Crystal Palace 1 (Ward 47) Wolves 1 (Jota 90)
Ten-man Wolves came from behind to claim a well-deserved point at Crystal Palace when Diogo Jota netted deep into added time.
Despite Wolves having the best of the chances in the first 45 minutes, Joel Ward’s long-range effort early in the second-half, which took a heavy deflection off Leander Dendoncker, looked to be the difference between the two sides at Selhurst Park – especially when Romain Saiss was sent off for a second yellow card – before Jota popped up late on.
Nuno Espirito Santo made four changes to the side which fell to defeat against Braga on Thursday evening, with Saiss, Joao Moutinho, Diogo Jota and Adama Traore coming into the starting line-up, with latter starting in a more advanced role than the right wing-back position he has featured in so far this season.
Following an even opening to the contest, it was the visitors who had the first opportunity to open the scoring when a Moutinho cross made its way to the back post where Dendoncker was loitering. The Belgian took a shot at goal, but it was cleared off the line by James McArthur.
With both sides struggling to crate clear cut chances, Traore had the best of the first 25 minutes, outmuscling his markers and creating space outside the box before his eventual goalbound shot was deflected over Vicente Guaita’s crossbar.
At the other end of the pitch, Rui Patricio had to be alert between the sticks for Wolves to deny a Jordan Ayew effort after the forward got on the end of a corner and planted his header towards goal.
Moments later and it was Guaita’s turn to produce heroics for Palace as the goalkeeper palmed a point-blank header from Matt Doherty, who had found space at the back post to reach the end of a Raul Jimenez cross, over the bar. From the resulting corner, Traore – finding space on the edge of the box – fired a shot well wide of the post.
Beautiful link-up play between Wolves’ front line almost ended with Jota putting his side ahead, but Guaita denied the visitors once again. Jota played a neat one-two with Jimenez as he made his way into the Crystal Palace box, but his low driven shot into the corner was able to be gathered by the keeper.
Doherty then got behind the Palace defence but despite flicking a Moutinho cross towards the goal Guaita was there to keep it out.
Half-time: Palace 0 Wolves 0
Although it was the visitors who had the best of the opportunities in the first-half, it took Palace just minutes into the second 45 to punish Wolves for not taking their chances when Joel Ward let fly from the edge of the box. Via a deflection off Dendoncker, the ball ended up taking a touch off the leg of a wrong-footed Patricio on its way into the back of the net.
As he did in the first-half, the hosts’ keeper Guaita continued to deny every shot Wolves peppered his goal with in the second. Jimenez was halted by the stopper when he flicked his foot onto a Jonny cross from the left to send the ball towards the net.
Wolves’ task got even tougher when Saiss was sent from the field for a second bookable offence. The versatile Moroccan was penalised for pulling back Wilfred Zaha and found his name in Stuart Atwell’s notebook for the second time in the afternoon.
The visitors then had Patricio to thank for making a great low save to keep out substitute Christian Benteke’s shot from inside the area after the forward had skipped past Conor Coady’s outstretched leg to get his effort away.
Traore was next to have an effort on goal, as the ball sits up nicely for the Spaniard at the back post, after taking a touch and looking for goal, his powerful effort was deflected wide for a Wolves corner, which Guaita was able to claim comfortably.
As the game entered added time, substitute Ruben Neves struck a shot wide from long-distance before Patricio saved Wolves from going further behind as he saved Benteke’s effort.
But Wolves finally got the goal their play deserved with seconds left on the clock. Traore’s cross landed at the feet of Jota, yards out from goal, after Ward slipped and the forward simply placed his shot past Guaita to secure his side a well-deserved point.
Half-time: Palace 1 Wolves 1
Palace: Guaita, Ward, Sakho, Cahill, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Schlupp, McArthur (McCarthy 83), Kouyate, Zaha, Ayew (Benteke 69).
Unused subs: Hennessey, Kelly, Dann, Meyler, Townsend.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty (Neves 57), Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Dendoncker (Neto 65), Moutinho, Traore, Jota, Jimenez (Cutrone 76).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Vallejo, Vinagre, Gibbs-White.
Referee: Stuart Atwell