There were Fulham fans waving Israel flags around Craven Cottage. You knew who they were here for. They wanted to see Manor Solomon, or ‘King Solomon’ as some have started calling him.
And boy did he deliver. For the third Premier League game in succession, the £6million signing from Shakhtar Donetsk was introduced as a substitute and scored, this time securing a point from a hard-fought contest with Wolves.
It was an elegant curled effort which flew into the corner in the 64th minute that saved Fulham here. If ever a player is earning himself a reputation as a ‘super sub’, it is Solomon, though on the bench is not where he wants to be.
The 23-year-old Israel international has not yet started a Premier League game for Fulham. He cannot do much more than this, and manager Marco Silva will surely reward him soon enough.
A point apiece felt fair in the end. There was little to separate these sides over the 90 minutes, with Pablo Sarabia’s smart finish from a slick move handing Wolves a first-half lead. That might have been the story on another night.
Manor Solomon (left) earned Fulham a point in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Wolves on Friday
The Israeli winger came on as a substitute at half-time and changed the game for the hosts
His clever curling strike beat Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa and marked his third in three games
January signing Pablo Sarabia (right) had opened the scoring for Wolves in the first period
Marco Silva’s side went two points off fifth while Wolves went four clear of the relegation zone
But here, Solomon made it more about him with yet another stellar showing as a substitute.
Twelve minutes in, we had not seen a shot of any note. It was a slow start. So slow that the Wolves fans resorted to making their own fun, having spotted Gary Neville in the Sky Sports studio to their left. They sang about him being a so-and-so, and he danced along to their ditty.
Match Facts: Fulham vs Wolves in West London
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Leno 6; Tete 6, Diop 6.5, Ream 7, Robinson 6; Reed 6 (Lukic 45, 6), Palhinha 6; De Cordova-Reid 6 (Solomon 45, 7.5), Pereira 6, Willian 6 (Wilson 83); Vinicius 6.
Subs not used: Rodak; Cedric, Tosin, Duffy, Kurzawa, James.
Goals: Solomon 64.
Yellow cards: Palhinha 19, Pereira 72.
Manager: Marco Silva 6.5.
Wolves (4-4-2): Sa 7; Semedo 6, Dawson 6.5, Kilman 6, Bueno 6; Sarabia 7 (Moutinho 76), Lemina 6, Neves 6, Nunes 6 (Podence 76); Jimenez 6 (Costa 84), Cunha 6 (Traore 60, 6).
Subs not used: Bentley; Jonny, Collins, Ait-Nouri, Gomes.
Goals: Sarabia 23.
Manager: Julen Lopetegui 6.5.
Referee: Michael Oliver 6.
In the 13th minute, Neville finally had something to analyse. Nelson Semedo showed fancy footwork before threading a through ball into Matheus Nunes. His cross was destined for a Raul Jimenez tap-in until Tim Ream’s sliding clearance.
In the 18th minute came Joao Palhinha’s customary yellow card for a late sliding tackle on Matheus Cunha. His 10th caution of the season, Fulham’s influential defensive midfielder will miss their next two games – back-to-back London derbies against Brentford and Arsenal.
Sarabia was behind the game’s first attempt on goal, with the January signing from Paris Saint-Germain forcing Bernd Leno into a save that was collected easily enough.
But Leno could not stop Sarabia the next time he took aim. In the 23rd minute, he picked up possession, spreading it wide to Nunes before continuing his charge forward.
Nunes’s subsequent cross led to a cushioned header from Jimenez for Sarabia, who set himself with his left foot and then blasted the ball with his right for a 1-0 lead.
Sarabia’s CV boasts a Champions League semi-final appearance for PSG in 2020 and the 30-year-old was showing his class here on Wolves’ right-hand side.
Fulham’s first shot on target came from the head of Carlos Vinicius, though the ball flew into the arms of Jose Sa. Vinicius was filling in for Aleksandar Mitrovic, the injured striker who was watching from the stands, no doubt frustrated.
Trailing 1-0 at half time, Fulham had not offered enough in the final third. Silva made two changes – Solomon for Bobby De Cordova-Reid, and Sasa Lukic for Harrison Reed.
In the 55th minute, Cunha and Sarabia dropped down injured for Wolves, who wanted the ball kicked out of play. Fulham refused. They played on in the hope of taking advantage of their opponents’ nine men, possibly suspecting it was a time-wasting ploy.
When Fulham’s attack came to nothing, pushing and shoving ensued between the players. Meanwhile, Cunha was carried away on a stretcher. No faking injury there.
In the 64th minute, Solomon’s time arrived. With the ball at his feet, he skipped inside and curled a shot towards Sa’s goal. It had a long way to travel but Wolves’ goalkeeper wasn’t getting near it.
Yet again, Solomon had done the business as a substitute.
Fulham thought they had won it amid eight minutes of stoppage time. Vinicius’s header looked destined for Wolves’ goal. But Sa somehow got a hand to it, and the spoils were shared.
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