Miguel Almirón’s Newcastle Debut Ruined By Comical Last-Second Equalizer
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This story should be about another tactical masterclass from Rafa Benitez or the staggeringly good form of 21-year-old midfielder Sean Longstaff or the brief but spirited cameo from record signing Miguel Almirón, but instead it’s about a ridiculous bit of goalkeeping from the usually excellent Martin Dúbravka.
Newcastle traveled to the Molineux on Monday night sitting above the drop zone on goal difference. With Wolves flying high in seventh, this match represented a daunting fixture for Benitez’s men.
But a fairly even, fairly entertaining first half was followed by the opening goal in the 56th minute — coming from Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden. It was a well-worked opener with center back Fabian Schar providing the assist, although Wolves keeper Rui Patricio definitely wasn’t at his best here.
Hayden scores to give Newcastle the lead! pic.twitter.com/RtrAaksmFq— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 11, 2019
Then, in the 72nd minute, former Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron came on for his debut.
75' - Almirón has received a magnificent reception from the 2,400 travelling supporters since coming on for his Magpies debut. Meanwhile, Hayden goes down after a late challenge from Moutinho and requires treatment. 0-1. #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 11, 2019
With only 18 minutes remaining in the match, Almiron was brought on to hit Wolves on the counter while also pitching in defensively, and he had to do more of the latter with Wolves pushing for an equalizer.
But the Paraguayan did show glimpses of his quality going forward – he completed eight of nine passes and almost setup Ayoze Perez for Newcastle’s second, but the Spaniard’s flicked attempt in front of goal drifted over the target.
The 25-year-old was also clattered in the middle of the pitch by a Joao Moutinho reducer, so welcome to England.
The ref added four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the match, and Newcastle looked home safe with the allotted time coming to an end. But then disaster struck.
Adama Traore hooked in a cross that soared to the heavens, and Dubravka planted himself beneath it for the catch. But the Slovakian never made it — he instead busied himself with acting like he'd been fouled — and Willy Boly headed home from close range.