Hwang Hee-Chan came on as a second-half substitute as Wolverhampton Wanderers failed to get past Manchester United in their Premier League opener.
Wolverhampton fell 0-1 to Manchester United in the opening match of the 2023/24 Premier League season at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Friday (Sept. 15).
Hwang was named to the bench for the game and played about 35 minutes, including seven minutes of stoppage time, after coming on as a substitute in the 17th minute of the second half. In the opening match, Hwang played primarily as a left winger and had a few looks at the United goal, but his first goal of the season came at the next opportunity.
Wolverhampton, who lost both games against United last season, came out firing on all cylinders in the new campaign opener, but have now lost their last three games against United, including a late Rafael Varane goal.
Wolverhampton lined up in a 4-3-3. Yohan Gueye was in goal, while Layan Aite-Nuri, Craig Dawson, Maximilian Kilman, and Nelson Semedu formed the back four. Mario Lemina, João Gomes, and Mateusz Nunes lined up in the middle, while Mateusz Cunha, Pablo Sarabia, and Pedro Neto completed the front three.
United lined up in a 4-2-3-1. Andre Onana was in goal, while Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Rafael Varane, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka formed the back four. Mason Mount and Casemiro play in the back three, with Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandez, and Anthony in the second. Up front, Marcus Rashford was in goal for Wolverhampton.
Both sides were cautious in the opening game, which was played in rainy conditions, and took their chances, especially as it was Gary O’Neill’s first official game in charge of Wolverhampton after taking over the reins on October 10.
The previous manager of the club was Julen Lopetegui, who took over midway through the season and saved the club from relegation, but left after expressing his dissatisfaction with the club’s transfer market behavior.
Wolverhampton lost a number of key players in the summer transfer window, including Nabil Neves (Al Hilal), Raul Jimenez, and Adama Traore (Fulham), but were unable to add any reinforcements, much to Lopetegui’s displeasure.
Wolverhampton’s next manager is O’Neill, who was widely praised for his mid-season arrival at Bournemouth last season, guiding the Cherries to a 15th-place finish in the league. In his first official game in charge of Wolverhampton, O’Neill named Hwang Hee-chan to the bench instead of starting.
Hwang made three appearances and scored one goal in pre-season friendlies ahead of the season opener. Most notably, he came on as a second-half substitute in a friendly against French Ligue 1 club Stade Rennes on Sept. 5 and scored the winning goal to make the score 3-1, but he will be looking for a second-half start in the opener.
In the 16th minute, United center back Martinez made a sliding tackle on Neto after he broke free on a dribble near the touchline. The tackle was deep, and as Neto cried out in pain, the referee pulled out his book, and Lissandro sat out the remainder of the game with a single yellow card.
Wolverhampton, who had been stifling the United attack, had their first real chance to score in the 25th minute. Cunha won the ball in the center of the box and dribbled past two United players to reach the edge of the United penalty area. With Sarabia and Neto next to him, fans watching the game took note of Cunha’s choice.
Cunha passed the ball to Sarabia on the left. Sarabia faced the opposite post and took a left-footed shot that deflected off the foot of Baran in front of him and into the side of the net.
Cunha showed why he is a key player for Wolverhampton as he once again created a threat. In the 32nd minute, after a 2-on-1 pass, Cunha made his way into the United box and took a right-footed shot. Facing the opposite goal, Cunha was left lying on the ground in disappointment as his shot grazed the post and cleared the line.
In the 37th minute, Wan-Bissaka’s cross from the right flank was met by Rashford in the box with a header that bounced off the body of Semedo. Rashford claimed a handball penalty as the ball hit Semedo’s arm, but the referee waved it off.
In first-half stoppage time, United capitalized on a mistake by Wolverhampton. Rashford intercepted a pass midway through the box and cut in on the counterattack, but the Wolverhampton defenders made a physical stop. The referee blew for half-time as United’s subsequent corner was also cleared.
With neither Wolverhampton nor United able to create a goal in the first 45 minutes, the first half ended 0-0.
At the start of the second half, United made the first substitution. The Red Devils made a change at the back, removing Lissandro, who had been booked in the first half, and introducing Victor Lindelof.
It was Wolverhampton who had the first chance of the second half. Once again, Nunes was at the center of the Wolverhampton attack. In the third minute of the second half, Nunes once again used good dribbling skills to carry the ball from the center of the field to the edge of the box.
Nunes passed to Sarabia on the right, who immediately attempted to cross into the box. The cross was deflected off the back foot of Neto and onto the foot of Cunha on the left, who managed to get a foot on it, but his shot hit the post, much to the chagrin of the Wolverhampton fans.
Having survived the scare, United tried to hit back. In the seventh minute of the second half, Anthony burst into the box to receive a Casemiro through ball, only to see the keeper come out to collect the ball and attempt a chip shot. Anthony’s shot was straight on target, but before it could cross the goal line, Wolverhampton defender Dawson cleared the ball away with his head.
The game continued to heat up. In the ninth minute of the second half, Cunha, who had seen a crucial goal-scoring chance blocked earlier in the game, dribbled into the box on his own. He then attempted a right-footed mid-range shot that was saved by new United goalkeeper Onana with a diving save.
In the 11th minute of the second half, a cross from the right flank by Neto struck Shaw in the face in front of him, sending him to the ground and briefly stopping play. Fortunately, Shaw was able to get back into the game once it was determined that nothing was wrong.
In the 17th minute of the second half, Wolverhampton also made a substitution. Wolverhampton made a change up front, taking off Sarabia and bringing on Hwang Hee-Chan. This was Hwang’s first game of the season, and as soon as he came on, he was brought down by a dangerous tackle from Wan-Bissaka, causing pain in his shin.
Fortunately, Hwang escaped injury, and in the 21st minute, he attempted his first shot of the night. He looked to score with a bold right-footed mid-range shot from near the box, but his effort was well wide of the goal.
In the 26th minute, Hwang Hee-chan, Cunha, and Neto combined on a counterattack to create some good chances but failed to capitalize. On a counterattack that started with a dribble break from Cunha, Hwang Hee-chan on the left side opted to pass rather than shoot in the box, but his pass to Cunha was deflected and found Netou. Netou immediately attempted a left-footed shot, but it was headed straight at the keeper and Onana made an easy save.
The 0-0 scoreline was broken in the final 30 minutes. It was defender Varane who scored United’s first goal of the 2023/24 season. 꽁머니사이트
The opening goal was a showcase for the United players’ chemistry. Fernandez’s penetrating pass into the box was met by Wan-Bissaka’s feet, and Baran headed it into the front of the net. After scoring, Baran went straight to the stands to celebrate with the fans.
In the 35th minute, Hwang Hee-chan pushed for an equalizer with a right-footed volley after chest-trapping in the box, but his second shot of the night was also off target.
Wolverhampton continued to pound United in search of an equalizer, but Onana was steadfast in goal. Substitute Fabio Silva, a Portuguese winger born in 2002, had two shots on goal in the box in the 37th and 38th minutes of the second half, but both were saved by Onana.
A whopping seven minutes of second-half stoppage time were awarded. With time winding down, Hwang Hee-chan tried his luck again, this time with a left-footed shot to the near post that deflected off Wan-Bisaka’s foot and hit the side netting. A spectator then ran onto the pitch, causing a brief stoppage in play.
Wolverhampton were unable to find an equalizer until late stoppage time was exhausted, ultimately ending their Premier League opener against United at Old Trafford with a 0-1 loss.