Wolves’ thrilling European adventure came to the cruelest of ends in Germany, as Sevilla struck with a minute remaining to ensure the old gold’s first Europa League quarter-final in 48 years ended in a narrow, agonising defeat.
Lucas Ocampos’ deft header finally broke Wolves’ resistance in Duisburg and drew the curtain on a season of a lifetime, which started more than a year ago, and has provided some unbelievable memories.
The wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus have been recognized, and gray wolves, as colloquially understood, comprise non-domestic/feral subspecies. The wolf is the largest extant member of Canidae, males averaging 40 kg (88 lb) and females 37 kg (82 lb). Wolves measure 105–160 cm (41–63 in) in length and 80–85 cm (31–33 in) at shoulder height. The wolf is also distinguished from other Canis species by its less pointed ears and muzzle, as well as a shorter torso and a longer tail. The wolf is nonetheless related closely enough to smaller Canis species, such as the coyote and the golden jackal, to produce fertile hybrids with them. The banded fur of a wolf is usually mottled white, brown, gray, and black, although subspecies in the arctic region may be nearly all white.
Of all members of the genus Canis, the wolf is most specialized for cooperative game hunting as demonstrated by its physical adaptations to tackling large prey, its more social nature, and its highly advanced expressive behaviour. It travels in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair accompanied by their offspring. Offspring may leave to form their own packs on the onset of sexual maturity and in response to competition for food within the pack. Wolves are also territorial and fights over territory are among the principal causes of wolf mortality. The wolf is mainly a carnivore and feeds on large wild hooved mammals as well as smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage. Single wolves or mated pairs typically have higher success rates in hunting than do large packs. Pathogens and parasites, notably rabies, may infect wolves.
The global wild wolf population was estimated to be 300,000 in 2003 and is considered to be of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Wolves have a long history of interactions with humans, having been despised and hunted in most pastoral communities because of their attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected in some agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies. Although the fear of wolves exists in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Wolf attacks on humans are rare because wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have developed a fear of humans because of their experiences with hunters, ranchers, and shepherds.
Wolves 0-1 Sevilla | Match report
Seville (; Spanish: Sevilla [seˈβiʎa] (listen)) is the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the River Guadalquivir, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula.
Seville has a municipal population of about 690,000 as of 2016, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the largest city in Andalusia, the fourth-largest city in Spain and the 30th most populous municipality in the European Union. Its old town, with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq mi), contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville harbour, located about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. Seville experiences high temperatures in the summer, with daily maximums routinely above 35 °C (95 °F) in July and August.
Seville was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis. It became known as Ishbiliyah after the Muslim conquest in 711. During the Muslim rule in Spain, Seville came under the jurisdiction of the Caliphate of Córdoba before becoming the independent Taifa of Seville; later it was ruled by the Muslim Almoravids and the Almohads until finally being incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand III in 1248. After the discovery of the Americas, Seville became one of the economic centres of the Spanish Empire as its port monopolised the trans-oceanic trade and the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) wielded its power, opening a Golden Age of arts and literature. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville for the first circumnavigation of the Earth. Coinciding with the Baroque period of European history, the 17th century in Seville represented the most brilliant flowering of the city’s culture; then began a gradual economic and demographic decline as silting in the Guadalquivir forced the trade monopoly to relocate to the nearby port of Cádiz.
The 20th century in Seville saw the tribulations of the Spanish Civil War, decisive cultural milestones such as the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and Expo ’92, and the city’s election as the capital of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia.
It could have been very different on the night, had Raul Jimenez converted his first-half penalty, but Yassine Bounou foiled him, and Wolves were made to pay for that missed opportunity, as chances to follow were few and far between and Sevilla finally made their dominance count right at the death.
Despite the magnitude of the occasion, Wolves’ first European quarter-final in nearly 50 years, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side settled remarkably quickly. After group pressing in the right corner, Adama Traore worked an opening to cross for Jimenez, who, leaning back, managed to steer his header on target but into the arms of Bounou.
Wolves 0-1 Sevilla | Match report
Less than two minutes later and Wolves were on the front foot again, this time Leander Dendoncker guided Joao Moutinho’s cross onto the roof of the net. Then came the game’s big first talking point, which would go against Wolves.
Traore picked the ball up inside his own half, in what Sevilla would have deemed a safe area, but turned on the afterburners and was away, leaving defenders in his wake – the only way to stop him was a cynical chop from behind. Penalty was the decision, but the normally reliable taker Jimenez finally came unstuck from 12 yards, as Bounou went left and guessed correctly.
That miss failed to knock Wolves’ rhythm significantly during a fascinating opening half hour, which also saw Youssef En-Nesyri drag a shot wide for Sevilla and Joao Moutinho hit a looping effort over the crossbar for Nuno’s men.
As the half neared a conclusion, the Spaniards were enjoying more possession, but struggled to break down an organised Wolves side, with Ever Banega’s long-range effort, a simple catch for Rui Patricio, the best they could muster.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Sevilla 0
Sevilla’s monopoly of possession continued after the interview, but Wolves continued to stand strong. On the rare occasion Ocampos got in behind them, Dendoncker nipped in with a timely interception before Joan Jordan could get a shot away – one which would surely have given the La Liga side the lead.
Soon after En-Nesyri wriggled his way through, only to be denied low down by Patricio, before Jules Kounde headed over a tempting Jesus Navas cross – Sevilla were turning the screw.
In a bid to turn the tide, Nuno changed formation and personnel. On came Pedro Neto to replace Moutinho and play down the left, with Traore pushing further right. Soon after Patricio was at full-stretch to claw away Banega’s free-kick, as Diogo Jota joined the action in place of Traore.
However, a cruel twist was yet to come for Wolves as a corner was taken short to Banega and the midfielder whipped in a brilliant cross which Ocampos was able to nod out of the reach of Patricio with just minutes remaining and send the Spaniards into the semi-finals.
Full-time: Wolves 0 Sevilla 1
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Vinagre, Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho (Neto 71), Traore (Jota 79), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Sondergaard, Kilman, Richards, Buur, Marques, Jordao, Gibbs-White, Campana.
Sevilla: Bounou, Ocampos, Banega, Kounde, Navas, Carlos, Reguilon, Jordan (Vazquez 85), Fernando, En-Nesyri (de Jong 85), Suso (El-Haddadi 89).
Unused subs: Vaclik, Sanchez, Gomez, Munir, Escudero, Torres, Mena, Alonso, Genaro, Perez.