Wolves Reach First European QF In Nearly 50 Years As Sevilla Win Roma

Olympiakos’ Egyptian striker Ahmed Hassan headers the ball but fails to score during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Olympiakos at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on August 6, 2020.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

 

Wolves battled into their first quarter-finals in Europe in 48 years on Thursday while Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Basel enjoyed far more comfortable victories in the matches that brought the Europa League round of 16 to a belated close.

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal from the penalty spot in the ninth minute and Wolves survived a series of scares to edge Olympiakos 1-0 at Molineux for a 2-1 aggregate win in a tie that began in Athens on March 13.

Leverkusen beat visiting Rangers 1-0 to win 4-1 on aggregate while Basel beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 for a 4-0 aggregate victory.

 

Glasgow Rangers’ Scottish forward Greg Stewart is persued by Leverkusen players during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Glasgow Rangers at the Bay Arena stadium on August 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Sascha Schuermann / AFP / POOL

 

Sevilla cruised past Roma 2-0 in a one-off Europa League game played at neutral Duisburg, which will one of the host grounds when the Rhineland region of Germany hosts the last three rounds of the competition from August 10-21.

At Molineux, Bobby Allain, the visitors’ Franco-Scottish goalkeeper, failed to control a back pass in the seventh minute.

Daniel Podence, who scored for Olympiakos at Tottenham in September but moved to Wolves in January, darted in and stole the ball.

Allain clumsily bundled his former clubmate over and Jimenez converted the penalty.

The Greek champions, who had drawn at Tottenham in the Champions League and won at Arsenal in the Europa League this season, responded by dominating possession.

They created a string of chances but were thwarted by good saves by Rui Patricio, a tight offside decision and their own inaccurate finishing.

Wolves, who began their Europa League campaign on July 25 last year against Crusaders in the second qualifying round, will next face Sevilla at Duisburg on August 11.

“A long, long season,” Jimenez said. “Now we are in the quarter-finals and we want to keep going.”

Sevilla were also in Duisburg on Thursday where they took the lead against Roma after 22 minutes. Captain and right back Jesus Navas switched play with a cross-field pass to left back Sergio Reguilon that caught Roma flat-footed.

 

Players reacts after the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match between Sevilla FC and AS Roma at the MSV Arena on August 6, 2020 in Duisburg. WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP

 

Reguilon surged past two defenders and into the box before sliding a low shot past Spanish goalkeeper Pau Lopez’s foot.

Sevilla added a second on the counter-attack in the 43rd minute.

Lucas Ocampos burst down the right and after Lopez failed to cut out the low cross, Youssef En Neysri finished into an empty net from close range.

Sevilla, coached by former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, dominated as they stretched their unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitions and kept on course to add to their record five Europa League titles.

“We are a team in every sense of the word. We want to win this tournament, we want to win everything we can,” said Reguilon.

It was a tame end to a dramatic day for Roma.

The club announced earlier Thursday that it had been bought by US billionaire Dan Friedkin for 591 million euros ($700 million).

“We’ve got to accept that Sevilla were superior,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.

In Basel, defender Fabien Frei scored the only goal in the 88th minute as the home team won 1-0 to complete an aggregate 4-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

 

basel
FC Basel’s Swiss midfielder Fabian Frei (unseen) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg football match between FC Basel and Eintracht Frankfurt on August 6, 2020 at St Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

In Leverkusen, Moussa Diaby scored the only goal after 51 minutes to complete a comfortable victory for Bayer, who won 3-1 in Glasgow in March.

“We had the chances to score one or two more times tonight and in the rounds to come we have to make sure that we’re more clinical,” said Leverkusen captain Lars Bender.

“But the most important thing about tonight was getting the ball rolling, avoiding injuries and re-establishing rhythm.”

In the quarter-finals, Bayer will make the short trip to Dusseldorf to face Inter Milan on August 10, Basel will play Shakhtar Donetsk in Gelsenkirchen the next night.

