Wolverhampton reach the round of 16 in the FA Cup without Hwang Hee-Chan.

Wolverhampton reached the last 16 of the 2023-24 FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over Championship (Second Division) side West Bromwich Albion (WBA) in the round of 32 at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, England on Monday afternoon (ET).

Without Hwang Hee-chan, who was away at the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, Wolverhampton faced WBA with the rest of their squad. Totti, Craig Dawson, and Max Kilman formed the backline, with Jose Sa in goal.

At the back, Met Doherty-Thomas Doyle-Mario Lemina-Nelson Semedo. Without Hwang, the attack was Mateusz Cunha, Pedro Neto, and Jean-Luc Bellerin against the WBA defense.

Despite the absence of Hwang, who is the club’s top scorer with 10 goals and sixth in the league, Wolverhampton have held together. They drew 1-1 away to Brentford in the round of 64 on June 6, with Doyle’s equalizer despite an early sending-off for Joao Gomes. In the replay, they went on to win 3-2 in extra time. They also drew 0-0 with Brighton in the 21st round of the Premier League to remain in 11th place.

Against WBA, Wolverhampton continued to play with precision. In particular, WBA moved forward quickly on the counterattack, but their shots were blocked in front of goalkeeper Jose Sa. With the defense holding firm, it was easy for the Wolves to break the game open with an attack. In the 13th minute, Cunha equalized the score with a mid-range shot.

The tension was broken in the 38th minute. Doherty’s back-heeled penetrating pass found Netou on the right side of the penalty area, where he cut to the center of the arc before beating a defender and firing a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net. It was a goal of skill and timing.

After the start of the second half, Wolverhampton switched to a more counter-attacking strategy to defend their one-goal lead and push for more. WBA made things difficult for themselves, with Jed Willis being cautioned for a strong challenge on the Wolverhampton defense.

WBA brought on Tom Ferrow in the 22nd minute to try and change things up, and Wolverhampton had one chance. In the 25th minute, Bellegarde had a shot on goal, but he failed to connect with the post and was replaced by Ait-Nuri.

Wolverhampton added a second goal. In the 33rd minute, Cunha deceived the defense with a pass from Kilman and found the left corner of the goal. When the ball came over the defense from behind, Cunha drove to the right side of the penalty area and slotted it home.

The game was then stopped. Angry WBA fans started throwing punches and fighting, which was stopped by the players. Players from both teams returned to the players’ box to wait for the match commissioner to give the green light to resume. Some spectators were taken to the hospital with blood on their faces.

The game, which was suspended for more than 30 minutes, resumed after the players re-entered, warmed up, and the managers spoke to the officials. WBA made a number of substitutions in an attempt to change the tone. After Cunha’s goal, play resumed on the halfway line.

It wasn’t easy for either team to cool down and warm up again. Especially for Wolverhampton, who were playing away from home. WBA went on the attack and kept winning corners, looking for a goal.

After spending some time solidifying their defense, Wolverhampton ended the game without the risk of a replay and punched their ticket to the round of 16. Wolverhampton are learning to score without Hwang Hee-chan.

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