Leander Dendoncker

10-man Wolves level late against pitiful Palace defending

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Wolves fought back for a deserved point via a last-second equalizer, as Crystal Palace’s stoppage time silliness allowed a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

A Leander Dendoncker own goal put the Eagles in front, and Palace was up a man when Romain Saiss took his second yellow with 18 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

But danger man Jeff Schlupp was denied in the box by star man Rui Patricio minutes before Diogo Jota capitalized on Palace allowed a silver platter cross to get to his feet.

Wolves are still winless, with four draws through six matches, and sit 19th. Palace’s eighth point has it 12th on the table.


Three things we learned

1. Ward giveth, and taketh away: Joel Ward forced the own goal that gave Palace the lead when his wild drive through traffic turned off Leander Dendoncker to defy Rui Patricio, but his inexplicable stooping, missed intervention on the game winner was stunning. More on that below.

2. Wolves fight to death to find easy winner: Adama Traore, Jonny Otto, and the Wolves attack did not bow their heads after Palace took their fortunate lead nor after Romain Saiss’ second yellow card sent them diown a man, and Nuno Espirito Santo will love how his men fought to the final whistle while making timely interventions at the back (and taking advantage of Palace misfires).

Wilfried Zaha was dispossessed and it took three uncontested passes down the left of the Palace shape for Traore to find himself one-on-one with Patrick Van Aanholt. The Dutch defender played off Traore, who simply swept a cross to the back post. A chest trap, volley or 900 other things from Joel Ward could’ve ended the game, but he tried and missed a diving header that allowed Jota two touches to roof into an empty cage.

3. Silly from Saiss should’ve sealed it: Romain Saiss was sitting on yellow for a foul on Wilfried Zaha when he went out of his way to foul the Ivorian right on the touch line. Both managers saw the clear foul up close and personal, and Nuno Espirito Santo will certainly not like the idea of trusting Saiss again after his automatic ban.

Man of the Match: Vicente Guaita — The Crystal Palace goalkeeper was sensational in the draw, and the only reason Wolves weren’t ahead well before the Dendoncker own goal.


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An early corner kick led to a James McArthur goal mouth block of Leander Dendoncker’s low drive toward the near post, as Wolves got their first pressure on Palace following an opening 10 minutes that belonged largely to the hosts.

Palace’s Ayew headed a Luka Milivojevic corner into the arms of Rui Patricio in the 26th.

Vicente Guaita made the play of the first half when Raul Jimenez looped a cross over Mamadou Sakho to an unmarked Matt Doherty. The powered header was slapped away by a flying Guaita to keep it scoreless.

The keeper was again called upon when a 1-2 allowed Diogo Jota to lash a shot on goal in the 38th.

Palace took a stunning lead within 40 seconds of halftime, as Ward’s hard drive took a big turn off Dendoncker to spin past Patricio. The sequence began with Jeff Schlupp dribbling Willy Boly, the latter being imperious for most of his season.

By the time Romain Saiss was shown his second yellow for a fouls on Wilfried Zaha, the game felt academic. Would the 10-man Wolves find anything in the final 18 minutes?

The opposite, really, as Schlupp cued up substitute Christian Benteke which looked set for glory until the Belgian took an extra touch and drove into the arms of Patricio.

UEL Rewind: Wolves advance to group stage

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For the first time in nearly 40 years, Wolverhampton Wanderers will be playing in the main stage of a European competition.

Wolves defeated Torino, 2-1, at the Molineux Stadium on Thursday night, advancing to the UEFA Europa League group stage with a 5-3 aggregate victory. Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker both scored for Wolves, with Andrea Belotti scoring for Torino as the Serie A club was knocked out.

[READ: JPW’s Premier League Picks]

Jimenez gave Wolves the lead in the 30th minute with a sublime first-time finish. In the 57th minute, Andrea Belotti briefly tied the game with a near-post header, but one minute later, Dendoncker struck back with a side-footed shot that went off the post.

The draw for the Europa League group stages is on Friday.

Here’s a look at the rest of Thursday’s Europa League second-leg scores.