AFP

Europa League Draw Leaves Open Potential Man Utd-Wolves Semi-Final

File photo: Europa League
File photo: Europa League

 

Manchester United could find themselves facing English rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals of the Europa League in Germany in August, after Friday’s draw for the latter stages of the tournament put the teams on a collision course.

While the UEFA Champions League is to be completed with a straight knockout mini-tournament in Lisbon in August, the Europa League will be played to a conclusion with an identical format in Germany. Both competitions were suspended in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

The Europa League final will be played in Cologne on August 21. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played as one-off ties with Cologne, Duisburg, Duesseldorf and Gelsenkirchen all hosting games.

Before that, all last-16 ties must be completed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United, who have been in fine form since the Premier League season resumed last month, are effectively already through to the last eight having won 5-0 away to Austrian side LASK in the first leg.

Assuming they progress, the 2017 Europa League winners will take on either Istanbul Basaksehir or FC Copenhagen in the quarter-finals on August 10 or 11. The Turkish side beat Copenhagen 1-0 at home in the first leg in March.

Meanwhile, Wolves drew 1-1 away to Olympiakos in the first leg of their last-16 tie. They are due to host the recently-crowned Greek champions in the return and would then need to beat Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or Roma in the quarter-finals.

Manchester United and Wolves are both chasing Champions League qualification through the Premier League, with the Old Trafford team fifth, six points ahead of sixth-placed Wolves with four games left.

Fifth in England’s top flight will be enough to qualify for the Champions League if Manchester City’s two-year ban from Europe is upheld. But winning the Europa League also offers a route into next season’s Champions League.

There are three German teams left in the Europa League, including Bayer Leverkusen. They won 3-1 away to Rangers in the first leg of their last-16 tie and will be confident of advancing to the last eight.

Leverkusen is barely 40 kilometres from Cologne, where the final will be played. They would play either Inter Milan or Getafe in the quarter-finals.

Only six of the eight last 16 first-leg matches were played in March. The other two ties — Inter v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma — will be decided as one-off matches on neutral ground in Germany.

As in the Champions League, all games are set to be played behind closed doors. This year’s Europa League final was initially due to be played in the Polish city of Gdansk in late May before the health crisis forced a change of plans.

Gdansk will host next year’s final instead.

Draw for Europa League Final Eight

The draw for the latter stages of this season’s Europa League made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday:

Quarter-finals

Wolfsburg (GER) or Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) or Basel (SUI)

LASK (AUT) or Manchester United (ENG) v Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR) or FC Copenhagen (DEN)

Inter Milan (ITA) or Getafe (ESP) v Rangers (SCO) or Bayer Leverkusen (GER)

Olympiakos (GRE) or Wolverhampton Wanderers (ENG) v Sevilla (ESP) or Roma (ITA)

Ties to be played on August 10 and 11

Semi-finals

Olympiakos/Wolves/Sevilla/Roma v LASK/Man Utd/Basaksehir/Copenhagen

Inter/Getafe/Rangers/Leverkusen v Wolfsburg/Shakhtar/Eintracht Frankfurt/Basel

Ties to be played on August 16 and 17

– Final on August 21 in Cologne

– Remaining last-16 matches to be played on August 5 and 6

– All matches from quarter-finals onwards to be played in Germany, with matches in Cologne, Duisburg, Duesseldorf and Gelsenkirchen

Jimenez Late Strike Seal Wolves Win Against Tottenham

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Mexican striker Raul Jimenez (L) celebrates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on March 1, 2020.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Raul Jimenez boosted Wolves’ bid to qualify for the Champions League as his late winner capped the visitors’ dramatic fightback in their 3-2 victory at Tottenham on Sunday.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side trailed twice in north London but hit back from 2-1 down thanks to second-half goals from Diogo Jota and Jimenez.

Wolves moved two points above Tottenham into sixth place in the Premier League.

