During the match between the ex-coaches of Bournemouth, Eddie Howe and Gary O’Neil, neither was able to emerge victorious. The intense competition showcased a lot of skill, but also highlighted how VAR often leads to scrutiny and added stress for referees instead of simplifying their job.
The referee, Anthony Taylor, made several questionable decisions that were not well-received, such as the penalty that led to Callum Wilson scoring his second goal for Newcastle. As he left the field, Taylor was met with boos from the home fans who had been jeering his decisions throughout the game. It took an extended amount of time for Stockley Park to confirm the penalty, causing the audience to become increasingly doubtful.
The wolves, fueled by a sense of unfairness, finally achieved a goal that they deserved thanks to the skillful play of Hwang Hee-chan, who had previously given away the critical penalty. Prior to that, Newcastle appeared poised to overcome their Champions League fatigue and defeat their formidable opponent, but as O’Neil stated about his team: “We faced some challenges on the field, but the players remained united.”
Due to Fifa’s confirmation of Sandro Tonali’s international suspension for gambling, Howe was restricted in his choices for the team. He was only able to make one change during the match. The players were feeling the effects of competing in the Champions League, as injuries to Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak occurred against Borussia Dortmund. The draw against Wolves marked the end of a challenging week for Howe, who referred to it as “mentally tough” due to the Sandro situation.
“The schedule may not have fully impacted us, but the injuries have,” stated the manager of Newcastle. “I won’t complain about the schedule.”
In the rainy weather at Molineux, Pedro Neto, the talented player for Wolves, showed early on that he was a threat to the Saudi Arabian team by easily passing a struggling Dan Burn. However, he later had to leave the game due to a hamstring injury. Hwang, who has now scored six goals in 10 matches, matched the achievement of Wolves legend Derek Dougan from 50 years ago. He was also energetic and involved from the beginning. After sharing his winning strategy in last week’s victory against Bournemouth on Monday Night Football, O’Neil’s team aggressively pressed their opponents.
Kieran Trippier’s uncharacteristic mistake in the early stages of the game set the tone for an uncomfortable evening for the England player. However, Matheus Cunha’s finishing has not yet matched the level of skill displayed in the rest of his performance, much to the disappointment of Wolves.
The Wolves experienced a double penalty when José Sá made a mistake and let Anthony Gordon’s cross reach Wilson, who took advantage of the opportunity to surpass Shola Ameobi and Andy Cole in the list of Newcastle’s top Premier League goal scorers.
Mario Lemina’s goal from Neto’s corner was a fitting reward for Wolves’ hard work. This also allowed Neto to surpass Trippier in the Premier League assist rankings. However, it should be noted that Trippier’s own lack of attention to marking was to blame.
Hwang committed a mistake under pressure, as his attempt to challenge Fabian Schär resulted in a penalty being awarded by referee Taylor. However, there was a lengthy delay as the VAR reviewed the incident. Upon review, it appeared that Hwang had kicked the ground first, rather than Schär. Howe acknowledged that it was a contentious and strange decision, while O’Neil called it scandalous and expressed surprise that it wasn’t overturned. Sá’s opportunity to make amends was hindered by Wilson’s successful penalty kick, despite Sá getting a hand on it.
During the break, there was discontent among the spectators as they complained about a potential handball by Bruno Guimarães that was ignored, much to the frustration of O’Neil. The integrity of the Premier League was being challenged by the vocal supporters in the Jack Hayward Stand.
The Wolves supporters chanted, “If we were in the same situation, you would have ejected him,” when Hwang’s attempt was stopped by Jamaal Lascelles and only a yellow card was given. This frustration quickly turned into confident and enthusiastic celebration as Hwang skillfully maneuvered past Burn and scored, thanks to Toti Gomes’ great teamwork.
Hwang, the unlucky victim who became a hero, expressed his sadness after giving his team a penalty and was determined to make it up to them.
The excitement continued until the end. Schär attempted a header that missed, O’Neil substituted Sasa Kalajdzic for the injured Neto, and the tall Austrian posed a challenge for the Newcastle defense. One impressive control of a high pass caused chaos in the Newcastle box, but despite the desperate pleas of their wet managers, neither team was able to score the winning goal.