Aston Villa 2 (El Ghazi 28, Elmohamady 57) Wolves 1 (Cutrone 54)
Wolves exited the Carabao Cup with their heads held high as Nuno Espirito Santo’s youthful side were narrowly beaten by Aston Villa. Backed by more than 5,000 supporters, Patrick Cutrone gave those that travelled a moment to celebrate, but it wasn’t enough as the hosts progressed.
Villa led through Anwar El Ghazi’s first-half strike, before Cutrone turned home following brilliant play by youngster Taylor Perry. However, back came the Villains and Ahmed Elmohamady flicked home the winner at the near post to sink brave Wolves.
For Nuno’s group, it was a night for the youngsters, as four Wolves Academy products made their debuts at Villa Park, with a further three featuring in the cup tie, and each one did themselves proud on a night to show off the incredible work going on with the youngsters at Wolves.
It was a proud night for all youngsters involved, not least Chem Campbell who, aged just 16, became the second youngest player to represent Wolves after Jimmy Mullen. He joined Dion Sanderson and Taylor Perry, who were making their full debuts having progressed through the club’s system.
Attempting to make is a dream debut, it was Campbell who registered Wolves’ first shot, after Cutrone had won possession in a dangerous area, but the midfielder's shot was always curling wide of goal.
At the other end, Villa were finding a brave Wolves wall in their way each time they threatened the Wolves goal, with Maximilian Kilman providing a timely block on Trezeguet, while Douglas Luiz failed to find a way through with three separate efforts from range.
However, the hosts did enjoy the telling moment of the opening period. A precise through ball by Henri Lansbury cut through the channel and El Ghazi’s controlled finish squeezed under John Ruddy, who got a fair bit on the ball, but couldn’t keep it out.
Half-time: Aston Villa 1 Wolves 0
Like so often in recent weeks, it was the second-half when Wolves came to life and they were level within ten minutes of restart. Perry robbed Ezri Konsa of possession and received the ball back from Cutrone, cut inside and curled an effort into a dangerous area, allowing Cutrone to turn beyond Jed Steer.
However, parity lasted just two minutes and Villa retook the lead from a set piece. Lansbury was once again the creator, clipping a free-kick towards Wolves’ near post, meaning the deftest of flicks by Elmohamady wrong-footed Ruddy and found its way in.
The rip-roaring start to the second period continued as a stray pass sent Cutrone through at the other end straight away, but on this occasion, Steer made himself big and kept out the shot.
Midway through the second period came opportunities for Benny Ashley-Seal and Terry Taylor, also making his first Wolves appearance, as Campbell and Bruno Jordao made way. Soon after came Flavio Cristovao moment to remember, as he came on for Neto to make his debut.
And, after the changes, Wolves continued to fight until the end, but once Ruben Vinagre fed Cutrone which snatched at the shot first-time, the final opportunity was gone and Villa booked their place in the next round.
Full-time: Aston Villa 2 Wolves 1
Aston Villa: Steer, Taylor, Luiz, Lansbury (McGinn 81), Hourihane, Konsa, Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Elmohamady, Hause, Davis (Kodja 50).
Unused subs: Nyland, Chester, Wesley, Nakamba, Guilbert.
Wolves: Ruddy, Sanderson, Vallejo, Bennett, Kilman, Vinagre, Perry, Jordao (Taylor 71), Campbell (Ashley-Seal 68), Neto (Cristovao 77), Cutrone.
Unused subs: Patricio, Richards, Buur, Samuels.