Home Sport English Premier League Wolves 1 – 1 Aston Villa

Wolves 1 – 1 Aston Villa

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Wolves 1 - 1 Aston Villa

Wolves 1 – 1 Aston Villa. Wolves and Aston Villa settled for a share of the points after two goals in the space of two second-half minutes at Molineux.

Hwang Hee-chan opened the scoring early in the second half when he latched on to Pedro Neto’s cross, poking in at the near post with Wolves’ first shot on target in the game. Celebrations were short-lived, however, as Villa hit back inside two minutes with defender Pau Torres’ first goal for the club.

A lack of goalmouth action was the overriding feature of a disjointed first half that featured more yellow cards than shots on target as referee Rob Jones had his hands full in trying to keep a lid on a feisty West Midlands derby.

Villa’s Matty Cash registered the only effort on goal when he met John McGinn’s cross in the opening 10 minutes, but it was straight at goalkeeper Jose Sa.

The second-half goals helped the game come to life and Wolves had a golden chance to snatch victory in the final 10 minutes when Sasa Kalajdzic squared for Neto, but the Portuguese lacked composure as he blazed over from eight yards out.

Wolves had to hang on during 12 minutes of stoppage time, playing most of the additional minutes with only 10 men after Mario Lemina was shown a second yellow card for pulling back Nicolo Zaniolo. In the final action of the game they were almost undone, Villa striker Ollie Watkins’ header only denied by the woodwork.

The draw moved Wolves up to 14th and four points clear of the relegation zone heading into the international break, while Villa stayed fifth.

Hwang is fast becoming Wolves’ key man having scored his fifth goal of the campaign – already surpassing his tally of three in the league last season and matching the five he scored in 2021-22.

He has now scored six of his side’s past 10 goals in the Premier League and is the club’s first player to net in five consecutive top-flight games since John Richards did so in six successive matches in 1973.

The South Korea international was receiving treatment just moments before he put his side ahead, having been caught in the face by the swinging arm of Diego Carlos. He recovered quickly to make an intelligent run across the front of Ezri Konsa and meet a cut-back from Neto after some fine solo work on the flank from the winger.

Of Wolves’ attacking play and his own form, Hwang said: “He [Neto] is amazing, we understand each other very well. Not just with Neto, but with Cunha and every team player. Our team vibe is very positive. We keep going and try to manage our game. We are going a good way.

“I [have] scored five at the moment but the most important thing is for the team to win. Last week was a big win [against Manchester City] – we are hungry and can do better.

“So far we have done very well. This game was very tough but we got a very important point.”

Neto was also lively and enjoyed plenty of success against Villa wing-back Lucas Digne, claiming his fifth assist of the season and moving level with Tottenham’s James Maddison at the top of that list.

However, Wolves’ other attackers – Matheus Cunha, Kaladjdzic and Fabio Silva – all failed to muster a shot on target.

Indeed, they had three efforts directly on goal over the course of the game and have struggled in that department all season with just newly promoted trio Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton finding the target on fewer occasions.

Villa have won just once at Molineux since 2012, and that victory in 2020 was when the game was played behind closed doors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite having a quick turnaround after beating Zrinjski Mostar 1-0 in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, Villa were the brighter of the sides in the opening stages.

Unai Emery set his side out in a 3-4-2-1, as he has done in three of their five games on the road in the Premier League this season, deploying Cash and Digne as wing-backs and giving them licence to get into the final third.

And Cash almost capitalised on that freedom when he ghosted in at the far post to volley McGinn’s cross but Sa stood firm.

As the half developed, the match lost all rhythm as ill discipline and poorly-timed challenges prevented any meaningful action.

Villa found it difficult to find a supply line for in-form striker Watkins in that first period but he got a sight at goal just a minute after the restart when he stretched to poke the ball at goal, forcing Sa into action.

The England international, who signed a new five-year contract this week, did have a hand in the goal with his cross finding Torres lurking at the far post.

The Spaniard’s first goal for his new club after a summer move from Villarreal ensured a positive run now extending to four unbeaten in the Premier League stretches into the international break.

source – BBC