Wolverhampton Wanderers 0:0 Leicester City (1:3 on penalties)
Danny Ward was City’s hero in the Carabao Cup at Molineux on Tuesday night, saving three penalties in the shoot out after a 0-0 draw…
Claude Puel made eight changes to his side for this Carabao Cup 3rd round tie, while Nuno Espírito Santo made nine changes for Wolves.
City started strongly and Iborra had two chances by the 6th minute, a long range effort going narrowly wide and then a far post header from a Ghezzal free-kick rising over the bar.
City continued to pass around Wolves and keep them in their own half and Silva had a fierce shot blocked by a busy Wolves defence.
Vardy then inflamed the home crowd with what looked like a judo throw on the considerably larger Hause as they contested a ball on the bye-line.
Wolves came more into the game after 20 minutes and some poor positioning from Ricardo allowed Vinagre in down the left, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Ward.
Iborra was having a fine game and sent a inch perfect pass to Vardy from the halfway line, but the striker fluffed his shot, to the delight of the Wolves fans behind the goal.
City went close in the 36th minute when a good passing moved ended with an Albrighton cross. It found Ghezzal at the far post but Coady cleared his effort off the line.
Just before the break Albrighton forced a good save from Ruddy with a well-struck shot from 20 yards, but City had nothing to show for their dominance at the break.
Early in the second half Ricardo intercepted a pass as Wolves attempted a break and fired in a 20-yarder that curled just wide of the right hand post.
At the other end Ricardo did well to race back and put in a challenge on Cavaleiro that was just enough to force his shot inches wide of the left hand post.
Claude Puel made a double change on the hour, Gray and Iheanacho on for Okazaki and Vardy, who was serenaded off the field by the home crowd, much to his amusement.
In the 65th minute a Ghezzal cross from the left found Albrighton six yards out, but Ruddy showed brilliant reactions to get a glove to his shot.
Wolves then hit City on the break and there were four strikers in on Morgan and Evans, but Traoré chose the wrong pass and Ward parried Gibbs-White’s shot away.
The game tightened up in the closing stages, with Wolves perhaps fancying their chances in a shoot-out. Silva was replaced by Choudhury but City could only muster off-target shots from Iborra and Fuchs.
Deep into time-added-on Gray put in a challenge on Bennett but appeared to get his studs caught in the turf, bending his ankle alarmingly. He was strapped up, and given an oxygen mask before being stretchered away.
The final whistle blew soon after this and a concerned City side had to get their heads right for a penalty shoot-out.
It didn’t get off to a good start with Fuchs sending his kick against the bar, but then Saiss sent in a tame effort that Ward saved almost nonchalantly to his right.
Ghezzal slotted his into the top right hand corner, before Ward guessed right again to deny Jota.
A poor effort from Choudhury was easily saved by Ruddy, allowing Ashley-Seal to make it 1-1 with an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Ruddy got a hand to Iborra’s penalty but there was just enough on it, and then Ward saved brilliantly from Traoré diverting the ball onto the post.
Iheanacho strode up confidently to send Ruddy the wrong way, and City into the fourth round.
Claude Puel praised the match-winning Ward: “He is a fantastic keeper and it was a good opportunity for him to show his quality so I am happy for him. It was a tough game for the team and for him also because he didn’t have a lot to do in the game so he had to keep his concentration and his condition until the penalties, and he was very successful.”
There were positive noises being made about Gray’s injury too, so it was a very good night for City.
Wolves: Ruddy, Dendoncker, Coady, Hause, Castro Otto (Bennett 75), Saïss, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Traoré, Bonatini (Ashley-Seal 83), Cavaleiro (Jota 57).
Substitutes: Giles, Watt, Pereira Goncalves, Norris.
Leicester: Ward, Ricardo, Morgan, Evans, Fuchs, Albrighton, Iborra, Adrien Silva (Choudhury 84), Ghezzal, Vardy (Iheanacho 61), Okazaki (Gray 61).
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Jakupovic, Amartey, Diabaté.
Referee: Paul Tierney. Attendance: 21,562.
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