Report | Wolves 3-0 Sheff United
Daniel Podence’s brace helped Wolves to secure their place in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup following a comfortable victory over Championship outfit Sheffield United.
The Portuguese struck a goal in each half, and either side of Nelson Semedo’s first goal of the 2021/22 season to blunt the Blades. Podence opened the scoring when he was found unmarked inside the penalty area before slotting the ball home.
Wolves were dominant for much of the contest and should have gone into the break with more than a one-goal lead, but having withstood a few nervous moments their performance was replicated by the scoreline by the end of the game, thanks to Semedo firing high into the net following a breakaway, before Podence added his second after a mistake by United keeper Wes Foderingham gifted the ball to the winger who dispatched an effort from the edge of the box.
But it was almost a calamitous opening two minutes at Molineux as Rayan Ait-Nouri played a loose pass across the 18-yard box and straight to Billy Sharp, but having taken a touch, the striker could only drag his shot wide of the upright. Moments later, the Blades penned Wolves in and a cross met the head of David McGoldrick, unmarked inside the penalty area, whose effort flew narrowly wide of John Ruddy’s opposite post.
Wolves grew into the game throughout the stages, and, having seen Fabio Silva bring a save out of Foderingham with a header, Lage’s men were calling for a penalty when Podence appeared to have been hacked in the shin inside the box, but referee Paul Tierney waved away the appeals.
Moments after the visitors should have taken the lead when McGoldrick was left in acres of space in the middle, with Ruddy quick off his line to save the forward’s effort before Conor Coady could clean up and the line, Wolves broke down the other end and opened the scoring.
Former Wolves man Jack Robinson’s backpass was cut out cleverly by Fabio Silva before the Portuguese teed up his fellow countryman Podence, and after the winger turned Chris Basham in the box, he fired a shot low into the bottom left corner of the net.
Wolves could have doubled their tally for the afternoon through Adama Traore who was played through on goal by Silva, but having leaned back before he shot, his effort flew into the North Bank. The provider almost became the scorer minutes later when Silva played a clever one-two with Podence which saw the striker played over the top of the United defence. After taking a touch, he attempted to chip the outrushing Foderingham, but the keeper got fingertips to the ball to send it wide of the post.
The hosts had more bites of the cherry to add a second before the break, as Traore, Podence and Semedo all tried their luck from good positions around the penalty area, but the Blades were able to cling on, with red and white shirts throwing their bodies on the line to keep the ball out of the net, before Ait-Nouri curled an effort wide of the post and Ruben Neves let fly from distance, with the ball sailing narrowly over the crossbar.
Just before half-time, United thought they were back in the game when Sharp turned the ball into the top corner of the net from inside the six-yard box, but referee Tierney ruled out the goal following the striker using a high foot on Coady to score.
The second-half began in quiet fashion, with neither side doing much to trouble their opposite goalkeepers. The closest the scoreline came to being changed in the first 20 minutes was though a long-range Ait-Nouri shot, which flew harmlessly into the South Bank after another clever forward run by Maximilian Kilman – who had switched to the left side of the back three with Marcal replaced by Joao Moutinho at the break, having nursed an injury in the closing stages of the first period.
With 25 minutes remaining, both Wolves and United made changes off the bench to bring some life to the proceedings, and it almost had immediate impact for the visitors, as Sander Berge picked up the ball on the edge of the hosts’ penalty box and launched a stinging shot which just missed the corner of Ruddy’s crossbar and post. Down the other end, Neves had three attempts to fire his own missile towards the Blades’ goal, but all his efforts were blocked and didn’t trouble Foderingham.
The hosts finally got the second goal their play deserved, and it came through the unlikely source of Semedo. Having scored the only goal of his Wolves career in the final game of the last Premier League season, he got on the scoresheet once again for his opening FA Cup strike, as Ait-Nouri broke down the left and his low cross found the Portuguese’s run and he struck a first time shot high into the far side of the net.
Wolves had only finished celebrating when almost saw United half the deficit as Sharp was played through on goal and his goalbound shot had to be palmed around the post by Ruddy at full stretch.
A third goal arrived for Lage’s men with just under 10 minutes remaining in the tie, virtually securing Wolves’ place in the fourth round of the competition, and it was Podence who notched his second of the game – and fourth of the season in the cups.
A mistake by Foderingham allowed Raul Jimenez to snatch possession back on the edge of the penalty area, and he squared to the Portuguese winger in the centre, who smashed low into the net as the United defenders attempted to get back on the line as cover for their keeper.