Wolves 1-1 Aston Villa: Torres goal rescues a point in Midlands derby

Wolves 1-1 Aston Villa: Pau Torres scores his first goal for Unai Emery’s side to cancel out Hwang Hee Chan’s opener – as Mario Lemina is shown a late red card for hosts in ill-tempered derby

  • Pau Torres scored his first Aston Villa goal to earn his side a point at Wolves
  • Hwang Hee-Chan had given Wolves the lead with his fifth goal of the season 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

How these teams kept 11 men each on the field for so long is anyone’s guess after a game in which Wolves and Aston Villa spent more time winding each other up than playing football.

When Wolves midfielder Mario Lemina was finally shown the red card in stoppage time for a second booking, it felt incredible that he was the first and only player dismissed after what had happened before. In trying to let the match flow, referee Rob Jones lost his grip on it early and never regained it.

Craig Dawson and John McGinn treated the first half as an audition for WWE wrestling and Douglas Luiz somehow avoided punishment for a forearm smash on Hwang Hee Chan.

They were far from the only ones guilty in a nonsense of a first half. Was this really the best 22 millionaires could do to entertain nearly 32,000 fans who had paid handsomely to watch them?

Luckily for those inside Molineux, the second half was a little more fun. Hwang gave Wolves the lead soon after taking that blow in the face from Luiz only for Pau Torres – who had been at fault – to equalise with his first goal for Aston Villa soon afterwards. Pedro Neto could have won it for Wolves while Jose Sa made fine saves from Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins, who headed against the post in the final act.

Pau Torres earned Aston Villa a point against Wolves with his first goal for Unai Emery’s side

Mario Lemina was sent off late on for Wolves after picking up two yellow cards

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Villa boss Unai Emery brought back his main men after rotating for the midweek win over Zrinjski Mostar and they nearly combined to give Villa an early lead.

Moussa Diaby crossed from the right and the unmarked Torres should have done better than head wide from eight yards.

Then Boubacar Kamara was booked for pulling back Matheus Cunha and Jose Sa made an important stop to keep out Matty Cash’s volley, after a fabulous Villa move involving Douglas Luiz and John McGinn. Moments later, McGinn was just off target from 35 yards.

That was after 15 minutes – and for the remainder of the first half the sides largely forgot about football and focused instead on winding one another up.

At every corner, Craig Dawson and McGinn held grappling contests straight out of a primary school playground. Both men were later booked – Dawson for a foul on Ollie Watkins and McGinn for flattening Pedro Neto.

Referee Rob Jones struggled to maintain control in a bad-tempered Midlands derby

Wolves’ Craig Dawson and Villa’s John McGinn were regularly involved in altercations throughout the 90 minutes

Douglas Luiz avoided punishment after appearing to strike Hwang Hee-Chan in the face

The niggling continued. Wolves only proper chance of the opening period came when Rayan Ait-Nouri steered Hwang’s cross just wide. Ait-Nouri was soon on the deck after he was pole-axed by Cash, though that challenge at least looked accidental. Douglas Luiz performed a ridiculous dive to try to get Nelson Semedo into trouble, and with the first half nearly over, Dawson and Mario Lemina raced out to block Douglas Luiz’s effort from inside the box.

Seconds after the restart, there was finally a little quality. McGinn’s ball from the left was skilfully volleyed goalwards by Watkins only for Sa to flick impressively over the bar. It did not take long for normal service to return, however, as Hwang took a forearm in the face from Luiz had to be patched up at length. Bizarrely, no foul was given.

Hwang paid back Villa in the most effective way. Neto had been kept quiet in the first half but finding himself on the right, he motored beyond Torres and when his cut-back deflected off Lucas Digne, Hwang was positioned perfectly to guide it home inside the six-yard box.

Yet in the blink of an eye, Torres redeemed himself by bringing Villa level. When Wolves failed to clear a Villa free-kick, Watkins clipped the ball back into the danger zone and Torres sneaked around the back of Semedo to steer beyond Sa. Wolves had been ahead for only two minutes – yet still Emery had a face like thunder in the dugout.

Hwang gave Wolves the lead with his fifth goal of the season, guiding home a Pedro Neto cross

Torres redeemed himself with a goal after being easily beaten by Neto in the build-up to Wolves’ opener

Unai Emery was less than impressed with his side as they missed the chance to earn a fourth consecutive Premier League win

Following another tussle between Hwang and Luiz, the Wolves man hit the deck again after the Brazilian appeared to push him, yet VAR John Brooks saw no reason to investigate further. Emery had been agitated all game and it was no surprise when he was booked midway through the half.

Wolves could have forged ahead with a brilliant break that saw substitute Sasa Kalajdzic put in a delightful ball for Neto, who skied it with his weaker right foot at the far post.

As 12 minutes’ stoppage time were announced, sub Leon Bailey released Watkins, who seemed to be pushed by Matt Doherty as he shot. Again, nothing was awarded but referee Rob Jones finally lost patience and gave Lemina a second yellow card for pulling back Nicolo Zaniolo.

Then ticked by Luiz had another effort from promising range blocked and from the corner, sub Zaniolo nearly turned Bailey’s flick on into the far corner. The visitors were finishing strongly and from another neat move, Sa denied Ezri Konsa from 10 yards. But he could do nothing as in the 14th minute of added time, Watkins headed Luiz’s cross against the base of the post and seconds later Jones blew for time.

Match Facts

Wolves (3-4-3): Sa 8; Kilman 7.5, Dawson 8, Toti 7; Semedo 5.5, Gomes 6.5 (Traore 69, 7), Lemina 5 Ait-Nouri 6 (Doherty 46, 6); Neto 7, Cunha 6 (Kalajdzic 76, 6.5), Hwang 6.5 (F Silva 86). Subs not used: Bentley, S Bueno, Jonny, Doyle, Sarabia.

Scorers: Hwang 53

Sent off: Lemina

Booked: Dawson, Semedo

Manager: Gary O’Neil 6

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Martinez 6; Konsa 7, D Carlos 6.5, Torres 6.5, Digne 6.5; Cash 6.5 (Bailey 81), Kamara 6 (Tielemans 82), D Luiz 7.5, McGinn 6.5; Diaby 5.5 (Zaniolo 62, 6), Watkins 7. Subs not used: Olsen, Traore, Chambers, Lenglet, Duran, Dendoncker.

Scorers: Torres 55

Booked: Kamara, McGinn

Manager: Unai Emery 6

Referee: Rob Jones 5

Attendance: 31,578

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