A goal apiece for Wolves’ strike force fired the men in gold and back to winning ways, as the hosts defeated Cardiff City at Molineux. Both Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez broke the visitors’ resistance in the space of two minutes, after assisting each other in unselfish fashion.
The opening goal was a thing of beauty, as a one-touch passage of play through Wolves’ midfield saw Jimenez lay in Jota to fire past Neil Etheridge. The second was down to the Wolves press, as Jimenez robbed Sol Bamba of possession, crossed for Jota and received the ball back to tuck home the second.
John Ruddy, making his first Premier League appearance of the season, had little to do between the sticks, and watched his team mates pass up opportunities to make the victory more comfortable, with both Ruben Vinagre and Jimenez denied by Etheridge after the break, but it mattered not as Wolves claimed the points
Nuno rang the changes against the Bluebirds and it had the desired effect at Molineux. He couldn’t have asked for much more than what he saw in the opening 20 minutes from his side, who patiently kept the ball against a deep Cardiff side, before producing their devastating best in front of goal.
The opener came courtesy of some unbelievable one-touch passing, some of the best seen at Molineux in recent years, which left the Bluebirds chasing shadows, and when a deft flick from Jimenez created space for Jota, he had the finish to match, slotting past Etheridge to give his side the lead.
It took just two minutes to make it two, as well. Jimenez’s pressing forced Bamba to surrender possession and the Mexican was away. His outside of the foot cross found Jota, who took the ball down and unselfishly returned to his strike partner to put Wolves in the driving seat.
The Molineux crowd were loving every minute of it and were almost celebrating a third just after the half-hour mark when Morgan Gibbs-White’s dangerous corner found Leander Dendoncker, who knew nothing about his ricochet which hit the post but was then denied by Etheridge’s who’d made himself big.
As the contest entered injury time, which was substantial after Cardiff’s Bamba was stretchered off, Ruddy was called into action, but his catch was simple to keep out Steve Morrison. Then, with the last kick of the half, Aron Gunnarsson’s volley flew wide of the mark.
Half-time: Wolves 2 Cardiff 0
Just two minutes of the second-half had surpassed when Jota had to be replaced, with Matt Doherty taking his place. That change saw a shift in position for Adama Traore, who moved up to partner Jimenez and his running created space for two shots on goal which he put wide.
At 2-0 down, Cardiff were having to commit bodies forward, so when caught, they looked in trouble and Vinagre started and almost finished a devastating breakaway, exchanging passes with Jimenez, before being denied by Etheridge. Jimenez headed over from the resulting corner.
Doherty’s first real burst forward almost created the third goal, as he powered into the box and found Jimenez, who chopped onto his left foot, but was denied by the shoulder of Etheridge. Before the ball returned to play, Ivan Cavaleiro took the place of Traore.
In the closing stages of the game Gunnarsson flashed a shot wide, while Morrison’s header forced a straightforward save out of Ruddy. At the other end, Vinagre led another counter attack and stung the palms of Etheridge as Wolves saw out the victory.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Cardiff 0
Wolves: Ruddy, Traore (Cavaleiro 75), Bennett, Coady, Boly, Vinagre, Saiss, Dendoncker, Gibbs-White (Moutinho 64), Jota (Doherty 47), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Norris, Jonny, Neves, Costa.
Cardiff: Etheridge, Peltier, Morrison, Bamba (Manga 45), Bennett, Gunnarsson, Camarasa, Ralls, Reid (Parterson 59), Zohore, Niasse (Healey 76).
Unused subs: Smithies, Arter, Bacuna, Harris.