By Gayane Melikyan
2019-08-10 12:32
Wolves Defeated Phoenixes
The excitement at the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium in Yerevan was unprecedented. The local team Football Club Pyunik, 14 times champion of the Republic of Armenia, hosted one of the legends of English football Wolverhampton Wanderers in the framework of the 3rd qualifying round of the 2019–2020 UEFA Europa League. Really, it is a quite good result for the Armenian teams to participate in this stage of the European football competition.

Pyunik started in the 1st qualifying round. The rival was the representative of North Macedonia Shkupi. Armenian team tied at home – 3:3, but won in Skopje 2:1 and progressed into the 2nd qualifying round, where Phoenixes played against Jablonec from the town of Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic. Having won in Yerevan 2:1, Armenian footballers tied away 0:0 and got the right to participate in the 3rd round of this competition. Of course, everything becomes more difficult at this stage already.

I would like to present our guests. Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is one of the oldest in England, founded in 1877, 142 years ago. Wolves, as they are commonly called, were English League champions three times (1953–54, 1957–58 and 1958–59). The team has also won the Football League Cup four times (1892–93, 1907–08, 1948–49, 1959–60). They play their domestic matches at the Molineux Stadium (capacity 32,050) in their native town of Wolverhampton. This settlement was founded in 985, and on 18 December 2000 the United Kingdom government announced that Wolverhampton would be granted city status.

This team has seen success, decline, relegation and promotions to the Premiere League in the period of its almost sesquicentennial history. Wolves left the Premiere League in 2011/2012 season and returned in 2018 after a 6-year absence. In the very season they finished seventh and this result gave them right to participate in the Europa League. This year, they will start their campaign in Premier League on August 11. In the first round they will play against Leicester.

They have a serious experience in participating in the European club championships. Their first appearance was in 1958-59 European Cup (now Champions League). But the best result they have ever achieved was in the 1971-1972 UEFA Cup (Europa League was called so previously) edition, when they reached final, but lost to another English team Tottenham. For the last time up now Wolves have participated in any European football competition in 1980–81 UEFA Cup edition. They were defeated by PSV Eindhoven from Netherlands in the first round. So, today’s match was the first after the break of 38 years.

By the way, one of the Honorary vice-presidents of the club is Robert Plant, the lead singer and lyricist of one of the most legendary British rock bands Led Zeppelin. The management of the club announced on 14 August 2009 about it. Plant was five years old only, in 1953, when he first visited Molineux Stadium.

So, August 8, 20:00 by local time. The referee Michael Fabbri from Italy whistles and the match of the 1st leg starts. 13050 fans started to support their teams. Of course, the difference in level and professionalism was obvious throughout the entire match. Two goals were scored by the guests from the UK in the first half. The authors were Matt Doherty on the 29th minute and Jimenez on the 42nd.  By the way, both represent national teams of their countries: Doherty plays for the Republic of Ireland and Raul Jimenez represents Mexico. Right after the break, Jimenez scored his second goal in this match on the 46th minute. And on the 91st minute player of the Armenian team brought his opponent down and Michael Fabbri interrupted the game. Penalty! A huge scoring opportunity for Wolves. The penalty kick was realized by Ruben Neves, who represents the National Team of Portugal. Difference in four goals is quite good result after the first match, especially when the second one Wolves are going to play on their native ground.

We would like to mention about some sort of a record in this match, as no corner was taken. Really, something extraordinary especially with the participation of a British team.

The Football Club Pyunik will be hosted at the Molineux Stadium on August 15 in the framework of the 2nd leg. The match will start at 20:45 by British Summer Time (22:45 by local Armenian time).

We wish a real football party all residents and guests of the city of Wolverhampton a week later!