Wolves 1-1 Ajax | Match Report

Wolves continued to build towards the Premier League campaign with a well-fought 1-1 draw against Dutch side Ajax at the Banks’s Stadium.

Ajax, who finished second in Eredivisie last season, proved stern opposition for Nuno’s side, who equalised through a Ruben Neves penalty in the second-half.

In what was Wolves’ first pre-season friendly on English soil, they were forced to come from behind after Donny van der Beek had given Ajax the lead in the opening period.

However, Wolves fully deserved their draw and had a host of chances to continue their 100 percent start, with Diogo Jota coming close on multiple occasions.

Back on British soil, Wolves looked sharp from their time in Switzerland and Ivan Cavaleiro almost gave his side an early lead but shot straight at Andre Onana.

The starting team held a strong resemblance to that which was so successful last season and Matt Doherty was typically dangerous going forward, almost forcing the opening goal on 16 minutes.

Instead he won a corner, however once centred, Jota couldn’t squeeze either of his efforts beyond the Ajax defence or goalkeeper.

Jota was performing the more central of the three forwards and should have given Wolves the lead when running onto a Neves pass, only to be foiled by Onana.

As the opening period wore on, the men in gold progressively found their rhythm and Helder Costa combined with Jota, before laying in Doherty to fire over on the stretch.

However, a minute before the break the Dutch side took the lead when van der Beek drifted inside from the right-hand side and steered an effort beyond Will Norris.

Half-Time: Wolves 0 Ajax 1

Like often before in pre-season, Wolves opted to give their goalkeepers a half each and John Ruddy replaced Norris for the second-half.

Costa had the first attempt on goal of the second period, but his deflected strike was comfortably held by Onana.

The goalkeeper almost gifted Wolves an equaliser minutes later, but after fumbling Jota’s cross, he recovered and spread himself well to keep out Cavaleiro.

The leveller felt on the cards and Jota’s thumping header almost snuck into the top corner. Then came the changes, with Romain Saiss making his first appearance back and joining Pedro Goncalves and Benny Ashley-Seal on the pitch.

Seconds later Jota forced a strong save out of Onana, but Wolves wouldn’t be denied moments later.

Costa tempted a trip out of the Ajax defence when running at pace and the referee pointed to the spot. Neves stepped up unfazed and sent Onana the wrong way from 12 yards.

Not content with a draw, the pressure continued as Neves produced a trademark ball to find Costa, who exchanged passes with Doherty before curling into the arms of Onana.

However, it wasn’t one-way traffic and Ruddy’s first major save of the half arrived with eight minutes left, but he was alert off his line to save from substitute Dani de Wit.

Aside from Rui Patricio, Wolves’ remaining substitutes all received minutes late in the day and one of the fresh bodies, Danny Batth headed into the arms of Onana from a corner soon after.

However, there would be no further chances in the closing stages in Walsall and Wolves settled for a draw which continues their unbeaten start to pre-season.

Full-Time: Wolves 1 Ajax 1

Wolves: Norris (Ruddy 46), Doherty, Bennett (Goncalves 71), Cavaleiro (Ashley-Seal 71), Neves (Watt 84), Costa (Enobakhare 84), Giles (John 84), Boly (Batth 84), Coady (Hause 84), Gibbs-White (Saiss 71), Jota (Mir 84).

Unused sub: Patricio.

Ajax: Onana, Kristensen, de Jong (Blind 46), de Ligt, Tagliafico, van der Beek (de Wit 78), Neres, Mazraoui (Jensen 86), Huntelaar (Sierhuis 84), Eiting, Lang.

Unused subs: van Bladeren, Bakboord.

Referee: Oliver Langford