Julen Lopetegui claimed Wolves were denied a “very, very clear penalty” by referee Andy Madley in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United.
Wolves were furious in January when they had a late goal disallowed for offside against Liverpool in the FA Cup at Anfield, and they remain convinced that was an injustice.
Madley was also the man in the middle that time, with Wolves denied what would almost certainly have been a winning goal as the game finished 2-2, with Liverpool going on to edge the replay 1-0 at Molineux.
That incident has not been forgotten by Lopetegui, and he was aghast at Wolves being denied a spot-kick early on against Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope took a poor touch and gave away the ball to Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, before seeming to bundle the Mexican to the floor.
Wolves wanted a penalty and a red card but got neither, and Lopetegui said afterwards: “It’s true that, for me, it was a very, very clear penalty for us. We are very unlucky with the referee. This is a pity for us.
“It doesn’t matter what I think. The more important thing is that this is true that we have suffered a big mistake a lot of matches ago at Liverpool, and for me [Sunday’s incident] was a penalty, but the VAR can’t help in this case the referee. We were very unlucky with the decision. We didn’t have a penalty since I arrived here.”
Alexander Isak headed Newcastle ahead in the first half, but Hwang Hee-chan brought Wolves level in the 70th minute.
The visitors sat deep and were punished by a fine finish from Miguel Almiron nine minutes later.
94% – In the 16 Premier League meetings between Newcastle and Wolves, both sides have scored in 15 (94%) – this is the highest such ratio of any fixture to be played 5+ times in the competition’s history. Inevitable.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2023
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe told Sky Sports he felt there would have been no justification in awarding Wolves a penalty for the clash between Pope and Jimenez, which came when the game was goalless.
Howe said: “I didn’t think it was a penalty at the time. You might say I was biassed, but I didn’t. I thought it was Jimenez going down before the contact was made, that was my initial assessment.”
Substitute Almiron delighted Howe with his contribution off the bench, having been a regular starter up to now.
“Not that he necessarily needed to give a response, it was a case of us just trying to freshen him up,” Howe said. “It’s an outstanding season that he’s had, he’s contributed in lots of different ways, and you see the work rate he gives every week. He made a massive impact, and I’m delighted for him.”
Howe was glad to halt a five-game winless run, with the Magpies jumping above Liverpool into fifth place.
“I just think it reignites us,” he said. “Hopefully it re-sparks us into action and restores confidence levels to where they should be.”
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