As it stands, finishing fifth could lead to a Champions League place, owing to second-placed Manchester City’s European ban, against which they are appealing.

Sitting level on points with fifth-placed Manchester United and just three behind fourth-placed Chelsea, Wolves are firmly in the hunt for an unexpected berth in Europe’s elite club competition.

READ ALSO: Ancelotti Sees Red As Man Utd Draw Everton 

They fell behind to Steven Bergwijn’s first-half opener, but Matt Doherty equalised and even Serge Aurier restoring Tottenham’s lead couldn’t knock Wolves out of their stride.

It was a bitter blow for injury-hit Tottenham, who suffered three consecutive defeats in all competitions for the first time this season.

Heading into this weekend, Spurs had kept just three clean sheets in 22 games in all competitions since Mourinho took charge.

So Mourinho dropped defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as part of four changes following last week’s defeat at Chelsea, with keeper Hugo Lloris sidelined by a groin injury.

Those switches included midfielder Eric Dier dropping back to center-half and exploited Mourinho’s reshuffle time and again.

Tottenham had their chances and took the lead with a superb counter in the 13th minute.

Giovani Lo Celso picked out Aurier’s run down the right and when the right-back’s cross reached Dele Alli, his shot was pushed out by Rui Patricio into the path of Bergwijn, who slotted home from close-range.

It was the Dutch winger’s second goal since joining Tottenham from PSV Eindhoven in January.

But the hosts remained creaky at the back and Nuno’s men crafted an impressive equaliser in the 27th minute.

Ruben Vinagre ran onto Jota’s pass and fought his way past Aurier to the touchline, where he delivered a teasing cross into the six-yard box.

Dier and Japhet Tanganga both made a hash of attempting to clear and Doherty made them pay as the defender fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for his seventh goal of the season.

Spurs In Disarray

Jose Mourinho said this week Tottenham have to “survive” in the race for the top four until they get some of their injured stars back.

Their hopes have been hit by the loss of Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, and Son Heung-min, but Tottenham were potent enough despite those absences and Aurier put them back in front in first-half stoppage-time.

The Ivory Coast international took Alli’s pass, cut inside Vinagre and curled a brilliant strike into the far corner from just inside the area.

Yet, in what proved a crucial miss, the unmarked Alli ghosted onto Ben Davies’ cross for a glancing header that crept wide.

Nuno sat on the Porto bench as reserve keeper when Mourinho guided the Portuguese club to Champions League glory in 2004.

And, trying to record his first victory as a manager over Mourinho at the third attempt, Nuno was back on level terms in the 57th minute.

Adama Traore bullied his way past Tanganga and found Jimenez, who slipped a pass to the over-lapping Doherty.

Doherty’s low cross reached Jota and he tapped in his sixth goal in three games from virtually on the line.

Tottenham’s back five were in disarray and Jota and Jimenez combined to win it in the 73rd minute.

Jota was the catalyst with an incisive burst beyond Dier and Davinson Sanchez.

His pass found Jimenez and the Mexican striker easily tricked his way past Tanganga, opening space for a fine finish that sparked wild celebrations from Nuno and his staff on the touchline.

AFP

Wolves Battle Man United To Premier League Draw At Old Trafford

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Spanish midfielder Adama Traore (L) vies with Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 1, 2020. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Manchester United and Wolves missed another chance to close the gap on Chelsea in the race for a place in the Champions League next season with a 0-0 draw devoid on inspiration at Old Trafford.

Both sides remain six points adrift of Chelsea, despite a run of four wins in 13 games for the Blues, and fall a point behind Sheffield United.

United handed a debut to £47 million ($62 million) signing Bruno Fernandes in midfield as he went head-to-head with a host of his Portuguese international teammates.

Fernandes has been recruited to add some much-needed guile and goals to the United midfield and a lack of creativity and cutting edge up front without the injured Marcus Rashford was evident as they failed to break down a well-organized Wolves.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were largely limited to shots from the range with Fernandes keen to make his mark.

