BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) -Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves’ deflected free-kick gave Wolverhampton Wanderers a 3-2 comeback win in stoppage time at Aston Villa on Saturday with all five goals coming in the second half of a thrilling Midlands derby in the Premier League.
Neves’ strike from outside the area hit Matt Targett to go past goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, sending the away fans into delirium as most of the 41,961 Villa Park crowd fell silent.
“The ball was in so that’s all that matters. What a win, what a team spirit. I’m so proud of the boys,” Neves said.
“A really hard game for us. Villa are a great team, they were at home, it was a derby – it was almost perfect for us.”
After a tight first half with chances at both ends, Villa had cruised into a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Striker Danny Ings scored his first goal since August with a powerful close-range header from John McGinn’s cross in the 48th minute. Twenty minutes later, McGinn saw his low strike deflect off Neves into the net.
But Wolves clawed themselves back with goals from Romain Saiss, who swept in an 80th minute cross, and then from fellow defender Conor Coady, who got the last touch on a goalmouth scramble five minutes later.
With 2-2 looking a fair score, Neves settled the game in the 95th minute, sending his team mates racing towards the away fans and crumpling in a joyous heap on the grass.
The win took Wolves to eighth in the Premier League on 12 points, and left Villa 12th on 10 points.
“I find it difficult to explain because it should have been a victory. We were comfortable and we didn’t see that coming. Three set-pieces have cost us three goals,” said a shell-shocked Aston Villa boss Dean Smith.
“You have to defend better when goals get put in the box in the last 10 minutes. It’s a painful defeat because it’s one we should have had. We were the better team but you can’t legislate for a lack of composure in the last 10 minutes.”
Wolves captain Coady was ecstatic.
“No matter how the goals go in, it’s incredible!” he said.
“I’m still out of breath to be honest. We gave away sloppy goals but days like that, you don’t think of that. To come back is testament to the boys. Incredible, eh?”
(Reporting by Andrew CawthorneEditing by Christian Radnedge)