Wolves end Man City's perfect start with shock win

October 1, 2023 5:02 am

[Source: Reuters]

Hwang Hee-chan scored a second-half winner as Wolverhampton Wanderers ended champions Manchester City’s perfect start to the Premier League season with a shock 2-1 home win.

The defeat at Molineux was City’s second loss in five days, after Newcastle United dumped them out of the League Cup, and dashed the leaders’ hopes of stretching their season-opening run to seven league wins in a row.

A Ruben Dias own goal sent Wolves 1-0 up in the 13th minute, Pedro Neto’s cross deflected in off the Portuguese player’s knee, but Julian Alvarez levelled the score with a bending free kick past Jose Sa in the 58th.

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Hwang restored the home side’s lead on the counter-attack and against the run of play in the 66th by firing into the net from close range after a Matheus Cunha pass found him unmarked.

A minute earlier Craig Dawson had cleared a Phil Foden effort off the line for Wolves.

“We know that we could have the opportunity on the counter,” said Neto. “We are playing against the best team in the world but we had belief that this could be a turning point for us. We work hard and we take the three points.”

With City manager Pep Guardiola serving a touchline ban for his third yellow card of the season, and midfielder Rodri on a three-match suspension, the visitors were shut out by determined and hard-working opponents.

The Premier League’s top scorer Erling Haaland, rested for City’s League Cup third-round loss, was a marginalised figure and had only 15 touches of the ball and one chance despite City having 68% possession.

Jack Grealish came off the bench for the final 10 minutes but could not find a way through either.

“Congratulations Wolves, they defended really well,” Guardiola told Sky Sports television.

“You have to understand it’s a football game and the opponents can beat you and this is what happened today,” added the Spaniard, who said of watching from the stands that at least “the view is better”.

“The defeat left City a point clear of unbeaten Arsenal at the top but in danger of being ousted by third-placed Liverpool, who were playing in the late game at Tottenham Hotspur.

The champions had conceded only three goals in their previous six matches.

Wolves, who had lost four of their last six league games, moved up to 13th thanks to their second win of the season.

“It was a massive result for us today. We have not started well but to beat the champions was unbelievable,” Wolves captain Max Kilman told the BBC.

“We knew it was a big game but we were ready to attack Man City. We wanted to fight for every chance and take our moments.”

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil said he was delighted for his players after a difficult few weeks.

“They carried out the game plan perfectly, there was no-one going off on their own, there was no craziness,” he said.

“The lads deserve a huge amount of credit for responding the way they have.”

The game started with an immediate edge as Matheus Nunes, who joined City from Wolves at the end of the transfer window after forcing a move by refusing to train, was in the starting lineup.

The Portuguese midfielder was booed by the crowd every time he touched the ball and was replaced at halftime by Norwegian youngster Oscar Bobb.

At the final whistle the chant of ‘Nunes, Nunes, what’s the score?” went up.