24 mins: Suso crosses from the right, and beyond the far post Ocampos cocks his left foot and prepares for a half-volley goalwards, but Matt Doherty spots the danger and careers onto the scene, bundling player and ball behind and getting a goal-kick for his pains.
21 mins: Youssef En-Nesyri heads over from a right-wing cross. Again a difficult chance, and it would have taken an epic header to score, but one for the shots-off-target stats.
17 mins: An excellent start to the match: signs of attacking intent from both teams, and signs that Adama Traoré has got his sprinting shoes on.
14 mins: Now Rui Patricio is in action, diving to his left to push out Suso’s low, skimming drive. That really was the dictionary definition of a rubbish penalty from Jiménez. Neves also had a chance as the ball bounced around the penalty area after the save, but blasted it high and wide.
13 mins: Jiménez trots up to the spot and casually sidefoots it to his right; Bounou refuses to commit himself before the kick is taken, and is left with an easy save!
Penalty to Wolves!
11 mins: What they eventually do is give it away to Dendoncker, who feeds Traore, who zooms down the pitch before being brought down by Diego Carlos as he reaches the penalty area!
10 mins: Sevilla are having a bit of a spell, though they’re still trying to work out what to do with it.
7 mins: Willy Boly is down, and receiving simultaneous treatment from two physios. He doesn’t look terribly pained, mind.
6 mins: The BT Sport commentators, who have the benefit of being able to see the entire pitch, keep seeing Adama Traore lurking just one good pass away from a run on goal, promisingly.
4 mins: Another not-very-good Wolves effort, as Ruben Neves is fouled, the free-kick lifted into the area, and Dendoncker volleys over the bar. It was a horribly difficult chance, and really the only way of scoring was to execute a Platt-against-Belgium swivelling volley only with his left foot, and he didn’t do anything like that.
3 mins: Youssef en-Nesyri runs onto a long header but shoots wide, and is miles offside anyway.
1 min: A first effort on goal comes from Jimenez, 37 seconds into the game, but his header from Traore’s cross is weak, and Bounou collects.
1 min: Peeeeeeep! Wolves get the game under way, immediately pumping it down the right for Adama Traore to fight for.
Right then. The preamble has been completed, and it’s time for football.
The players are on their way out. Well, Sevilla’s substitutes are, and the rest will follow shortly.
I fear that Leander Dendoncker hasn’t fully honed his face-mask chops.
“Am I the only one grinning dumbly at the Sevilla goalkeeper’s name?” ponders Ezra Finkelstein. Um, possibly. It’s like someone wasn’t sure whether to name someone after Bono or U2 and eventually decided to just add two Us to Bono’s name and consider all bases covered.
Talking of grinning dumbly at names, Marina Hyde’s rechristening of Dominic Cummings as “our own Otto von Jizzmark” has had me chuckling for about five hours now.
Here are the teams again in plain text form, for those who can’t see embedded Twitter nonsense:
Wolverhampton: Rui Patricio, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Dendoncker, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Vinagre, Neves, Traore, Jimenez. Subs: Bruno Jordao, Pedro Neto, Gibbs-White, Jota, Ruddy, Campana, Kilman, Rasmussen, Sondergaard, Marques, Richards.
Sevilla: Bounou, Jesus Navas, Kounde, Diego Carlos, Reguilon, Banega, Fernando, Jordan, Ocampos, En-Nesyri, Suso. Subs: Vaclik, Sergi Gomez, Munir, Escudero, de Jong, Torres, Franco Vazquez, Mena, Alonso, Diaz, Genaro, Perez.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy).
Here’s PA Media’s red-hot take on the teams:
Nuno Espirito Santo made two changes as Wolves faced Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals. Ruben Vinagre came in for the injury Jonny Otto in Duisburg, where suspended Daniel Podence was replaced by Leander Dendoncker. Adama Traore started in attack alongside Raul Jimenez, while Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui stuck with the same side that beat Roma last week.
In a couple of hours’ time we could be preparing for an all-English Europa League semi-final, with Manchester United having already booked their spot in the first final four fixture, scheduled for Sunday, while Internazionale will play either Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel in Monday’s other game. To make that happen Wolves will have to get past Europa League specialists Sevilla, who have not been beaten by anybody in any competition since Pione Sisto grabbed a stoppage-time winner for Celta Vigo waaaay back in February. The Spaniards come into the game having won six of their last seven, culminating in last Thursday’s 2-0 win over Roma in this very stadium, a run that saw them finish fourth in La Liga, behind Atletico Madrid only on goal difference (they drew both games against Atleti, so their head-to-head record was identical).
With the special Germany-based single-match format it’ll be decided tonight, one way or another. “It will be like a final for us and for Sevilla,” says Nuno Espirito Santo. “I hope we can go through to the semis.” So, like a quarter-final then.
Weather update: Duisburg has been a raging inferno today, with temperatures topping out at 34C, but it might rain tonight, with my meteorological source telling me there’s a 44% chance of a downpour. Of course, as Willy Boly demonstrates here, the players can always make their own:
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