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FA: Wolves defeat rivals West Brom as crowd trouble ruin tie

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Wolves beat rivals West Brom 2 0 in an FA Cup game Photo Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves beat rivals West Brom 2-0 in an FA Cup game. Photo/ Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers managed to defeat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round of play.
  • The highly anticipated Black Country derby at The Hawthorns was disrupted by crowd unrest after Cunha scored the second goal.
  • Pedro Neto scored in the first half, and Matheus Cunha scored with 13 minutes remaining.

Wolverhampton Wanderers managed to defeat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round of play.

The highly anticipated Black Country derby at The Hawthorns was disrupted by crowd unrest after Cunha scored the second goal.

Tensions erupted in one area of the stadium after it was reported during the live television broadcast that many Wolves supporters had celebrated the second goal while in the home portion of the stadium. Pedro Neto scored in the first half, and Matheus Cunha scored with 13 minutes remaining.

A 38-minute pause was necessary to restore order as police battled with spectators and many supporters entered the field; it was unclear when the game would continue.

When it did, Wolves were able to handle the rest of the match and move on to the round of 16 without any further problems.

How the derby unfolded

Goalmouth action was scant in the early going amid a loud atmosphere between two sets of fans who had not seen their respective clubs play in front of the public since 2012.

With two easy stops from Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa, West Brom created a stronger danger and effectively neutralized Wolves’ Premier League opponents’ prospects.

But Wolves were able to grab the lead just before halftime thanks to a breakaway led by Matt Doherty after a subpar corner by West Brom that set up Neto.

After being shoved off of stride by an Albion defender, the Portuguese forward darted down the right before sliding inside. Amazingly, he maintained his balance to fire a low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

Pedro Neto strike that opened the scoring Photo Wolves

Pedro Neto’s strike opened the scoring. Photo/ Wolves

When play resumed, West Brom was once again in control, with Wolves having to endure a flurry of pressure that occasionally resulted from their bad decision-making.

Wolves had gotten back into the game as the final quarter approached, with Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s only other noteworthy effort of the match going just wide of the far post from the edge of the area.

Shortly after, West Brom had a chance to tie the score, but Brandon Thomas-Asante concluded a beautiful play by blasting high into the stands from 14 yards out.

Subsequently, John Swift attempted a somewhat more skillful shot from 20 yards, but it was unsuccessful as Wolves got a second goal through Cunha.

A long ball over the top drew the attention of the Baggies defense, and the Brazilian calmly held off a defender’s attention before slotting the ball between Josh Griffiths’s legs and inside the near post at an extreme angle.

Mattheus Cunha celebrates after scoring the winner against rivals West Brom Photo BBC

Mattheus Cunha celebrates after scoring the winner against rivals West Brom. Photo/ BBC

That score set off some very shady scenes in the stands, with stewards and police fighting to restore order as several Wolves fans seemed to be celebrating in the away end and were forcefully removed by West Brom supporters.

There was uncertainty about whether the game would be finished and how the problem would be fixed, leading to a delay of more than thirty minutes, with at least six more minutes to go.

After a while, play resumed, with the referee starting the match from the same moment Wolves scored their second goal, which was 77 minutes and 10 seconds. The players were trying to catch up, and the mood was low.

With Wolves ready to dig in and attack on the break, West Brom found their rhythm again, and Sa had to be on guard to block a weak shot from Swift.

But, after just two minutes of additional time were indicated, the game attained the peaceful ending that it sorely needed, with consequences undoubtedly to follow. On the other end, Griffiths produced an incredible stop to deny Cunha a game-winning third.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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