Wolves stand tall to defy champions Manchester City and clinch hard-fought point

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester City: The hosts put in a spirited and deeply impressive performance to force a draw against Pep Guardiola's men

Steve Madeley
Molineux Stadium
Saturday 25 August 2018 14:08
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Wolves celebrate Willy Boly's goal - though hosts failed to spot the player's handling of the ball
Wolves celebrate Willy Boly's goal - though hosts failed to spot the player's handling of the ball

Aymeric Laporte rescued a point for Manchester City but newly-promoted Wolves exposed potential chinks in the champions’ armour that will not go unnoticed by their rivals for the title.

City dominated for much of an entertaining Molineux encounter and fully deserved at least the point that the French defender earned them.

In fact there was a hint of controversy about how they found themselves behind with Willy Boly’s 57th-minute header for Wolves carrying a whiff of both handball and offside.

Yet it was an unusually uncomfortable day for Pep Guardiola’s men, who looked vulnerable at the back with Captain Vincent Kompany especially off the pace alongside Laporte at the heart of defence.

They threatened to lose their collective tempers between Boly’s opener and Laporte’s header 12 minutes later, and Guardiola’s strong words at full-time with the officials gave away some obvious frustrations.

Despite a confident start from Manchester City in which the champions dominated possession, there was no sign of an inferiority complex from Wolves.

Officials failed to miss Willy Boly's handling of the ball

Their star midfielder Ruben Neves drew an early foul from Vincent Kompany that brought the City captain a yellow card. And Helder Costa might have had a shot on goal at the far post had Jonny Castro Otto delivered a better cross from the left.

The hosts needed a smart save from goalkeeper Rui Patricio, however, to keep City at bay when Ilkay Gundogan collected Sergio Aguero’s flick-on from Benjamin Mendy’s pass and fired towards the near post.

Then the game exploded into life on 20 minutes with a disallowed goal, a shot against the post and a fabulous save.

First Wolves pounced on an errant pass by Kompany and broke through Diogo Jota, whose cross-shot was poked home by Raul Jimenez, only for a linesman’s flag to cut short his celebrations.

Aymeric Laporte celebrates his headed equaliser for Wolves

City broke immediately and a cross by Kyle Walker found Sergio Aguero, whose snap-shot beat Rui Patricio and thudded against his left-hand post.

Then the Wolves and Portugal goalkeeper produced a stunning save to thwart City, throwing himself high to his left to push a curling drive from Raheem Sterling onto the crossbar.

City were turning the screw and Wolves defender Willy Boly had to produce a fantastic challenge to deny Aguero a clear shot at goal after he skipped past Conor Coady.

And when Wolves scrambled clear another ball into their penalty area, it fell for Fernandinho to shoot just wide from 20 yards.

A rare Wolves counter-attack then ended with Neves dragging a shot well wide before they forced a corner, from which they kept the ball alive for Jimenez to fire wide across the face of goal.

Pep Guardiola watches on anxiously from the sidelines

And in first-half stoppage-time Boly produced another fine challenge to halt another run by Aguero.

Early in the second half Kompany headed over for City from a Gundogan corner and Fernandinho bent a shot narrowly wide as the visitors maintained their first-half pressure.

But they were nearly the victims of a counter-attack when Helder Costa seized on a moment’s hesitation from Aymerick Laporte and raced towards goal before drawing a near-post save from Ederson.

A moment later Wolves went one better as they opened the scoring.

Bernardo Silva attempts to deliver a box into the Wolves box

Jaoa Moutinho had a left-wing corner returned to him and his cross to the far post found the diving Boly, who appeared to header it onto his own hand and past Ederson.

David Silva was booked for City moments later for protesting against the non-award of a penalty for a shove by Matt Doherty.

But with 21 minutes remaining the equaliser arrived as Gundogan whipped in a free-kick from the right and Laporte thundered home a header from six yards.

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