Andres Pereira and Fernandes fired wide before the debutant’s clean strike from the edge of the box was too close to Rui Patricio.

Wolves also harbour ambitions of playing Champions League football for the first time next season, but were overly cautious in their approach and have now failed to score in three meetings with United over the past month.

Adama Traore caused Liverpool a litany of problems in Wolves’ last outing, but the Spaniard was not allowed the same space to exploit by United and blasted wide his side’s best chance before the break.

Fernandes tested his former Sporting Lisbon teammate Rui Patricio again from distance with a free-kick and Juan Mata curled wide as United’s pressure began to build without ever cutting the visitors’ open.

And Wolves’ plan to contain and counter-attack nearly paid off when Traore burst through the heart of the United midfield and played in Raul Jimenez, who forced David de Gea into a fine save.

United’s other new signing Odion Ighalo was not available after completing a late loan move from Shanghai Shenhua before Friday’s transfer deadline.

Solskjaer, therefore, had to turn to 18-year-old Mason Greenwood in the search for a winner and the teenager nearly delivered with a deflected shot that fell kindly into the wrong-footed Patricio’s arms.

The hosts best chance fell to substitute Diogo Dalot deep into stoppage time, but his header trickled inches wide to ensure United have won just one of their last five league games.

AFP

Tottenham Close To Premier League Top Four After Wolves Win

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their late winner during the English Premier League football match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on December 15, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

 

Jan Vertonghen’s stoppage-time header continued Tottenham’s turnaround under Jose Mourinho as Spurs moved up to fifth with a 2-1 win at Wolves.

Mourinho’s men were largely outplayed at Molineux but were ruthless with their chances to inflict Wolves’ first league defeat in 12 games.

Adama Traore’s spectacular strike had cancelled out Lucas Moura’s early opener before Vertonghen stooped to guide home Christan Eriksen’s corner.

READ ALSO: I Am Alive And Bubbling – IBB

Spurs can now move into the top four before Christmas if they beat Chelsea at home next weekend.

That speaks volumes for the impact Mourinho has made in less than a month in charge as Tottenham trailed Chelsea and the top four by 12 points when he was appointed.

Wolves drop to eighth as their longest unbeaten run in the top flight since 1962 came to an end, but there was little more Nuno Espirito Santo’s men could have done to at least avoid defeat.

After an industrious start by Wolves, it was Spurs who scored after eight minutes.

Son Heung-min’s drive was beaten away by Rui Patricio but the ball was worked to Moura, who glided into the area before rifling in high from an angle for his third goal in seven games under Mourinho.

Wolves remained undaunted though and after Paulo Gazzaniga gathered Traore’s low effort they began to create openings.

Diogo Jota was a menace and it was from his work Raul Jimenez nearly levelled after 26 minutes but his low effort flashed wide.

Soon after Jota was denied by the recovering Davinson Sanchez after the defender’s initial mistake allowed the forward through.

Wolves continued to dominate but should have been 2-0 down nine minutes before the break.

Referee Stuart Attwell played a good advantage after Moura was fouled to allow Eric Dier forward.

He played a cute one-two with Dele Alli to leave the midfielder with just Patricio to beat but his low strike hit the post.

It would have been harsh on Wolves and they continued to push after the break.

Jota failed to turn in Traore’s cross and Gazzaniga pushed away Jimenez’s shot.

Spurs’ defence had lived dangerously, with Vertonghen, in particular, struggling against the pace of Traore.

Wolves finally got their reward on 67 minutes.

Traore had given the visitors problems all game and he made them pay, collecting Jimenez’s pass and unleashing a rocket which flew past Gazzaniga from 20 yards.

Tottenham then never looked like restoring their lead before the late drama.

Wolves remained the aggressors and Romain Saiss’ glancing header four minutes later forced Gazzaniga into a fine stop.

