Watford produce famous FA Cup semi-final comeback to stun Wolves at Wembley

FA Cup Semi Final - Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Gerard Deulofeu celebrates giving Watford the lead for the first time as they beat Wolves at Wembley

Watford produced one of the great FA Cup comebacks to beat Wolves 3-2 in extra-time and book a spot in next month’s final against Manchester City.

The Hornets looked down and out with 11 minutes remaining after goals from Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez gave Wolves a 2-0 lead.

But substitute Gerard Deulofeu inspired his side to a famous victory, scoring a fantastic first before Troy Deeney showed nerves of steel to equalise from the penalty spot in the 94th minute.

Deulofeu then capped of a remarkable turnaround in the first half of extra-time, slotting past John Ruddy to send Watford to their second ever FA Cup final and their first since 1984.

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Despite a party atmosphere inside Wembley at kick-off and in the opening stages, there were nerves evident on the pitch.

The first chance of note came on 32 minutes and it was Watford’s. Deeney found himself wide on the left and hooked a perfect ball in for Andre Gray.

Rather than use his head, Gray tried to lift the ball over Ruddy on the volley and only succeeded in lifting it over the bar.

HAL28. London (United Kingdom), 07/04/2019.- Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matt Doherty (C) scores the opening goal during the English Emirates FA Cup semi final match between Watford and the Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Wembley stadium, London, Britain, 07 April 2019. (Reino Unido, Londres) EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications
Matt Doherty’s first-half goal looked to set Wolves on their way to the final

They were made to pay just four minutes later as Matt Doherty continued his phenomenal goalscoring record in the FA Cup this season – he’s scored four from right-back.

A short corner caught Watford sleeping after Heurelho Gomes had denied Leander Dendoncker and Doherty was able to ghost in unmarked and nod home Diogo Jota’s cross to send the Wolves fans wild.

Jota went close to doubling that lead before half-time, bending an effort just wide of the post from 18 yards out, before Conor Coady flung himself in front of Andre Gray’s goal bound shot.

Heurelho Gomes beat away a fierce Jimenez strike as Wolves came out on the front-foot, while Ruben Neves saw a free-kick fly just past Gomes’ left post.

FA Cup Semi Final - Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Deulofeu cut Wolves’ lead in half with a goal of high quality

But Wolves did not have to wait long to double their lead, once VAR had given the referee the green light. Doherty clipped in a ball from the left and Jimenez did fantastically to take it down on his chest and volley it beyond Gomes.

That goal looked to have knocked the stuffing out of Watford, before substitute Deulofeu’s moment of magic handed them a lifeline and turned the game on its head.

The Spaniard looked to have few options as he picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the box, but magnificently clipped the ball over Ruddy and into a gap in the top corner that nobody else saw.

That set up a grandstand finish and Watford began to lay siege to Wolves’ goals. Ruddy and Wolves’ centre-backs dealt with numerous balls into the box, while Jose Holebas fired over the bar from 12-yards out on his favoured left foot.

FA Cup Semi Final - Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Skipper Troy Deeney smashed home a 94th minute penalty to take it to extra-time

Midway through the four minutes of stoppage-time, Watford skipper Deeney was fouled in the box by Dendoncker and the Hornets’ talisman stepped up to take the penalty. He smashed the ball into the back of the net and forced a pulsating semi-final into extra-time.

And it was Deulofeu, the man surprisingly left on the bench by Javi Gracia, who had the final say at Wembley. After a neat one-two with Gray, Deulofeu coasted past Coady and passed the ball beyond Ruddy and into the back of the net.

The second period of extra-time was a nervy affair for both sets of fans, but Wolves were unable to force an equaliser. Ivan Cavaleiro came closest as he rounded Gomes, only to get the ball stuck under his feet and allow Watford time to hack the ball clear.

It means the Hornets will play against Manchester City in their first FA Cup final for 35 years on May 18.

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