstretched legs of Sa.

Wolverhampton also had a chance on the counter-attack in the 45th minute when Lemina’s cross found Frazier, but the ball hit the body of Frazier, who was unable to get a shot away from the defense and cleared off the line. The two teams went into halftime scoreless at 0-0.

The second half started with Coventry on the front foot. It was Coventry who opened the scoring. In the eighth minute of the second half, Kitching headed a ball from a free kick into the center of the box, where Sims was on hand to finish with precision and rattle the net. The goal was reviewed by VAR to determine if there was a handball, but the goal stood.

After conceding the goal, Wolverhampton pushed for a comeback. In the 18th minute of the second half, Doyle’s free-kick from the edge of the penalty box arc sailed over the bar.

Coventry pushed forward to widen the gap. In the 22nd minute, Wright’s powerful shot from the right side of the penalty box after a solo breakaway was saved by Sa’s legs. Palmer also had a shot deflected wide of the post in the 25th minute.

Wolverhampton have a shot blocked on goal. In the 26th minute, Gomes’ mid-range effort from the right side of the penalty box arc grazed Collins’ hand and hit the 안전놀이터 post. The attack continued in the 32nd minute, when a Sarabia free kick from the edge of the box found Ait Nouri deep in the right side of the penalty area off the head of Kilman. The ball hit Ait Nouri’s head, but the ball hit the post and went over the goal line.

Sa denied Coventry another chance to score. In the 36th minute, he saved Callum O’Hare’s shot after Coventry had moved forward quickly. In the 37th minute, Kitching’s shot from the edge of the box from Bidwell’s cross was saved with an outstretched leg.

Wolverhampton, who were pounding on goal, eventually equalized. In the 39th minute, after Sarabia’s pass beat a Coventry defender in front of goal, the ball was played into the center of the box, where an onrushing Ayit Nuri rattled the Coventry net.

Wolverhampton turned the game on its head with a late goal. It was Ait Nouhouri who led the way. In the 43rd minute of the second half, Ait Noori continued his counter-attacking run and quickly advanced to the front of the box. Ait Nourie played a penetrating pass to the onrushing Ugo Bueno, who calmly slotted a left-footed shot into the Coventry net. Wolverhampton’s full-backs stepped up to the plate in the absence of their first-choice strikers.

Coventry refused to give up and got back into the game in second-half stoppage time. Wright’s cross was dropped by Sims in front of goal and he slotted the ball home through four defenders and into the Wolverhampton net.

Coventry added another goal just before the end. In the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time, Sims sent a cross into the box to Wright. Wright calmly curled a right-footed strike into the corner of the Wolverhampton goal from inside the box.

The game ended with a 3-2 victory for Coventry.

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