But Spurs silenced the hosts in the first minute of injury time when Vertonghen nodded in Eriksen’s corner.

AFP

Premier League: Wolves Hold Arsenal To 1-1 Draw

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Mexican striker Raul Jimenez (C) scores his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 2, 2019. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Arsenal’s winless run in the Premier League stretched to three games as Raul Jimenez’s header 14 minutes from time earned Wolves a well-deserved 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Saturday.

A week on from a foul-mouthed reaction towards the Arsenal fans as he was substituted against Crystal Palace, Gunners captain Granit Xhaka was left out of the squad by Unai Emery in an attempt to ease the tension between players and supporters.

However, there was no great upturn in the Arsenal performance with doubts growing with every passing week that Emery is the man to lead Arsenal back into the Champions League next season.

Emery also responded to the Xhaka controversy by listening to the fans’ calls for Mesut Ozil’s return as the German made just his second Premier League start of the season.

However, Ozil made little impact with Arsenal again reliant on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who replaced Xhaka as captain and opened the scoring, for inspiration.

Wolves started by far the better of the two sides, but were too often reliant on potshots from long range as Bernd Leno saved from Joao Moutinho’s free-kick before Ruben Neves’s dipping effort just did not come down in time to hit the target.

Arsenal took the lead against the run of play on 21 minutes when a low cross found Alexandre Lacazette inside the area and he teed up Aubameyang to slot home his 50th goal for Arsenal.

The goal appeared to settle the Gunners’ nerves and Rui Patricio twice had to be alert to deny Lucas Torreira and Lacazette from doubling the hosts’ advantage.

However, Wolves ended the first period as they had started by posing the greater threat and only a wonderful one-handed save from Leno prevented Matt Doherty levelling from Diogo Jota’s cut-back.

Leno was the busier of the goalkeepers after the break too as he turned another long-range Neves effort to safety.

And Wolves were finally rewarded with an equaliser when Moutinho’s looping cross into the box was headed down past Leno by Jimenez.

Ozil had the chance to make himself a hero but failed to pick out an Arsenal shirt with plenty queuing up to apply the finishing touch six minutes later.

But it was Wolves who had the best chance to snatch all three points when Jota eased through a flurry of weak Arsenal challenges in the final minute only to be denied by Leno.

The final whistle was met with boos from the disgruntled home fans and Arsenal could end the weekend six points adrift of the top four if Chelsea and Leicester win later on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

AFP

Arsenal’s Xhaka To Miss Wolves Clash

A file photo of Granit Xhaka. AFP photo.

 

 

Unai Emery has confirmed Granit Xhaka will miss Arsenal’s clash with Wolves on Saturday as the Swiss midfielder’s fan feud rumbles on.

Xhaka appeared to swear at Arsenal supporters after his second-half substitution prompted sarcastic cheers and booing during Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

The 27-year-old cupped his ears, waved his arms angrily and ripped off his shirt before storming down the tunnel.

Xhaka has faced calls to be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and he was left out for Wednesday’s League Cup defeat at Liverpool after Gunners boss Emery admitted his reaction was wrong.

READ ALSO: Bale Returns To Real Squad, To Miss Betis Clash

Xhaka, who was also booed against Aston Villa earlier this season, revealed on Thursday he reached boiling point following a series of sick taunts toward him and his family via social media.

With Wolves visiting the Emirates Stadium this weekend, it is possible Xhaka would have endured more abuse after the statement offered only a faint apology for his actions.

Emery has again decided it is better to take Xhaka out of the firing line to stop the controversy distracting his players in an important Premier League fixture.

“He said sorry, he gave the apologies to the supporters, to everybody and now the focus is for tomorrow’s match,” Emery told reporters on Friday.

“It is not in my mind that he is going play tomorrow. I am thinking tomorrow he is not going to play because I think now we need also to be focused only 100 per cent on the match.”

