Wolves had two men sent off as Leeds produced one of the high-scoring football scores of the weekend in the Premier League. Within six minutes, Jack Harrison put Javi Gracia’s team ahead, and when Luke Ayling and substitute Rasmus Kristensen extended the lead in the second half, the points appeared to be secure. But, a beautiful goal from Jonny and a deflected effort from the Wolves put the game back in balance. The home team’s momentum was delayed by Jonny’s subsequent red card, and Rodrigo’s strike clinched the deal. Leeds started the day in the relegation zone, but Gracia’s team is now 14th in the Premier League table, just one spot and one point behind Wolves’ Julen Lopetegui.
The latter phases of the game were cut short due to a series of VAR replays, the first of which resulted in Jonny’s red card after he was initially handed a yellow card by referee Michael Salisbury. The second was more contentious since the VAR had asked Salisbury to look for a foul on Adama Traore in the build-up to Rodrigo’s goal. Marc Roca looked to yank the winger’s jersey, but the referee appeared to decide that it was not important enough to rule the goal out. It provoked scenes of rage and despair on the Wolves bench, with Matheus Nunes receiving a red card despite not playing.
In the early moments, Wilfried Gnonto was the brightest player on the field, teasing the defenders on the left wing. His cutback begged to be sent into the net, and Harrison obliged, beating Jose Sa with a high strike away to the goalkeeper’s left. Cunha’s second-half goal snapped the Wolves’ Premier League goal drought of nearly a year, but they were wasteful once more. Before the break, Daniel Podence, Pedro Neto, and Nelson Semedo all missed decent chances. They paid the price for it early in the second half, when Ayling found space at the far post to nod in Roca’s right-wing corner. When Kristensen entered the game, he swiftly dispossessed Jonny and slotted into the corner.
The game never seemed that way, and the Wolves’ comeback came as little surprise, despite the dramatic nature of the goals. Illan Meslier came out of his box to sweep up, but Jonny put the ball over his head from long range. Cunha’s deflected attempt then caught Meslier off guard, and the Wolves appeared to be in good condition to take something from the game with Molineux rocking. Jonny’s red card, for a studs-up tackle on Ayling, after he lost control of the ball, changed that. With the temperature on the pitch and on the benches rising, it was a disaster. But in the aftermath, when the Wolves were criticizing the referee, they will reflect on their own sloppiness.
Jonny from Wolves scored from 41 yards against Leeds, the farthest distance a Premier League player has scored from since Wayne Rooney’s 58-yard strike for Everton against West Ham in November 2017. Jonny also became the first Wolves player to score and be sent off in a Premier League game since Chris Iwelumo against Preston in September 2008.
“We had a clear punishment. Very clear. The ref and VAR thinks the opposite. Perhaps I don’t comprehend my sport. Junior Firpo does not touch the ball. Nelson touched the ball and took a severe knock; I had to replace him in the second half,” Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui said. “Once again, it was a clear foul. I’ve seen the image, and he’s clearly fouled. He was extremely unlucky. It was the linesman that collided with him, not Nunes. I believe they will reconsider their choice. The image is crystal clear. He has no intention of doing so.”
“They deserve the reward, the three points, because we put up a good display today,” Leeds boss Javi Gracia said. “Weston and Marc both performed admirably. We’ve played some games with Weston and Tyler and others with Tyler and Marc, but today both performed admirably, in my perspective. Nonetheless, the entire team contributed to this result, not just them.”
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