The much-hyped ‘Korean Derby’ has come to an end, with Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham) and Hwang Hee-chan (27, Wolverhampton) going scoreless.
However, Hwang Hee-chan’s Wolverhampton, who were considered to be the underdogs going into the match, pulled off an upset to beat the Premier League’s second-ranked Tottenham with a late, multi-goal victory.
For Tottenham, it was their first test of manager Anzhi Postecoglou since his arrival last summer. Wolverhampton’s reputation as “giant-killers” has been enhanced this season, as they have knocked off Man City and then Tottenham.
Spurs, on the other hand, have dropped from first place to third place in each round. There’s a chance they could drop to fourth place.
Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan started side-by-side and played the full 90 minutes together in the Tottenham-Wolverhampton match of the 12th round of the 2023/24 English Premier League at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, on Nov. 11. The pair have faced off in the so-called “Korean Derby” before, but this is the first time they have played a full game together.
In their previous “Korean Derby,” Hwang Hee-chan and Son Heung-min took turns coming on as substitutes, giving them less time on the field together.
Prior to the game, Son was tied for second in the Premier League with eight goals. Hwang Hee-chan was also high on the list with six goals. This meant that both were being recognized in the top tier of soccer this season. On this day, however, neither of them scored the goals that Korean fans had hoped for despite their active play.
Son Heung-min had one shot on goal, but it was a long way off. Hwang Hee-chan had a decent chance on the right side of the penalty area and fired a right-footed shot on goal, but his goal-scoring prowess that he has shown this season was not on display today.
The game ended surprisingly in Wolverhampton’s favor.
The home side conceded in the third minute through left wing Brennan Johnson, but back-to-back goals from Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina in second-half stoppage time sent the home fans into a frenzy and secured a 2-1 victory.
The loss sent Tottenham into a steep downward spiral. After suffering a 1-4 home defeat to Chelsea on July 7, a game that saw two players sent off and two injured, Spurs lost to Wolverhampton and now have eight wins, two draws, and two losses (26 points). They moved into third place, behind leaders Man City and north London rivals Arsenal (27 points).
Arsenal followed that up with a 3-1 win at home to Burnley, with Leonard Trosar scoring an early goal, William Saliba a late winner, and Oleksandr Zinchenko a consolation goal to secure 27 points and move into second place behind City on goal difference. Overtaking Tottenham.
No other team has played 12 rounds yet and could fall as low as fourth. Liverpool, with 24 points, hosts Brentford at 11 p.m. on Dec. 12.
Wolverhampton, which has caught another big fish after City this season, moved up from 14th to 12th with three wins, four draws, and five losses (13 points).
On the day, the hosts deployed a 3-4-3 formation. Totti Gomes, Maximilian Kilman, and Craig Dawson formed the back three with Portuguese goalkeeper Jose Sa in front of the goal. Nelson Semedo and Layan Ayit Nuri were the left and right wingbacks, with Lemina and João Gomes in the middle. Hwang Hee-chan, Matheus Cunha, and Jean-Luc Bellerin completed the front three.
The visitors opted for a 4-3-3 formation. Guglielmo Vicario was in goal, while Pedro Foro, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, and Emerson Royal formed the back four. Pape Sarr, Yves Bissouma, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg formed the midfield, while Dejan Kulusevski and Brennan Johnson started up front, with Son Heung-min in the Wolverhampton goal.
Tottenham boss Anzhi Postecoglou, who lost three defenders at once to sending off or injury in the last game against Chelsea, fielded a back four of Dyer, Davies, and Royal with little game time under their belts.
It was Tottenham who took the early lead.
After a steady buildup from the back, Spurs scored their first goal in the third minute.
Sarr crossed the ball from Kulusevski to Foro, who was breaking in from the right side of the penalty box. Foro sent a low, quick cross into the box. Johnson, who had been crouching behind the defense and rushed into the box, stretched out his left foot with the defender in front of him and got to the ball first, deflecting it in for a goal.
