Match: Aston Villa v Wolves
Date: Wednesday 30th October 2019
Venue: Villa Park
El Ghazi 21, Elmohamady 57
Steer, Elmohamady, Konsa, Hause, Taylor, Lansbury (McGinn 81), Luiz, Hourihane, El Ghazi, Davis (Kodjia), Trezeguet. Unused subs: Nyland, Chester, Wesley, Nakamba, Guilbert.
Story in brief
Villa are through to the Carbabo Cup quarter-finals after a much-changed team proved too strong for Wolves’ youthful outfit.
Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and Ahmed Elmohanady proved enough to send Dean Smith’s side into the last eight, with Patrick Curtone replying for the Molineux men.
Villa had twice been close to scoring before making a breakthrough, Trezeguet’s low shot deflecting for a corner while Conor Hourihane blasted a fierce free-kick into Wolves’ defensive wall.
It was just a matter of time before Villa went ahead, and the opening goal was clinically executed, Henri Lansbury threading a superb pass through the visitors defence for El Ghazi to beat John Ruddy with a low drive.
The keeper got a hand to the ball but was unable to prevent it from going over the line.
Wolves drew level nine minutes after the interval, Curtone diverting Taylor Perry’s shot past Jed Steer from close range.
But three minutes later Smith’s side were back in front with a delightful goal.
Lansbury delivered a free-kick from the left, and Elmohamdy steered the ball just inside the near post with the deftest of flicks.
It took a smart save by Steer to prevent a second Curtone equaliser but Villa finished comfortable winners, with El Ghazi, Hourihane, Lansbury and sub John McGinn all close to extending the lead.
Happy with Henri
It’s fair to say that Henri Lansbury has had a tough time in the claret and blue due to a series of injuries that have hampered his progress.
But when he’s played, he’s showed that class and composure you need in central midfield.
This game was no exception as his vision created our two goals – the first with a beautiful pass to set up Anwar El Ghazi and the second a wicked free-kick which Ahmed Elmohamady turned in.
Dean Smith was full of praise for him after the game: “I thought he was excellent.”
He certainly did his chances of breaking into the team for the Premier League campaign no harm at all.
Keinan Davis displayed good composure and some nice touches before his chance to stake a claim for a Premier League starting place was curtailed just after half-time.
The striker fell awkwardly as he went down under a 47th-minute challenge, and after receiving treatment for a couple of minutes he limped off with the help of physio Alan Smith.
He was replaced by Jonathan Kodjia, who relished the opportunity of a rare run-out after a spell out injured.
We’ve got McGinn
He was only on the pitch for the final nine minutes plus six minutes of stoppage time but John McGinn’s contribution was considerable.
The Scottish midfielder won challenges, used the ball intelligently and almost scored with a shot which was deflected wide.
He won’t be happy about picking up a booking for an over-zealous challenge but even that incident underlined how he gives 100 per cent effort in every match.
We’re back at Villa Park on Saturday, when Dean Smith’s men take on Premier League leaders Liverpool (3pm).
Jurgen Klopp’s men narrowly missed out to Manchester City in last season’s title race and are currently setting a hot pace at the top of the table.