Report: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-4 Leeds United
Another memorable win at Molineux!
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 (Jonny 65’, Cunha 73’)
Leeds United 4 (Harrison 6’, Ayling 50’, Kristensen 62’, Rodrigo 90+7’)
Wolves: Sa (GK), Semedo (A. Traore 57’), Dawson (Collins 45’), Kilman, Jonny, Lemina, Neves (C) (Moutinho 76’), J. Gomes, Neto (Sarabia 46’), Jimenez, Podence (Cunha 57’). Subs not used: Bentley (GK), Toti, Nunes, Costa.
Leeds: Meslier (GK), Ayling (C), Firpo (Sturijk 81’), Koch, Aaronson (Summerville 81’), Roca, Bamford (Rodrigo 67’), Harrison, McKennie, Gnonto (Kristensen 62’), Wober. Subs not used: Robles (GK), Cooper, Sinisterra, Rutter, Gray.
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Booked: Dawson, Semedo, Da Silva (Wolves) Ayling, Firpo, McKennie, Roca (Leeds)
Sent-off: Jonny, Nunes (Wolves)
Leeds United travelled away from home in the Premier League, taking on Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in their final match before the international break, claiming a huge three points in doing so.
A chaotic match where both teams looked to win from the first minute saw six goals, two red cards, VAR checks aplenty and entertainment throughout.
Javi Gracia’s side got off to the perfect start, taking the lead just six minutes into the match. Robin Koch floated a clever ball left for Willy Gnonto who controlled well before bursting into the box, then pulling it back to the edge for Jack Harrison to find the top corner!
Wolves looked to respond quickly and nearly did so, but for good goalkeeping and defending combined. Daniel Podence struck low inside the box which Illan Meslier saved well, before Max Wober positioned himself well to deny Pedro Neto’s follow up shot.
The home side had a good spell in the match after going behind. Wober again showed a superb defensive instinct to deny Nelson Semedo’s shot, blocking his powerful strike from Max Kilman’s dangerous ball into the middle.
After Leeds had weathered the Wolves storm on the pitch and the just as heavy rain from the skies, they settled back into the match and created further chances. Weston McKennie connected well with a volley following a clever corner routine, but his strike was blocked.
Further chances came before the interval, with two also from set-plays. Marc Roca and Patrick Bamford both shot on goal from free-kick chances which went over the bar, then Brenden Aaronson struck over in open play, from 25-yards out.
When the whistle blew to end the first half, Leeds had an important one-goal advantage to take into the changing room, but would be safe in the knowledge that the job had not been finished.
HALF TIME: Wolves 0-1 Leeds United
The teams came out for the second half and Wolves had made two changes. Craig Dawson was perhaps fortunate to have seen out the first half, after not receiving a second yellow for a foul on Bamford, so he was replaced by Nathan Collins. The other swap was Pablo Sarabia on for Neto.
The hosts had the first opportunity of the half, from a corner. Thankfully for Leeds, the offside flag went up correctly to deny Mario Lemina a close range equaliser from the set-piece.
That intervention was crucial as from the next passage of play, Leeds won a corner of their own, and found the net! Roca’s deep cross saw Ayling escape his marker brilliantly and head home at the back post to make it two - with the defender then bringing back his trademark celebration from 12 months ago!
Wolves reacted by making another double switch, as they sent on their attacking reinforcements to try get back into the match. Adama Traore was brought on along with Matheus Cunha.
Two huge chances went the way of Leeds though just before the hour! Aaronson got free down the right and pulled the ball back to edge for Harrison who had a shot blocked on the line by Joao Da Silva, then Roca struck just wide on the follow up in what was a thoroughly exciting second half.
The next to make a change in the match was Leeds, and it would be a hugely successful one from Gracia and the Whites’ coaching staff. A hard-working Gnonto was replaced by Rasmus Kristensen.
No sooner after the defender had entered the pitch, he found the net! Harrison whipped a cross into the back post where Kristensen was, he controlled and smashed low into the bottom corner to make it three!
However, Wolves responded to the third almost instantly with a spectacular goal to reduce the advantage. Meslier rushed out his area to clear a ball over the top, but Jonny Otto capitalised by volleying from close to the half way line, over the ‘keeper and into the net.
In a match which continued to remain end to end, the home side nearly got another with 20 minutes to go, but for a superb save by Meslier to deny Raul Jimenez at point blank range.
There was nothing Meslier could do a couple of minutes later though, as Wolves did get another. Cunha had a shot from the edge of the box and it took a huge deflection, wrong-footing the Leeds ‘keeper and going into the back of the net.
The Whites managed to settle the game back down and regain some control, then they had a one-player advantage to go with their one goal lead. Following a VAR check, Jonny Otto saw his initial yellow card changed to a red, for a bad foul on Ayling.
Heading into seven minutes of stoppage time, Gracia was delighted to see his side secure the three points, with a goal for returning top-scorer Rodrigo! The striker raced clear from fellow-substitute Crysencio Summerville’s pass, then chipped the ‘keeper to find the net.
More time was added on after as Michael Salisbury had to sort issues out on the home bench. Despite never playing a part in the game, Matheus Nunes was shown a straight red card for his part in complaining about the goal.
With a then two-goal advantage, Leeds saw out the final few minutes of stoppage time and held on for an important three points ahead of the international break, after 104 minutes of football at Molineux.
FULL TIME: Wolves 2-4 Leeds United