Wolverhampton Wanderers find themselves in the midst of a controversial moment after their recent match against Manchester United ended in a 1-0 defeat. The incident in question revolves around a decision not to award a penalty, leaving Wolves and their manager, Gary O’Neil, feeling aggrieved.
The pivotal moment occurred in stoppage time at Old Trafford when André Onana’s challenge on Sasa Kalajdzic seemed to warrant a penalty. However, on-field referee Simon Hooper didn’t signal for the penalty, and the situation was subsequently reviewed by VAR Michael Salisbury.
VAR’s decision to not intervene and award the penalty was met with surprise and frustration. While the incident might not have been deemed a “clear and obvious error,” Gary O’Neil revealed that Select Group 1 Manager of the PGMOL, Jonathan Moss, acknowledged the mistake.
O’Neil shared, “I was told live that they didn’t think that it was a clear and obvious error. But having spoken to Jonathan Moss, and fair play to him for coming straight out, he has apologised and said it was a blatant penalty that should have been given.”
Despite the apology, the result remains unchanged, leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers without the desired outcome. O’Neil expressed his mixed emotions, feeling a sense of sympathy for Moss while also feeling frustrated for not coming away with a favorable result.
The Wolves’ team performed admirably throughout the match, having 23 shots against Manchester United, with six of those shots on target. Their attacking prowess was evident, but the lack of a penalty decision overshadowed their efforts.
On the opposing side, Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, voiced his contentment with VAR’s decision. He stated, “When VAR looked at it and decided not to give it, of course we are pleased with it.”
The goal that ultimately secured Manchester United’s victory was scored by Raphaël Varane, marking the only goal of the Premier League opener for both teams.
Despite the controversial decision, Wolves’ impressive shot tally showcased their attacking intent and confidence on the field. O’Neil highlighted this by saying, “To come to Old Trafford and have the most shots of any side since 2005 and dominate after just four days of work [in training] is exceptional. The lads deserved more tonight.”
The incident serves as a reminder of the intricate role that technology and interpretation play in modern football, leaving both teams and fans with much to discuss and debate.