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Wolves boss Gary O’Neil bemoans ‘scandalous decision’ to award Newcastle first-half penalty

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil bemoans the ‘scandalous decision’ to award Newcastle United a penalty in the first half on Saturday evening.

Callum Wilson’s two goals weren’t enough for the Magpies to beat Wolves at Molineux as Hee-Chan Hwang’s equaliser earned a 2-2 draw in the Premier League.

Wilson got his side’s opener following an error by goalkeeper Jose Sa before scoring from the spot following a controversial penalty awarded against Hee-Chan Hwang.

Wolves came from behind twice in what was an entertaining and eventful fixture, as Mario Lemina headed in Pedro Neto’s corner for the first of them, then Hwang got the leveller after heavy home pressure in the second half.

An injury to Neto cut short Wolves’ momentum, then Fabian Schar headed the last chance wide and both teams had to accept a point.

It was a controversial call against Hwang who was deemed to have fouled Schar after a sloppy first touch.

Sky Sports say he checked his kick and got a touch on the ball with his other foot but it was not deemed to be a clear and obvious error by referee Anthony Taylor.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil, speaking to Sky Sports: “Pedro Neto felt his hamstring, he is moving around a bit in there but obviously there are different levels of hamstring so we won’t know the severity until the next few days. We’re all hopeful that we don’t miss him for too long, any team in this league would miss a player of Pedro’s quality but I think the lads managed to respond well to it, not the only setback they had in this game and they managed to pull together for the last 20 minutes, still look a threat, still look mostly likely I think [to score] so still a good performance and hopefully Pedro won’t be out too long.

“I thought we were the better side, I did. The goals Newcastle scored, there was a bit of a mix up and we were unfortunate for the first goal. The second goal was never, ever a penalty, ever. Terrible decision on-field and from VAR and we managed to bounce back. We were the most likely, especially second half, we had control, they had a few set plays towards the end but for the boys to be able to put in a performance like that against a Champions League team that I saw pull apart PSG not too long ago is a big effort for them so good point but you feel like if a few things had gone our way, just maybe we were value for three [points].

“The game plan was ok, more about the lads today and their attitude. Newcastle didn’t cause us many problems, we go 1-0 down from an error and then a penalty that I have already commented on and the lads felt the same about and then to lose Pedro Neto, to suffer those three setbacks and be as resilient as they were and keep pushing and cause a very very good side some problems was a big effort from them. I was really impressed with what they delivered.”

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “I’m really pleased with the performance. Everyone knows how good a side Newcastle are. We know what they can do. I thought we were the better side. Second half, we were on top of them, looked threatening. A point is good against Newcastle, but the way the game went and their goals and the energy we had, it feels like it should be three. We suffered a few setbacks out there and the lads held together.

“There wasn’t a penalty in the first half. No way is that a penalty. I don’t know how they have got that so wrong. There is no contact on Schar and he is already on the way down. The ball hits Channy (Hwang) on his other foot before it makes contact with Schar. Technically, he gets the ball first. A terrible on-field decision and really surprising it wasn’t overturned. I waste my time talking to them so I won’t bother until they improve the level. I was frustrated and we speak a lot about being ready for the next action. There are things that will set you back. We need to refocus and they were excellent at that today – the best I have seen us at it.”

On Pedro Neto: “He has felt his hamstring. He is moving around a little bit in there, so we’re hoping it is not too bad. There are different levels of hamstring injuries so hopefully it’s not too bad. He has been excellent and would be a miss for anyone. But the lads will pull together and keep pushing.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “Tough game. Good game. Two really good teams. Disappointed not to win but pleased to come away with something from a really physical test. When you are leading, all you are thinking about is three points. But with the week we have had it has been a real challenge for us physically and mentally. A lot going on. The players responded really well. Nobody makes it easy for you. The schedule has been difficult, we had injuries and the Sandro [Tonali] situation. A lot thrown at the players and we came here with a great attitude. Physically good in tough conditions.