Xhaka was already a disliked figure among many Arsenal fans after lacklustre displays since his 2016 arrival from Borussia Moenchengladbach.

His failure to block the cross that led to Palace’s equalising goal on Sunday was the final straw for some at the Emirates as they vented their frustrations.

A decision over the captaincy remains to be announced, although Xhaka is said to retain the backing of Arsenal’s players, who voted him as skipper in pre-season.

AFP

Abraham Leads The Way For Five-Star Chelsea

 

Tammy Abraham once again demonstrated why Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has placed his faith in the 21-year-old with a superb hat-trick in a crushing 5-2 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Wolves were supposed to be celebrating the 130 years in their Molineux home but the celebrations fell flat as Lampard’s young guns swept Nuno Espirito Santo’s side away.

Abraham’s treble was the outstanding contribution as he became the third player aged under 22 to score two goals in three successive Premier League games, matching the achievement of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United and Tottenham’s Dele Alli.

READ ALSO: Mane, Salah Hand Liverpool 3-1 Victory Over Newcastle

But his efforts were well supported by two other graduates from the Chelsea academy, centre-back Fikayo Tomori — who opened the scoring with a stunning 30-yard strike, his first for the club — and midfielder Mason Mount, scorer of the added-time fifth.

Wolves conjured a response in the 69th minute when Romain Saiss header deflected off Abraham into his own net and added an 85th minute second through Patrick Cutrone’s close range finish.

But at that point, Lampard’s side had established a four-goal lead and were providing further vindication for the Chelsea manager’s decision to reverse the trend of the past decade and a half at Stamford Bridge and give the club’s youngsters a chance this season.

A two-window transfer embargo has forced Lampard’s hand to a certain extent but the manager’s strong support for his young players is clearly bearing fruit.

And the former Chelsea midfielder was entitled to draw particular pleasure from the way Tomori, Mount and Abraham – who have each worked their way through the ranks after joining the club at under-eight level – combined for the Blues second goal.

A comprehensive victory that keeps Chelsea level with Tottenham, Manchester United and Leicester in the early battle for a top-four finish could also kickstart the Blues’ campaign.

For Wolves manager Nuno, though, defeat provided cause for concern, particularly ahead of the start of the Europa League group stage.

Wolves came into the game with the unwanted record of being the only Premier League not to have led for a single minute in a game this season.

And that remained the case when Tomori broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion in the 31st minute.

There was an element of luck in the way the ball broke for the 21-year-old after Jonny dispossessed Mount but there was no denying the quality of Tomori’s side-footed effort that curled into the top corner from 30 yards out.

Worse was to come for Nuno’s side three minutes later when Tomori surged forward from halfway, moved the ball on to Mount inside the penalty area and Abraham was on hand to finish when his team-mate went to ground under a challenge from Conor Coady.

Abraham struck again four minutes before the break, heading home from Marcos Alonso’s cross after Jesus Vallejo’s poor clearing header.

And the forward added his third and sent a telling reminder to Gareth Southgate, who left Abraham out of his recent England squad, when he beat Coady and fired past Rui Patricio ten minutes after the restart.

Abraham’s busy afternoon continued when he was given the unwanted credit for Wolves’ first consolation after Saiss headed a Joao Moutinho corner goalwards.

Cutrone then reacted first after Kepa Arrizabalaga parried Matt Doherty’s shot for his first goal in English football, but Mount completed a comfortable win with a composed finish in added time.

Richarlison Double Fires Everton Past Wolves

Everton’s Nigerian midfielder Alex Iwobi (L) watches as his header beats Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio (R) for Everton’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on September 1, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Richarlison bagged a brace as Everton earned a dramatic 3-2 win over Wolves on Sunday.

Brazil forward Richarlison scored the winner with 10 minutes left at Goodison Park to hand the Toffees their second win of the Premier League season.

