Wolves produced one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of this derby by scoring three times in the final 10 minutes to claim victory at Aston Villa.
Goals from Danny Ings and John McGinn had put the home side in control before Wolves – poor until then – scored twice in five minutes, Saiss turning home in the 80th minute before Conor Coady equalised. Then in stoppage time, Ruben Neves’ free-kick from the edge of the penalty area took a huge deflection off Matt Targett, leaving Emiliano Martinez helpless.
Until then, it looked as though McGinn’s inspirational display would be rewarded with victory, but Villa showed surprising fragility under pressure, which is sure to frustrate boss Dean Smith. Wolves were second best for most of the game but showed remarkable fighting spirit.
Ruben Neves scored late to seal a sensational turnaround for Wolves against Aston Villa
The Portuguese midfielder sent a deflected free kick past Emi Martinez to clinch victory
Neves bursts towards the travelling Wolves masses to celebrate sealing a famous victory
Conor Coady levelled the scores at Villa Park after scrapping home an equalising goal
The Wolves captain wheels away in celebration after clawing the game back on Saturday
The Wolves players celebrate in front of the travelling fans during a rollercoaster affair
ASTON VILLA (3-4-1-2): Martinez 6; Konsa 7, Tuanzebe 5, Mings 6; Cash 7 (Young 80), McGinn 7.5, Luiz 7 (Nakamba 68, 6), Targett 6; Buendia 6.5 (Ramsey 74); Watkins 7, Ings 6.5.
Subs (not used): Steer, Sanson, El Ghazi, Hause, Philogene-Bidace, Archer.
WOLVES (3-5-2): Sa 6.5; Kilman 7, Coady 6, Saiss 6; Semedo 6, Dendoncker 7, Neves 6.5, Moutinho 6 (Silva 75), Marcal 5 (Podence 74); Hwang 5 (Jimenez 88), Traore 6.5.
Subs (not used): Moulden, Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Boly, Cundle.
Referee: M Oliver (Northumberland) 6
Villa handed starts to Martinez and midfielder Douglas Luiz, even though the pair returned from international duty only on Friday, while Wolves did not bring Raul Jimenez – who played for Mexico in the early hours of Thursday – until the 88th minute.
Villa’s record signing Emiliano Buendia shot just wide in the second minute before the home side nearly gifted Wolves the opener.
Axel Tuanzebe lost concentration and played a short free-kick straight to Leander Dendoncker, who quickly released Hwang Hee-chan. Hwang sensed another goal after his double against Newcstle before the international break but Tyrone Mings was there to block.
John McGinn was one of Villa’s best players in the first half and the midfielder went close with a 30-yard volley that had Jose Sa scrambling across goal. In the 22nd minute, Buendia volleyed just wide after Matty Cash had beaten Marcal and crossed from the right.
Villa produced the move of the half moments later, as McGinn found Buendia, who slid the ball through to Ings. The forward’s aim was true but Jose Sa denied him with an outstanding save low to his left.
From another Tuanzebe error, Traore nearly produced the goal of the season as he collected the loose pass and burst beyond five Villa challenges. At the decisive moment, though, the winger shot too close to Martinez, who saved with his legs.
Romain Saiss gave Wolves a lifeline after superb work from Ruben Neves and Daniel Podence
The Moroccan takes the ball back to the centre circle after bringing his side back into the tie
Danny Ings ended his goal drought with a fine stooping header to break the deadlock
The £30million striker celebrates after putting Villa in front in the West Midlands derby
Before half-time there were chances at either end. First Ruben Neves’ deep cross was missed by both Conor Coady and Romain Saiss with the home defence nowhere, before Cash struck just too high from 20 yards following good work from Buendia and Ollie Watkins.
Wolves were late out for the second half, with the home crowd starting to whistle before they finally emerged. Three minutes later, Wolves were 1-0 down.
McGinn collected the ball on the right, outwitted Saiss and delivered a perfect ball with his weaker right foot. Ings had bought himself a yard with clever movement and he guided his header beyond Sa.
John McGinn doubled the hosts’ lead with a thumping strike from range to beat Jose Sa
The Scot leaps into the air in front of the Holte End after appearing to wrap up the win
McGinn and Adama Traore battle for possession of the ball during an evenly-fought first half
Traore tore through Villa’s defence but failed to score, firing straight at Emi Martinez’s legs
Nelson Semedo wins his battle with Tyrone Mings, forcing the defender to concede a corner
To the surprise of all in the ground, Wolves boss Bruno Lage still did not send for Jimenez, even though the travelling supporters were calling for him. Then Wolves’ misery was compounded in the 68th minute when Villa scored their second.
Hwang’s sloppy lay-off fell straight to Watkins and when Coady blocked the shot, it rebounded to McGinn 20 yards from goal. McGinn caught the ball sweetly and when it took a deflection off Neves, Sa could do nothing as the ball flew past him.
Villa looked in little trouble until Lage brought on Daniel Podence and he began to run at the home defence. With 10 minutes remaining, Neves sprung the offside trap with a fine ball and Podence squared for Saiss to tap home from six yards.
With Villa jittery, Wolves sensed their moment. More uncertain defending allowed Traore to turn the ball back into the danger zone, where Dendoncker steered it towards Coady. The ball hit the England defender and trickled over the line to spark jubilation among the away fans.
Villa tried to rally but Wolves had the final word. Adama Traore was fouled in shooting range by substitute Jacob Ramsey and though Neves’ free-kick was struck weakly, it hit Targett in the wall, giving Martinez no chance.
Joao Moutinho goes to ground in a bid to win possession off Ollie Watkins at Villa Park
Emi Martinez was back between the sticks on his return from international duty with Argentina