Wolverhampton Wanderers pulled off a stunning late comeback to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in a feisty Premier League contest at Molineux on Saturday afternoon.
Wolves sought redemption after becoming the first team to lose a Premier League game to newcomers Sheffield United this season, courtesy of conceding a last-minute penalty.
Visiting Tottenham dealt their first defeat of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign on Monday, slipping to a 4-1 home loss to Chelsea in one of the most enthralling games thus far.
More importantly, manager Ange Postecoglou lost Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie to suspension in that match, while James Maddison, Richarlison and Micky van de Ven succumbed to injuries.
Faced with a selection havoc, the Spurs boss had every right to doubt his side’s chances of bouncing back at Molineux, but the game started in the best possible manner for the visitors.
Tottenham crafted an unstoppable move only three minutes after the first whistle.
Dejan Kulusevski dispatched Pedro Porro in space with a delightful backheel flick, with the right-back picking out Brennan Johnson inside the six-yard box. The youngster guided the ball past Jose Sa to open his Spurs account.
Wolves wasted a glorious chance to level the score moments later as Ben Davies made a last-gasp tackle to parry Rayan Ait-Nouri’s close-range attempt out for a corner.
After 20 minutes of reckless tackles and heated arguments in the middle of the park, Gary O’Neil’s side came knocking on Guglielmo Vicario’s door again through Mario Lemina.
The ex-Southampton midfielder drilled a low shot towards the far bottom corner from a tight angle, forcing the Italian goalkeeper to make a diving save and guide the ball out for another corner.
It proved the last valid attempt to change the scoreline in an otherwise chaotic first half, highlighted by aggressive duels in the middle of the park and two yellow cards for Tottenham.
The second half continued in the same rhythm, with Wolverhampton seeking an equaliser and Spurs trying to protect a slender lead with some stubborn defending.
In-form forward Hwang Hee-chan had a golden opportunity to restore parity in the 55th minute as he latched onto a loose ball but failed to hit the target from point-blank.
Postecoglou’s side tried to respond midway through the second half with a lightning-fast counter. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg set Johnson one-on-one with Jose Sa, but the youngster’s attempted chip went well off target.
But Molineux could’ve felt it coming. Tottenham’s defensive approach had to backfire at some point.
Pablo Sarabia wasn’t on the field for more than five minutes, but it was enough to grab a goal as he received an inch-perfect lofted pass from Matheus Cunha and hammered it past Vicario to win a point for Wolves.
When it looked like the spoils would be shared, Sarabia found Lemina with a line-splitting pass, with the latter turning the ball home to complete the turnaround.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Tottenham Hotspur Player Ratings
Jose Sa (6/10) – Conceded from one of only two shots on target. In his defence, he was powerless against Johnson’s close-range finish.
Max Kilman (7/10) – It’s a shame Wolves failed to crown their captain’s incredible showing with a clean sheet.
Craig Dawson (8/10) – Put a defensive masterclass on display to keep Son Heung-min at arm’s length. His long diagonal balls often created headaches for Spurs’ defence.
Toti (7/10) – Another impressive performance from the Wolves growing star as he barely put his foot wrong against one of the division’s most prolific attacks.
Rayan Ait-Nouri (6/10) – Lost track of Porro for the opener. As an attacking-minded full-back, he demonstrated his offensive skills on several occasions but had nothing to show for it.
Mario Lemina (8/10) – Undoubtedly Wolves’ best midfielder today. An omnipresent figure on both ends of the field and came closer than any other home player to finding the net. Got rewarded for his blistering display with a late winner.
Joao Gomes (5/10) – Got away without a booking for an over-zealous challenge on Porro early on, which encouraged him to make numerous tactical fouls afterwards.
Nelson Semedo (5/10) – Caught napping for the first goal but gradually improved as the game progressed. Inprecise passes and overhit crosses forced his early withdrawal.
Jean-Ricner Bellegarde (4/10) – Failed to impact the play the way he would’ve wanted despite enjoying much of the ball whenever Wolves tried to orchestrate something in the front third.
Hwang Hee-chan (6/10) – Given his red-hot form this season, it’s baffling how he failed to put away a sitter at the start of the second half.
Matheus Cunha (7/10) – Displayed occasional fancy footwork, yet his ‘Samba magic’ did Wolverhampton no favours as he often lacked a final touch. The one time he didn’t, Wolves levelled the score.
Matt Doherty (6/10)
Sasa Kalajdzic (6/10)
Pablo Sarabia (9/10) *MOTM* – Textbook definition of a super-sub!
Thomas Doyle (NA/10)
Guglielmo Vicario (7/10) – Wasn’t genuinely tested today, though was calm and collected to avert the danger whenever needed.
Pedro Porro (7/10) – Whipped in a teasing low cross to help Tottenham open the scoring but vanished from the Wolves half after that.
Eric Dier (7/10) – Showed plenty of insecurity in the early stages, especially when asked to participate in the build-up play. Defensively, though, brought his A-game to Molineux.
Ben Davies (6/10) – Made a vital block to deny Wolves a rapid equaliser. Unfortunately, ran out of steam after the break.
Emerson Royal (6/10) – Less effective than his right-back counterpart, at least in attack. Picked up a well-deserved yellow for a cynical tackle on Semedo.
Pape Matar Sarr (7/10) – Not an eventful performance attacking-wise, but atoned for his offensive shortcomings with an endless work rate to provide additional cover to Spurs’ backline.
Yves Bissouma (6/10) – Often forced to dig himself out of troubles of his own making. Sometimes, it felt like he overestimated his capacities. Won’t play against Aston Villa after accumulating a fifth yellow.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (7/10) – Back to the starting XI and immediately back to what he does best, pulling all the strings in the midfield with clean and precise passing.
Dejan Kulusevski (6/10) – Had his hand in the deadlock-breaker but offered too little in the aftermath.
Brennan Johnson (7/10) – In the right place at the right time to provide an early breakthrough.
Heung-min Son (5/10) – Completely disconnected from the pack in the first half. Barely got to touch the ball in dangerous areas.
Rodrigo Bentancur (6/10)
Bryan Gil (5/10)
Giovani Lo Celso (6/10)
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