Watford 0-2 Wolves: Hwang Hee-chan strikes on his debut after Francisco Sierralta’s own-goal handed visitors their FIRST goal of the season as Bruno Lage finally tastes victory
- Wolves went to Vicarage Road to face Watford on Saturday in the Premiership
- The hosts had better chances in a goalless first-half but Wolves were promising
- Francisco Sierralta’s own-goal gave the visitors their first goal of the season
- New boy Hwang Hee-chan then doubled the lead with a goal on his debut
It will be repeated again but is very much the case: Wolves have attacking promise in abundance — there is no question of that.
But how apt that it was an own goal and a late strike from their debutant Hwang Hee-chan that got Bruno Lage’s men over the line against a spirited Watford side.
For large parts, the visitors really did not look at home at all against a side who have won 11 consecutive matches in their back garden going from last season.
Hwang Hee-chan scored his first Wolves goal on debut to help his new club beat Watford 2-0
The former RB Salzburg striker struck after coming on as a second-half substitute on Saturday
Watford (4-1-4-1): Bachmann; Ngakia, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Rose; Etebo; Sissoko, Kucka, Sarr, Dennis; King
Subs: Elliot, Cathcart, Masina, Louza, Cleverley, Sema, Tufan, Kabasele, Hernandez
Manager: Xisco Munoz
Wolves (3-4-3): Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Trincao, Jimenez, Traore
Subs: Ruddy, Boly, Hoever, Mosquera, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker, Podence, Silva, Hwang
Manager: Bruno Lage
Goals: Sierralta (OG), Hee-chan
As Marcal whipped the ball in after Joao Moutinho played a short corner on 74 minutes, the ball passed a number of bodies all the way to Francisco Sierralta — the man who nearly missed out due to international sanction threats over not playing for his country — who was under no pressure.
He somehow diverted the ball back towards his own goal and past goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann.
It was such a slice of luck the away side most desperately needed to get on the scoresheet.
One can often bring two, and that was the case for a Wolves side shorn of their shooting boots of late. It was debutant Hwang Hee-chan who nine minutes later sealed the match, bundling over substitute Daniel Podence’s exquisite, chipped cross.
Wolves were without a win in three matches and despite the early signs of promise so far, getting points on the board here was a must. The availability of striker Raul Jimenez, slotting into the line-up, was a boost after his national team Mexico were imploring for sanction in light of his recent absence due his club denying him to travel over quarantine rules.
It was the same case for Watford’s Sierralta, who also started. Their new signing Ozan Tufan began on the bench.
If Jeremy Ngakia vs Adama Traore were a boxing fight, the sanctioning body in question would be held in disrepute such is the sheer size difference.
It was never going to be easy on that right-hand size with a right winger in Traore who makes up for his profligacy on goal with strength, dainty feet and pace.
Hee-chan came on for Francisco Trincao as a second-half substitute before scoring his goal
As Traore darted to the by-line, a mere shrug of the shoulder or sharp turn of direction were used multiple times to evade the 21-year-old right back.
Jimenez shot wide off a delivery and then Traore’s service was left in no mans land.
The Hornets turned the tide on 16 minutes when their star man Ismaila Sarr bamboozled three defenders and provided for Moussa Sissoko. His shot was well palmed out by goalkeeper Jose Sa.
This moment gave Watford the belief that they could get on the front foot carefully without conceding. Joshua King shot tamely at goal off Sissoko’s low pass into the box, shortly before Sarr wasted a great chance in which he dithered far too long and squared the ball to the opposition.
These were big moments in a match absent of clinical finishing.
Francisco Trincao nutmegged Sierralta after the half hour and had his shot saved by Jose Sa as the Wolves forward started to show the class he displayed recently against Manchester United.
Though it was Nelson Semedo’s miss on the stroke of half-time that was particularly painful for the visitors as the midfielder collected a clever through ball from the Trincao and was left one-one-one with goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann.
He could only curl straight at the keeper as the ball powerfully rebounded out for a corner.
Wolves powerhouse Adama Traore was contained first-half as Watford had the better chances
Minutes earlier at the other end, Sarr again used his silky footwork to dance past the opposition and into the area. His cross this time was more accurate, but out of the sliding reach of King.
His boot was inches from getting the home side ahead at the break, and it would’ve been merited.
Traore came out from the break flying and his first delivery nearly provided Trincao with a goal as his looping header was caught by Bachmann on his tiptoes.
Manager Xisco Munoz switched Ngakia and Danny Rose to the opposite sides to try and stem the Traore flow down the wings.
The home side were growing confident in possession as Wolves kept spurning possession; their efforts on goal smelling of desperation.
Semedo, finding himself again through on goal after a neat Jimenez back flick dissecting the defence, again panicked and dragged the ball wide.
On 70 minutes, Jimenez bravely went for a header off Joao Moutinho’s free-kick as the ball went over the post. To see Jimenez attacking an aerial ball was refreshing to see after recovering from a traumatic head injury.
But it was to be two late goals that got Wolves’ campaign finally up and running.
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