Manchester United kickstarted their Premier League campaign in an attritional affair as they overcame a dogged Wolves side 1-0 courtesy of a Raphael Varane goal and a slightly contentious Andre Onana penalty decision.
United were under the pump for much of the game and near the final whistle, almost conceded a penalty that would have led to both teams sharing the spoils.
Andre Onana penalty controversy
Onana bumped into Wolves striker Sasa Kalajdzic in the 97th minute when both went for an aerial ball.
The goalkeeper went in hard but missed the ball and Kalajdzic was left on the floor as the ball trickled away from danger.
What had been a great game for the Cameroonian up till that point threatened to get derailed.
Huge shouts of a penalty emanated from Wolves players and the bench. The decision was scrutinised by VAR. Match referee Simon Hooper wasn’t called to the monitor to have a look at the incident as it was ultimately decided that Onana had no case to answer.
O’Neil was left exasperated and was booked for dissent as United thanked their lucky stars. Ten Hag said in his post-match comments that he didn’t think it was a penalty either.
Gary O’Neil’s claim
However, that wasn’t the end of it.
Commenting on the Onana penalty controversy after the game, O’Neil revealed that Jon Moss, a long-serving referee and current member of the referee governing body PGMOL, admitted to the error.
The Wolves manager said that Moss came “straight out” and “apologised”, saying it was a “blatant penalty and it should have been given”.
He credited Moss for accepting that it was a “clear and obvious error”, adding that the PGMOL member couldn’t believe the on-field referee and VAR didn’t give it.
O’Neil said it looked like Onana “almost took out centre-forward’s head off”.
Even Ten Hag conceded that it was “lucky for us” that there was no penalty and “you can debate it”, but maintained that it wasn’t a penalty in his opinion. Captain Bruno Fernandes echoed similar sentiments.
Wolves ultimately lost despite a lacklustre performance from United which would be of greater worry to Ten Hag that the Onana penalty incident.