Matt Doherty

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Europa League preview: Man Utd, Wolves travel to stadium burdened by racial abuse

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Manchester United hopes to build off Monday momentum when it visits Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, though the hosts have some off-field aims following a pair of closed-door matches due to racist behavior.

Partizan boss Savo Milosevic, a former Aston Villa striker, has vowed that the match will be void of racism and a “celebration of football.”

United players Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford were part of an ugly atmosphere in Bulgaria while on England duty — something Maguire called “sickening” — but believe things will be better in Belgrade.

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Maguire is set for a new experience in the tie should he start, sort of. Maguire played a UEL qualifying round match with Hull City in 2014, but this is his first start in a European tournament proper. From ManUtd.com:

“Playing in Europe is another challenge,” he said. “It’s something I’m looking forward to, something I’m relishing. I want to play in the biggest games with the biggest pressure and that’s why I signed for a club like Man United, one of the biggest in the world. I’m looking forward to challenging myself under the lights in European football.”

United kicks off at 12:55 p.m. ET as one of two early starts for Premier League teams.

Wolves begin back-to-back matches against Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia, another situation where the hosts are dealing with recent racial problems.

Thursday’s match was supposed to be behind closed doors, but UEFA have allowed ticket giveaways to youth players and school kids. Wolves aren’t exactly impressed at the lessened punishment.

Here’s Matt Doherty, who says his Wolves will gladly leave the pitch if there’s a problem of any kind. From The Birmingham Mail:

“If it comes to it when players feel uncomfortable then I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Doherty adds. “I would hate to be in a position where you have to choose. I would hate that, so hopefully it doesn’t happen. I would be more in the mind of trying to beat them on the pitch.”

Wolves have a win and a loss, leaving them a point behind their Thursday opponents and Braga.

The lone PL club kicking off at 3 p.m. is Arsenal, the Gunners having played very well in the Europa League but fairly substandard in the league.

Arsenal is one of five 2-0 teams in the UEL, and can essentially cement their place in the next round by dealing with Vitoria at the Emirates Stadium.

Europa League full slate

12:55 pm. ET
Besiktas v. Braga
Roma v. Borussia Monchengladbach
CSKA Moscow v. Ferencvaros
Partizan Belgrade v. Manchester United
Qarabag v. APOEL Nicosia
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Espanyol
Slovan Bratislava v. Wolves
Porto v. Rangers
Saint-Etienne v. Oleksandriya
Gent v. Wolfsburg
Istanbul Basaksehir v. Wolfsberg
Young Boys v. Feyenoord
AZ Alkmaar v. Astana

3 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Lazio
Sevilla v. Dudelange
Arsenal v. Vitoria
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Standard Liege
Rennes v. CFR Cluj
Sporting Lisbon v. Rosenborg
Getafe v. Basel
Dynamo Kyiv v. Copenhagen
Malmo v. Lugano
PSV Eindhoven v. LASK
Trabzonspor v. Krasnodar

Jimenez, Jota lead Wolves to Europa League blowout

Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images
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Nothing’s impossible, but Wolves built an improbable lead after one leg to take a step closer to the Europa League group stage.

Mexican striker Raul Jimenez scored twice and Diogo Jota had three assists as Wolves buried Armenian side Pyunik 4-0 in Yerevan on Thursday.

[ MORE: PL transfer grades ]

The second leg comes at the Molineux in one week, and Wolves begin the Premier League season on Sunday morning with a visit to Leicester City (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com)

Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also scored, as Wolves led 2-0 at the break following Raul’s 42nd minute goal. He completed his brace one minute after halftime.

Should Wolves manage its lead, it will have to win more round to reach the group stage.

Wolves top Arsenal for 1st time in 40 years (video)

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  • Electric Jota scores
  • Another Neves distance beauty (video)
  • Jonny instrumental in 3-goal first half

Wolves rode an electric first half past a barely-interested Arsenal to reclaim seventh place on the Premier League table with a 3-1 win at the Molineux Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsenal remains fifth with 66 points, while Wolves move to 51 on the season behind goals from Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, and Matt Doherty.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored Arsenal’s goal, as the Gunners lost to Wolves for the first time since 1979.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves had the best of the early chances, with Joao Moutinho curving a 20-yard attempt wide of the near post and Jonny Otto winning a dangerous free kick.