“It would be easy not to respond in the right way but at 2-2 I thought we were the side in the ascendancy. I give the players a lot of credit. This is a tough place to come.”

On the penalty: “I knew it was a tight call by the length of time it took to confirm the penalty. With those type of decisions you would always be disappointed if it was the other way round. Callum took it really well and it was a big moment in the game.”

On Callum Wilson: “He it was hugely important that Callum stepped up and gave the performance we needed. Two really good goals. He is a scorer and he lives for it.”

Player ratings (via Sky Sports)

Wolves: Sa (5), Kilman (7), Dawson (7), Toti (8), Semedo (6), Lemina (7), Traore (6), Ait-Nouri (7), Neto (8), Cunha (7), Hwang (7).

Subs: Doyle (7), Kalajdzic (6), Gomes (n/a).

Newcastle: Pope (5), Trippier (6), Schar (7), Lascelles (6), Burn (6), Guimaraes (7), Longstaff (6), Joelinton (6), Almiron (6), Wilson (8), Gordon (6).

Subs: Willock (6).

Player of the match: Callum Wilson.

This is how fans reacted as Wolves boss Gary O’Neil bemoans the ‘scandalous decision’ to award Newcastle the first-half penalty…

@StratusVerse: What is the point of var if they not helping ref here

@dougliano: Anyone who knows anything about football knows he kicked the floor, and the Newcastle player jumped into his leg… how these officials cannot see this is beyond me…..shocking decision and I’m an albion fan.

@craigwoodburn: Gary O’Neil is absolutely spot on…Scharr deliberately made contact then tumbled… @Wolves player did nowt wrong…he did well to cheat the ref/var bloke tbf… hideous from var bloke imv @FA_PGMOL how anyone could think it was a pen is beyond me @Seb_Hutch bloody ridiculous imv.

@WolvesGray: The PGMOL should sign us up for a loyalty card…. 5 apologies and we get 3 points

@RobPattwell: So true the communication skills of the officials in this country is very poor. They cannot have a conversation with the players and therefore frustration all round from players and management. It’s at levels currently.

@Boffy_1970: If that’s a penalty it’s time to pack up.

@paulp_123: I’ve just watched the rugby World Cup final, the TMO are on a different level to those running var. it was clear as day there was not contact from the wolves player, what replays did show was the Newcastle player looking for contact. Going down as he made his left foot kick the players leg. How can these officials not see this ? Look at the divers reaction, it’ll show everything. Blatant dive after making the contact.

@JakeFowles: He’s 100% right. Don’t blame his reaction at all. Never known officiating so bad. Part to blame on the reliance of the on field officials thinking VAR will bail them out and partly the absolute lack of real life understanding of footballing cicumstance from the var officials.

@LeeMc1978: He’s absolutely spot on – best league in Europe with the absolute worst officials in football they’re ruining games for everyone every single week

@styheader: I can understand why he gave a pen because of what he saw. But he didn’t see what happened. If he’d been invited to the screen and was shown what happened, there is no way he gives a pen. That is what VAR should be for.

@Neilh0480: VAR corrupt and killing the game! If we are going to use VAR then let’s use it properly to assist the referee, wasn’t that the idea? Best league in the world with a system that isn’t used properly 🤦🏼‍♂️🤷🏻

@FatboyTHFC1970: Absolutely spot on from Gary the officials are a disgrace that was NEVER a penalty just like Ayew’s goal on Friday where it hits his arm and was allowed to score VAR has to GO and the Premier League really needs to look at what they are doing to football in this country.

@BenHindley: I don’t blame him. What a farce, players are getting rewarded for cheating. You can accept an onfield decision being wrong as they see it in real time but VAR is a shambles, nobody watching that can honestly think it’s a foul. It actually should be a yellow card for simulation..

@trenry14: Agree. It was dive. The @FA_PGMOL should be removed from officiating the @premierleague who should find an organisation capable of doing it properly. How long is this going to go on 🤷‍♂️

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