Separated from Chorley by 109 places in the English soccer pyramid, Wolverhampton Wanderers did not only manage a single goal in their 1-0 win on Friday, the Premier League millionaires also only managed a single shot — the goal — against the part-timers from the sixth tier.
Vitinha’s 35m, swerving strike in the 12th minute moved Nuno Espirito Santo’s side into the round of 16 in the FA Cup.
It was spectacular, but actually a rare moment of quality from the visitors at a tiny stadium in a former mill town in northern England.
Contrast that with the attacking threat from the minnows. Incredibly, John Ruddy from Wolves was the busier of the two goalkeepers — facing five shots on target, including tipping over a header from Andy Halls, who is a personal trainer in his day job.
It was Wolves having to hang on to avoid being forced into extra team by a disciplined Chorley side who belied their lowly status.
No wonder manager Jamie Vermiglio was not just savoring his chance to take on a Premier League side. A primary-school headmaster in his day job, Vermiglio felt far from outclassed by his Wolves counterpart.
“I thought were were fantastic — I feel really proud, of course I do, but I feel disappointed as well and I never thought I would come off the field feeling the way I feel,” Vermiglio said.
“It’s a strange emotion, because I feel we have just taken a Premier League team all the way,” he said. “We were in a game right until the last minute.”
Chorley eliminated professional league sides Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United and Derby County to earn their place in Friday’s game, earning about ￡500,000 (US$685,000).
“Up and down the country people are struggling [amid the COVID-19 pandemic] and it’s no different in Chorley,” Vermiglio said. “Those players in there have given them something to look forward to and that makes me immensely proud.”
Separately, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has called for a reduction in the number of clubs in the Premier League and English Football League to improve the quality of competition amid talk of a breakaway European Super League.
“I have the feeling that we cannot lose what local leagues mean — what it means to play the FA Cup ... what it means to play in the leagues,” Guardiola said ahead of their FA Cup clash with Cheltenham Town, which was to start after press time last night.
“What we should do is make every league in Europe stronger than what it is, less teams, better championships, better League One, better League Two, better Premier League with less teams in every competition. Go to quality over quantity,” he said. “You have to make a super Premier League ... for that you have to reduce teams, but we can’t kill lower divisions or the Premier League.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
Neymar Jr made his 100th appearance for Paris Saint-Germain on Friday and marked the occasion with a goal in a 4-0 rout of 10-man Montpellier HSC that took Mauricio Pochettino’s side clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Kylian Mbappe scored twice and Mauro Icardi was also on target.
Marcus Thuram scored on his Bundesliga comeback from suspension to seal a 4-2 win for Borussia Monchengladbach over Borussia Dortmund on Friday.
Thuram, who missed four league games and one DFB-Pokal match after spitting at an opponent last month, scored with a header from Florian Neuhaus’ corner in the 79th minute.
Simone Zaza scored twice to rescue a 2-2 draw for relegation-threatened Torino against Benevento Calcio in manager Davide Nicola’s debut in Serie A on Friday.
Nicolas Viola’s first-half penalty and a deflected shot from Gianluca Lapadula early in the second half had put Benevento ahead by two goals, but Zaza responded with a header two minutes after Lapadula’s goal and then equalized in stoppage time by redirecting a throughball with one touch.
AP, VALENCIA, Spain
Levante UD needed Roger Marti’s late goal to salvage a 2-2 home draw against Valladolid in La Liga on Friday.
The match came alive when Levante’s Dani Gomez scored in the 62nd minute from a pass by Jorge Frutos.
Ruben Alcaraz helped rob the ball from Levante’s Mickael Malsa and scored from outside the area to level in the 73rd minute.
Oscar Plano appeared to have given Valladolid the winning goal five minutes later after a pass by Pablo Hervias, but Marti dribbled around his marker to seal the draw.
After a week of storms ashore, Ineos Team UK won one of two races sailed in a shifting breeze yesterday to raise the faint hint of a comeback in the America’s Cup Challenger Series final against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. As racing resumed after a week’s delay, Luna Rossa won the fifth race of the Prada Cup final by 1 minute, 20 seconds to lead 5-0 in the first-to-seven series. Faced with the possibility of match point, Team UK expertly called the shifts to win the second race by 14 seconds and keep the series alive after six races. Two races today are
Women’s golf star Michelle Wie West ripped former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani over objectifying comments in telling a podcast story about her from a 2014 fundraiser. Giuliani, who also served as a lawyer for former US president Donald Trump, spoke on the War Room podcast of political strategist Steve Bannon about paparazzi taking photos of Wie West when her underwear was briefly visible as she stood over a putt. Giuliani, who played alongside Wie West and the late radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, called the tale a joke, but Wie West was more disgusted than amused in referencing the
‘INTIMIDATING’: Andy Murray said that players on the ATP Tour face a difficult challenge going from semi-finals to facing 17-time Grand Slam winners in a final Naomi Osaka’s Australian Open championship moved her up one spot to No. 2 in the WTA rankings on Monday, while men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev rose to a career-best No. 3 behind winner Novak Djokovic on the ATP list as Andy Murray said that the “young guns” on the men’s tour have not closed the gap on the “Big Three.” Jennifer Brady, the 25-year-old American who was the runner-up to Osaka, jumped 11 spots to No. 13, her first time inside the top 20. Aslan Karatsev’s historic run from qualifying to the final four before losing to nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic allowed
OVERCOMING DOUBTS: Although Osaka said that she felt intimidated by Williams, the 23-year-old managed to leave her rival stranded at just 23 Grand Slam titles Naomi Osaka yesterday said she was mentally stronger than ever after emphatically ending Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam crown. The Japanese third seed swept past the American veteran 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Australian Open final in front of thousands of fans after Melbourne lifted a snap five-day lockdown. She faces Jennifer Brady tomorrow for a fourth Slam title after the American beat Czech Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. “I think for me, match experience definitely helped me out,” said Osaka, who reeled off five games in a row in the opening set after going 2-0 down. “There was