It was an encouraging day for Everton boss Marco Silva, who handed first Premier League starts to summer signings in Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi and Fabian Delph, the latter making his first appearance in the league since January with Manchester City.

All three made an impact with former Arsenal winger Iwobi scoring for the second successive game.

Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez, with his eighth goal in eight starts this season, had twice drawn the visitors level.

Wolves remain without a win in four league games after suffering their first defeat of the season.

Only Bolton, bottom of League One with none, had scored fewer goals heading into this weekend than Everton.

But Silva’s side ended that run within 12 minutes, which provided as many goals as in Everton’s previous 180 on the pitch.

The opener was a shambles from Wolves’ point of view.

Conor Coady hesitated in playing a backpass to Rui Patricio so when he eventually did, the goalkeeper was taken by surprise and could only stab the ball to Kean, who fortuitously diverted it into the path of Richarlison and he blasted into the net.

Everton, with six successive home league clean sheets having not conceded since February in their last Goodison defeat, would have been hopeful of extending that run considering their record so far this season.

But that evaporated within four minutes as Adama Traore skipped past Lucas Digne and his low cross rebounded for Saiss to fire home from close range.

Back came Everton and Gylfi Sigurdsson swung in a right-wing cross which Iwobi headed home at the far post.

Joao Moutinho, one of the Wolves quartet rested after beating Torino in the Europa League in midweek, was introduced on the hour mark.

The changes worked as Jimenez levelled 15 minutes from time, the striker stealing in at the far post behind the napping Digne to bundle home a Ryan Bennett long throw flicked on by Willy Boly.

But Richarlison had the final say, heading home a Digne cross 10 minutes from time.

Boly’s second yellow card in the final seconds added to Wolves’ frustration.

AFP

Wolves Set Up Torino Clash In Europa League Playoffs

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker (2nd L) shoots to score but the goal is overturned after a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) review during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on August 11, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Wolves eased past Armenia’s Pyunik 4-0 and 8-0 on aggregate to reach the Europa League play-offs on Thursday where they will face Torino of Italy.

Diogo Jota, on as a substitute, scored a spectacular late volley with debutant Pedro Neto, Morgan Gibbs-White and Ruben Vinagre also on the scoresheet as Nuno Espirito Santo’s Premier League side cruised through at Molineux.

Wolves, playing in Europe for the first time since 1980, face a Torino side who drew 1-1 at Belarusian side Shakhtyor 1-1 to make it past the third qualifying round 6-1 on aggregate.

Nikolai Yanush salvaged some pride for the hosts levelling on the night from the spot in stoppage time after Simone Zaza had given the Italians the lead 10 minutes from time, but Torino were already well out of sight.

Torino, who finished seventh in Serie A last season, are only in the competition after AC Milan accepted in June a voluntary ban from European football for the coming season over breaches of financial fair play rules.

Feyenoord, former European champions and two-time winners of the Europa League’s predecessor UEFA Cup, also had easy passage to the playoffs after a 1-1 draw with Dinamo Tbilisi that saw them through 5-1 on aggregate.

Rangers saw off FC Midtjylland 3-1 at Ibrox for a 7-3 aggregate with Alfredo Morelos scoring twice either side of a Sheyi Ojo strike.

Fellow Scots Aberdeen, however, lost 2-0 to Rijeka of Croatia and went out 4-0 on aggregate.

AFP

Wolves Beat City On Penalties To Win Asia Trophy

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ goalkeeper Rui Patricio saves the ball to win the match against Manchester City during the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy football tournament at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai, on July 20, 2019. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio was the hero for Wolves, saving three spot-kicks after their Asia Trophy final against Manchester City went to penalties on Saturday in Shanghai.

Wolves won the exhibition tournament 3-2 on penalties after the game against the Premier League champions ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.

It was a story of missed penalties for Pep Guardiola’s City.

Raheem Sterling missed a first-half penalty for City, who dominated at a full Hongkou Stadium but were blunt in attack without Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.