However, the inability to add to their lead and continue to struggle against Wolverhampton’s quick counter-attacks left them fuming.
Early in the second half, they conceded a crucial chance to Hwang Hee-chan. In the ninth minute of the second half, from a corner kick, the ball was played in front of the arc and Gomes latched onto it and attempted a mid-range shot. After the ball was cleared off the line, it fell to Hwang Hee-chan, who was in a prime position on the right side of the penalty area, but his right-footed volley, which has been a regular feature of his game this season, was not quite on target this time and went wide of the right side of the goal. It was a moment of truth for Wolverhampton.
But the home side, who were constantly harassing a Tottenham side that was missing three key defenders and out of sync, had the last laugh with a miraculous multi-goal burst in second-half stoppage time.
Substitute Sarabia received a cross from the left side of the penalty area in second-half stoppage time and unleashed a brilliant left-footed volley from no angle, finding the gap between Vicario and the left post.
With six minutes of added time remaining, it was Wolverhampton who had the last laugh.
The equalizer came from Sarabia, who picked up the ball on the right side of the penalty box and delivered a forward pass into the box. Lemina slid it into the corner of the net with her right foot for a buzzer-beating winner. O’Neill jumped up and down along the touchline in celebration.
Tottenham had never lost in the first 10 rounds, but a second straight defeat could threaten their top four hopes.
After the game, Son received a mediocre 6.4 rating from soccer stats site FootMob. In total, Son made 24 passes, completing 20 of them for a passing success rate of 83%. He attempted two dribbles and succeeded once, and won three ground balls out of seven contests.
Hwang finished with 6.8 points, 0.4 points higher than Son Heung-min. Footmob reported that Hwang Hee-chan had the fewest ball touches (35) among the field players who started the game. He attempted 14 passes, completing 11 of them for a 79% success rate. She dribbled eight times, completing only two. Contested 17 ground balls, winning seven. There were two tackles for loss.
Finisher Lemina was the highest rated player on both sides with an 8.7 rating. Johnson, who scored the first goal, was the highest rated Tottenham player with a 7.7.
After the game, Postecoglou praised his players’ efforts, but noted that they were a bit passive in the first half when they took a 1-0 lead.
“We could have been more positive in the first half. But we conceded an early goal and played passively. We had a couple of chances to drive a wedge into the game,” said Postecoglou, who added: “It’s very difficult to travel to Wolverhampton and we had players who hadn’t played much before. It’s not that we broke down at the end, but it’s understandable,” he said, defending Davies and others who made mistakes in the closing stages of the game.
“It’s more disappointing because it happened at the end of the game. But that’s part of the pain of soccer. You just have to take it,” he said, encouraging his players and vowing to take the next step.
He also praised the fact that three of the back four, with the exception of Pedro Foro, were not regular starters. “In the second half, we were winning, but there were some players who hadn’t played for a long time, so there was a bit of self-protection,” Postecoglou said. On the other hand, the Wolverhampton players have the home fans behind them, cheering and supporting them. I think that’s why they were able to stand up for themselves,” he said, adding that the enthusiastic support at home was a key factor in City’s success in knocking out Man City and now Tottenham.
He added: “We lost, but we took a lot of positives from it. The players who didn’t play will be better and stronger for the experience.”
Head coach O’Neill was overjoyed.
“This is the proudest day I’ve had since I started coaching,” he said. “I thought we were the better team except for the first five minutes (when we conceded). “I thought we were the better team apart from the first five minutes (when they conceded). I’m proud of my players, even at 0-1 down, they played with pride and battled well for 85 minutes,” he said, praising his Wolverhampton players.
“The mentality to keep going was great, and I’m actually disappointed that we have to say ‘well played but unlucky’ after the game. But the mentality to get the equalizer and then go on to get the win was unbelievable. We deserved to win.” 아톰카지노
As for the opposition, “Tottenham are a top team. We knew they were missing some players, but we came together as a team and got the job done. We won and I think the fans enjoyed it.”