Perhaps the biggest surprise in this halting and heated affair between the Midlands rivals was that it took until the 94th minute for anyone to see red. Wolves ended this ill-tempered draw with 10 men after Mario Lemina was sent off for a second yellow card in 12 minutes of second-half stoppage time, but held on in a nervy finale against Aston Villa to take a point.
Ollie Watkins, Ezri Konsa and Villa substitute Nicolò Zaniolo almost scored the winner when Watkins hit the post and Zaniolo side-footed a Leon Bailey corner just inches wide, but Pau Torres’ first Villa goal ended up being the winner Hwang Hee-chan’s opening goal was canceled out. Earlier, Wolves missed a chance to regain the lead but Pedro Neto was unable to beat Emiliano Martínez after repelling a curling cross from Sasa Kalajdzic.
The sight of Unai Emery urging everyone who would listen to calm down while the fourth official, Paul Tierney, called for four extra minutes in the first half felt a little rich considering he had spent almost the entire previous one Had spent 45 minutes angrily pacing around his technical area and getting confused over the most innocuous mistakes. He was beside himself when Douglas Luiz sent a careless pass astray and appeared on the verge of burning when John McGinn, his captain, fired a shot harmlessly wide.
On another occasion, the Villa manager gestured to Martínez for firing a kick straight at his opponent, José Sá. He then asked Tierney why Nélson Semedo had escaped a yellow card for a foul on Lucas Digne. Emery’s attempt to play peacemaker just before half-time followed an argument between Rayan Aït-Nouri and McGinn, which led to a war of words between Wolves assistant manager Shaun Derry and the Villa midfielder.
Suddenly Emery was the one who appeared a picture of serenity. Perhaps Emery’s irritation stemmed from the fact that Villa’s best players had been shut out by the same three-man defense that had forced Erling Haaland out of the game a week earlier when Wolves beat Manchester City. Watkins, who has just signed a new five-year contract, has had to make ends meet and Moussa Diaby, Villa’s record signing, has been subdued.
Watkins came to life 46 seconds into the second half, forcing Sá into a fine fingertip save, but Villa’s busiest player was McGinn, at least due to his entertaining duel with Craig Dawson.
Eight minutes into the second half, Wolves took advantage. Neto stormed to the baseline, raced past Torres and from there passed the ball back to Hwang, who got in front of Konsa and converted from close range.
However, their lead barely lasted more than a minute, but Torres made up for it by flicking a clever Watkins cross first-time to the back post. Emery stood impassively in the dugout with his arms folded while Torres pointed to the Villa crest on his chest. Villa’s equalizer also came as Wolves fans in the Sir Jack Hayward Stand jeered at their neighbors. This was an afternoon where both teams enjoyed their moment in the sun.