Pre-season games are notoriously poor barometers for the season to come, especially when played in stifling heat like in Shanghai.

But both sides fielded close to their full-strength sides and Guardiola and counterpart Nuno Espirito Santo will be glad to escape without any serious injuries to their squads.

READ ALSO: AFCON 2019 Champions Algeria To Get $4.5m

Leroy Sane, the German winger wanted by Bayern Munich, started for City and won the Sterling penalty, but otherwise had a quiet game before being substituted on the hour.

Kevin De Bruyne was Guardiola’s captain for the night — the City armband is up for grabs following the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany.

Sterling should have put City in the lead but instead blasted his 20th minute penalty over the bar to let Chinese-owned Wolves off the hook.

The England international forward, playing through the middle, then fluffed a golden chance from close range with only goalkeeper Patricio to beat.

In the third-fourth playoff, Newcastle United beat West Ham United 1-0 to give Steve Bruce victory in his first match as head coach.

The Premier League proper begins on August 9.

AFP

Wolves Dent Arsenal’s Top-Four Hopes

Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal (3R) and Laurent Koscielny (2R) vie with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Leander Dendoncker (5R) for the ball during the clash. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Arsenal’s failings were cruelly exposed as their Champions League ambitions suffered a painful blow with a 3-1 defeat at Wolves on Wednesday.

Ruben Neves, Matt Doherty and the outstanding Diogo Jota scored the goals that condemned Unai Emery’s side to defeat and dented their hopes of a top-four finish.

But for all Wolves’ impressive play in a devastating spell at the end of the first half, Arsenal were architects of their own downfall with poor defending, sloppy passing and dreadful goalkeeping from Bernd Leno.

The goalkeeper was beaten by Doherty in the air for the second goal before allowing Jota’s low shot to squirm under his body for the third.

He had already been beaten by Neves’s fine free-kick for the opener, with Sokratis’s late header for Arsenal proving no more than a consolation.

And Emery was left to ponder more away-day woes for the Gunners and a sign that some of the fragility that haunted former manager Arsene Wenger has not been cured.

Having looked comfortable in the early exchanges, the Gunners simply wilted once Wolves piled on pressure at the end of the opening half and a catalogue of errors left the visitors 3-0 down at half-time with no way back.

Early Arsenal pressure

For 20 minutes it was comfortable for Emery’s side as they dominated possession and Wolves struggled to escape their own half.

The chief threat was from Nacho Monreal, advancing from full-back on their left flank, first to cross for Sokratis to volley off target, then to be stopped twice by Doherty, the second time earning the Wolves man a booking.

Yet the Gunners could not build on their early promise and Wolves worked their way into the game in stunning style, aided and abetted by brittle defending from the Gunners.

There were warnings when Jota burst down the Wolves left and Doherty down the right, leaving Arsenal defenders in their wake but not managing to deliver goals.

That changed when panic in the Arsenal defence saw Monreal foul Jonny and allow Neves to whip a free-kick over the wall and past Leno in the 28th minute.

Leno was culpable for the second goal, first for poor handling of a Jota shot that led to a corner and then for being outjumped by Doherty as he headed home a Jota cross 11 minutes later.

Then the Arsenal goalkeeper was one of several guilty parties for the Gunners’ third as he let Jota’s cross under his body and over the line on the stroke of half-time.

Granit Xhaka’s dreadful pass in the build-up and a non-existent challenge from Sokratis were equally responsible.

When Raul Jimenez crossed for Jota early in the second half, Wolves should have made it 4-0 but the forward’s touch let him down on an otherwise impeccable evening.

Arsenal had a strong penalty appeal rejected when Alexandre Lacazette tangled with Ryan Bennett and Sokratis headed a goal from a Xhaka corner with 10 minutes to go.

But even a brief spell of sustained pressure offered little serious hope that they could undo any of the earlier self-inflicted damage.

AFP