There were three second-half penalties between Fulham and Wolves, but the Cottagers used Willian’s second goal to narrowly edge Gary O’Neil’s side. The win shakes off a poor run of form from Fulham, which picked up its first win in its last five contests. Wolves lost its sixth game of the season, but it does not shift in the table. Both sides are on 15 points. However, a better goal differential has Wolves on 12th in the Premier League table and Fulham on 14th.
The hosts started the game well, and they found the back of the net inside seven minutes. Interplay between Willian and Antonee Robinson allowed the American to swing in a square ball to the edge of the six-yard box. Alex Iwobi tucked the ball away to provide Fulham the edge early on. Yet, the game went into the halftime break level after Wolves found its footing.
Hwang Hee-chan rattled the crossbar while Wolves were temporarily playing with 10 men with an injury at the 15-minute mark. Matheus Cunha did bring Wolves level after an equally brilliant bit of play. Impressive footwork from Wolves’ Jean-Ricner Bellegarde spun Robinson, who was the provider of Fulham’s opener. Bellegarde then lobbed a cross into the box, where Cunha headed the ball low and into the net.
Wolves had a pair of great chances in the latter stages of the first half. On one occasion, Robinson carelessly passed the ball back to Bernd Leno, but Wolves intercepted it. However, Mario Lemina could not get a shot on target.
Penalties decide game between Fulham and Wolves
The theme of the second 45 minutes was the referee. That started after a quarter of an hour in the second frame. Nelson Semedo stopped a Fulham attack with a tackle on Andreas Pereira. However, Tom Cairney wisely stepped in front of Semedo to touch the ball away. Semedo then stepped on Cairney who drew the penalty. Willian stepped up to take the penalty, and he passed it into Jose Sa’s lower left-hand side. The Portuguese dove the wrong way, and Fulham restored its lead.
Fifteen minutes later, it was Wolves to score a penalty. A long ball over the top from Sa toward Hwang put center-back Tim Ream in an awkward position. The American bundled over the Korean, and the referee correctly gave a penalty. Hwang, who drew the penalty, converted the spot kick with a powerful strike down the middle.
The last two major incidents of the game were not so straightforward. In the 87th minute, Carlos Vinicius made head-to-head contact with Max Kilman after a soft tackle from Kilman. The referee deemed contact was not worthy of a red card. Still, reviews demonstrated clear contact initiated by Vinicius that could have warranted a red card.
Fulham took advantage of retaining 11 players by drawing another penalty in the 90th minute. Antonee Robinson squared the ball back into the box in a similar fashion to Fulham’s first goal. Wolves’ Joao Gomes intercepted the ball. Yet, before he could kick it away, Harry Wilson sprinted across. Gomes had an extended leg that tripped Wilson. Originally, referees did not flag the play for a foul. VAR deemed there was enough contact to bring Wilson down.
Once again, Willian stepped up to convert the spot kick. This time, he went hard and low to Sa’s right side. Despite the goalkeeper guessing correctly, Willian struck the ball too well.
A much-needed win for Fulham
An inspired Fulham picked up a crucial three points to escape a skid in form. Moreover, Fulham has games coming up against Liverpool and Newcastle. Even though the season is just over one-third of the way done, points are already at a premium.
Gary O’Neil’s Wolves side played well. At times, Wolves looked ripe to take the lead in both the first and second halves. Additionally, O’Neil and Wolves may feel hard done by the decision to keep Vinicius on the field and the 90th-minute penalty. However, the loss keeps Wolves in the bottom half of the table. The side will stay on the road with a trip to Arsenal before home games against Burnley and Nottingham Forest.
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