Deulofeu inspired Watford to only their second FA Cup final as the super sub’s magical brace sealed an extraordinary comeback win against a stunned Wolves in a semi-final that will live long in the memory.
Matt Doherty’s header and Raul Jimenez’s fine finish had Wolves 2-0 up and just 11 minutes away from making their first FA Cup final since 1960 before all the drama and controversy kicked off in the closing stages.
Javi Gracia’s decision to bring on Deulofeu paid off in style as the substitute produced an exceptional lofted chip beyond John Ruddy that suddenly gave the Hornets hope of staging a miraculous comeback.
They went close a couple of times before they were given a lifeline in the form of a 94th-minute penalty – which Watford captain Troy Deeney lashed home to send the game into extra time.
The momentum was all with Watford and Deulofeu finished off a fine sweeping move by rolling the ball beyond Ruddy for what proved to be the winner, before then going off injured to end one of the most remarkable cameo appearances ever seen at Wembley.
Wolves still had chances but the Hornets held out to book just their second trip to the FA Cup final in their history and first in 35 years – where they’ll face quadruple-hunting Manchester City.
Watford 3-2 Wolves – Opta stats
- Watford have qualified for the FA Cup final for just the second time in their history, having last done so in 1984.
- Watford won at Wembley for the first time since May 1999 (2-0 v Bolton in the second tier play-off final) – they had lost five of their six games in all competitions at the venue before beating Wolves.
- Since beating Aston Villa in the 1960 FA Cup semi-final, Wolves have been eliminated on each of their last five appearances at this stage of the tournament (1973, 1979, 1981, 1998 and 2019).
- Watford have won 19 games in all competitions this season; their most as a top-flight club in a single campaign since 1986-87 (23).
- Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu is the seventh player to score a brace in an FA Cup semi-final, and the first since Willian for Chelsea in April 2017 (v Spurs).
- Watford striker Troy Deeney has scored in both of his FA Cup semi-final appearances – previously doing so against Crystal Palace in April 2016.
- Wolves’ Matt Doherty scored his fourth goal in the FA Cup this season – only Newport striker Padraig Among (5) has netted more in the competition in 2018-19.
- Diogo Jota has been directly involved in 37 goals for Wolves (26 goals and 11 assists); the most of any player since his debut in August 2017.