Qarabag 2 – 1 Linfield
Riga 1 – 0 Copenhagen
AIK 1 – 4 Celtic
PAOK 3 – 2 Slovan Bratislava
BATE 2 – 0 Astana
Apollon 0 – 4 PSV
Zorya 2 – 2 Espanyol
Molde 1 – 1 Partizan
Bnei Yehuda 0 – 1 Malmö FF
Spartak Moscow 1 – 2 Sporting Braga
Trabzonspor 0 – 2 AEK Athens
Hapoel Be’er Sheva 0 – 3 Feyenoord
Antwerp 1 – 4 E AZ (After Extra Time)
Ferencvaros 4 – 2 Sūduva
F91 Dudelange 2 – 1 Ararat-Armenia (on penalties)
Rijeka 1 – 1 Gent
Maribor 2 – 2 Ludogorets
Eintracht Frankfurt 3 – 0 Strasbourg
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – 1 Torino
Rangers 1 – 0 Legia Warszawa
Vitoria Guimaraes 1 – 0 FCSB

Wolves on VAR review of golazo: ‘I was hoping to stay happy’

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Nuno Espirito Santo issued the definitive quote of the VAR era after Wolves’ equalizer withstood video review in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Monday at the Molineux.

“I was hoping to stay happy.”

[ RECAP: Wolves 1-1 Man Utd ]

Espirito Santo saw VAR dramatically play a role in Wolves fortunes for the second-straight week, and the manager was not too happy with it on opening weekend when Willy Boly‘s handball was found to have assisted Leander Dendoncker‘s goal.

This time, VAR held up its end of the bargain in Wolves favor, as the cross that led to Ruben Neves’ incredible goal was found to be onside. From the BBC:

“I don’t know how they will solve it – it’s the emotion, you celebrate a goal so much and then you stay in silence. Don’t take that away from the people.”

The problem, of course, is money. So much is riding on qualifying for Europe, staying in the Premier League, etc. When sports became a big business, and managers aren’t complaining about their salaries, the science overtook the spirit.

Espirito Santo is correct that the wait to confirm a goal takes away from the joy of sport. It also will deny of us of the next “Hand of God” (and England would not have won its lone World Cup had goal line technology been around).

But ultimately, it will keep the correct score on the board. And that matters.

Wolves boss Espirito Santo not a fan of VAR

Photo by Marc Atkins/Offside/Offside via Getty Images
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It comes as little surprise that Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo was upset to have a goal chalked off by VAR in a scoreless draw with Leicester City.

What may come as a surprise, though, is Espirito Santo’s full-throated questioning of the use of video review at all.

[ RECAP: Leicester-Wolves ]

Espirito Santo will earn a lot of fans amongst the VAR skeptics with this analysis/rant regarding the overturning of Leander Dendoncker‘s goal due to Willy Boly handling the ball before the Belgian bundled over the line.

“I haven’t seen the images but I trust them. If they saw it, what can we do?” he said. “Things that weren’t before shouldn’t be now. We have such a nice Premier League, such a product, we cannot lose that.”

He continued (via BBC.com):

“It’s what fans come for, to celebrate, not to celebrate a no goal; That’s not the real celebration of football. It’s not good for the atmosphere of football. The Leicester fans were celebrating the no goal, that’s not the mindset of the game.

“What I’m concerned about is, let’s not ruin the game. Two minutes the game stopped. The anxiety of us celebrating, then we waited. It’s not the spirit of the game.”

Do you agree, or have you just accepted that this is the future of sport?

The three points would’ve been glorious for a Wolves side which played Thursday in Armenia, but one will be valuable given it came against a Foxes side expected to compete for a Top Seven place in the Premier League.

Nothing to separate Leicester, Wolves in opener

AP Photo/Rui Vieira
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Leicester City couldn’t find a way past Europa League weary Wolves, who saw a goal overturned in a dull 0-0 draw at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leander Dendoncker bundled a loose ball over the line, but it had glanced off Wily Boly’s arm and VAR overturned the marker.


Three things we learned

1. Possession without finish is nothing; Leicester had 70 percent of the ball but could not finish despite taking almost 400 more touches than Wolves

2. It’s early to say that Wolves’ failure to do much besides clear the ball was down to depth, but the club certainly looked like one who won 4-0 over Pyunik in Armenia on Thursday

3. VAR is not just a bummer for the aggrieved club, it hurts fantasy owners. Dendoncker is a very cheap option and, frankly, we momentarily hated VAR.

Man of the Match: Wilfried Ndidi.


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