And that second chance hit pay dirt, as Neves did what he often does in such situations. A sensational free kick zipped over the wall and past a flying Bernd Leno.

The Arsenal keeper stopped a fireball cross from Diogo Jota in the 36th. Wolves scored off an ensuing corner kick, with Jonny sweeping a cross into the box for Doherty to nod home.

Jota made it 3-0 for the Wolves before halftime, as Leno certainly will regret his inability to get more than a piece of a low drive. Jota humiliated Sokratis with a shimmy before hitting it under the keeper.

Sokratis pulled a goal back with an 80th minute header that seemed destined to be a mere souvenir, and was.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Deulofeu leads stunning comeback, Watford reaches FA Cup Final (video)

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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  • Doherty puts Wolves ahead
  • Jimenez makes it 2-0 with terrific goal, celebration (video)
  • Deulofeu pulls one back with stunning chip
  • Wolves to meet Man City in final

Gerard Deulofeu scored two goals including the extra time winner as Watford came back from two down to beat Wolves 3-2 in a thrilling FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Watford will tangle with Manchester City in the FA Cup Final on May 18 at Wembley Stadium.

Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez scored Wolves, who led 2-0 with 10 minutes to play.

Troy Deeney scored Watford’s other goal, while Deulofeu’s markers were his eighth and ninth of the season to go with five assists.

[ MORE: Everton 1-0 Arsenal ]

Andre Gray leapt in a bid to chop a terrific Troy Deeney cross over the bar, but a header would’ve been wiser and Gray’s kick popped over the frame.

Heurelho Gomes reacted quickly to parry a deflected Leander Dendoncker shot over the goal.

Wolves went ahead through a training ground corner kick, Doherty getting in front of Abdoulaye Doucoure to nod a left-footed cross past Gomes.

Deeney cued up Gray for another chance in first half stoppage, but the latter’s smash sliced off Wolves defender Conor Coady for a corner kick.

Jimenez doubled Wolves lead in sensational fashion, chesting a cross into position for an airborne volley past Gomes.

But it wasn’t over thanks to genius from substitute Deulofeu, who chipped the keeper from a wild angle to make it 2-0.

Dendoncker caught Deeney’s foot in the box during stoppage time, and Watford hit the penalty spot with a bid to make it 2-2.

https://twitter.com/OptaJoe/status/1114935039047929856

It was off to extra time!

Bournemouth-Wolves penalty-fest ends in draw (video)

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  • Three penalties
  • King hits one, misses late bid to win
  • Jimenez converts for Wolves

Raul Jimenez’s 10th goal of the Premier League season helped Wolves to a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

The Mexican also has six assists on the season, and moved his club level with Watford on 40 points. Wolves are behind on three goals of differential.

Bournemouth saw Joshua King convert a penalty and miss another, the Cherries now six points back of seventh.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

About a minute after Wolves’ Raul Jimenez had a goal pulled back for a foul, Bournemouth earned a penalty when King hit the deck under pressure from Joao Moutinho.

King finished his effort, and it was 1-0.

Dominic Solanke won a corner with a fine dribble into the 18 in the 27th minute, but Rui Patricio collected it.

At the other end, Diogo Jota sent a shot/pass through the six that Jimenez couldn’t slide through to equalize in the 38th minute.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Bournemouth was better money for a second goal than Wolves a first, though possession was in favor of the visitors.

Jordon Ibe smashed the cross bar with under 20 minutes to play.

The Cherries were punished for their lack of finish when Matt Doherty was fouled in the box by Adam Smith.

Jimenez rolled the ball to the opposite side of a diving Artur Boruc in the 83rd.

Amazingly, a penalty came within a minute or so of restart. Ivan Cavaleiro was adjudged to have committed a foul on Ryan Fraser inside the box (it was outside). But King hit his shot off the outside of the right post.

Hilariously, the sprinklers began as the match hit its fifth of five scheduled minutes of stoppage time.