Watford Complete Remarkable Comeback
Watford fought back from two goals down to reach their first FA Cup final since 1984 by defeating Wolves after extra time in a thrilling semi-final at Wembley.
Wolves looked to have booked their spot in the season ending showpiece thanks to goals from Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez that put them two up with just 12 minutes remaining.
However, inspired by substitute Gerard Deulofeu, Watford turned the game around. First the Spaniard brilliantly chipped the ball over John Ruddy in the Wolves goal.
Then in stoppage time, Troy Deeney converted a penalty after being brought down inside the box by Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker, to force extra time.
Towards the end of the first extra time period, Gerard Deulofeu scored the goal which sent Watford into the final.
He coolly slotted the ball past John Ruddy in the Wolves goal to send the Watford fans into ecstasy.
Watford held on as they secured a place in the FA Cup final on the 18th May against Manchester City.
Meanwhile, for Wolves it will be a hard task for their manager Nuno Espirito Santo to pick up his players for the rest of the season. They were 12 minutes away from a place in the FA Cup final and will be wondering how they let in slip through their fingers.
Doherty Heads Wolves In Front
Wolves almost opened the scoring after just 20 seconds. Raul Jimenez played the ball out wide to Jonny who then curled a shot just wide from outside the box.
Five minutes later, Wolves went close once again. Midfielder Joao Moutinho curled a free kick from 20-yards-out, which went just over the crossbar.
Despite a bright start to the game, neither side were able to have a shot on target in the opening 25 minutes.
On 31 minutes, Watford had their best chance of the first half. A great cross in by Troy Deeney found Andre Gray at the back post. Gray managed to get in behind the Wolves defence but couldn’t keep his shot down when he really should have scored.
Four minutes later, Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was forced into a fine save. A shot 25-yards out from Leander Dendoncker took a deflection off Watford defender Craig Cathcart but was well tipped over the bar by Gomes.
From the resulting corner, Wolves took the lead. A well worked short corner, allowed Diogo Jota to curl a brilliant cross into the box. Wolves defender Matt Doherty ran into the box and headed the ball into the net from three yards out.
They almost made it two a minute later. Diogo Jota ran at the Watford defence, cut inside and curled a great shot from just outside the box, which went just wide of goal.
Watford finished the half strongly and were almost level before the break. A cross into the box by Will Hughes was flicked on by Troy Deeney. The ball found its way to Andre Gray who looked destined to score. However, he was denied by a superb block by Wolves defender Conor Coady.
Watford Fightback Forces Extra Time
Wolves were the brighter side at the start of the second half. On 50 minutes, a cross into the box from Diogo Jota found its way through to Raul Jimenez at the back post. However, the Mexican international was unable to divert the ball into the net.
Diogo Jota was causing Watford’s defence all sorts of problems who were struggling to stop him making rampaging forward runs.
On 62 minutes, Wolves doubled their lead. A cross into the box by Matt Doherty found Raul Jimenez inside the box. The Mexican striker brilliantly brought the ball down, swivelled and then fired the ball into the net from close range.
Watford started to pile on the pressure, as they looked to get back into the game. On 78 minutes, they did just that.
Gerard Deulofeu, who was brought on as a substitute, picked the ball up inside the penalty area. He then exquisitely chipped the ball over John Ruddy in the Wolves goal for one of the goals of the season.
In stoppage time, Watford had the chance to equalize. A ball into the box from Abdoulaye Doucoure found Troy Deeney. The English striker was then brought down inside the box by Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker.
The referee pointed to the spot and had his decision confirmed by VAR. Up stepped Troy Deeney who fired the penalty into the net to send the game into extra time.
Super Sub Deulofeu Sends Watford Into The Final
Despite letting a two goal slip, Wolves started the extra time period well. A shot from Diogo Jota had to be tipped over the crossbar by Heurelho Gomes.
However, Watford went ahead 13 minutes into extra time. Andre Gray and Gerard Deulofeu played a neat one two. Deulofeu then managed to get past Conor Coady and slotted the ball into the net to complete a remarkable comeback from Watford.
Wolves pushed forward in the second period of extra time but where unable to force penalties. Their best chance fell to substitute Ivan Cavaleiro.
The Portuguese winger picked up the ball inside the box and managed to get round Gomes in the Watford goal.
He looked like he was going to score but miscontrolled and the chance was gone.
Watford held on to secure their place in only their second ever FA Cup final. For Wolves their wait goes on and this will be a tough one to take.
Next up for Wolves is Southampton away next weekend. Meanwhile, Watford host Arsenal next Monday in the Premier League.
Photo credit to Gerard Delafeou via Twitter