Raul Jimenez’s early penalty was enough for Wolves to book a Europa League quarter-final clash with Sevilla after a 1-0 victory over Olympiacos sealed a 2-1 aggregate win in the last 16.
Wolves got just the start they needed as Olympiacos stand-in goalkeeper Bobby Allain needlessly bundled Daniel Podence to the floor to concede a penalty with just eight minutes on the clock, which Jimenez coolly slotted home to give Wolves the lead in the tie for the first time.
The visitors thought they had equalised through Mady Camara, but after a long, long VAR check, Youseff El Arabi was given offside in the build-up and the goal was ruled out.
After the break, Wolves set in to defend their lead, and with Rui Patricio in fine form behind them, their backline stood firm to book a first quarter-final spot in a European competition since 1972.
Wolves celebrate after scoring the winning goal
Image credit: Getty Images
Wolves' Europa League campaign began over a year ago, playing their first qualifying game against Crusaders on July 25 2019, but the hosts still looked fresh, with Podence harrying Allain into the mistake to give Jimenez the chance to stroke home his 27th goal, if you include Europa League qualifiers, in all competitions. The perfect way to celebrate becoming a father a few weeks ago.
The newly-crowned Greek champions responded well, and not long after being denied by a super Patricio stop, they did have the ball in the net. The celebrations were cut short by one of those dotted-line heavy VAR delays, with El Arabi just, and only just, given offside.
In the second half, Diogo Jota should have made sure of the win when clean through, but was denied by Allain, while Patricio again had to be at his best to deny Ahmed Hassan.
There were some nervy moments late on, but Wolves held on to ensure their long, long season rumbles on for at least another week.
What do these Wolves players have for breakfast? Up against the newly-crowned Greek champions, you would have forgiven Wolves for not being able to muster the energy to get the result they needed at Molineux, given how long their season has been. They have one of the smaller squads in the Premier League, but somehow, even a year after their season started, Wolves's key players are still firing on all cylinders, and look ready to take on yet more games in the coming weeks.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rui Patricio (Wolves): The best goalkeepers are the ones that can pull off the saves when they are only called upon a couple of times in the match. Olympiacos applied plenty of pressure, but Wolves defended well and kept them at bay, other than on a few occasions. In those moments, Patricio made all the difference, with two saves in particular very much in the world-class bracket.
Wolves: Patricio 8, Boly 6, Coady 8, Saiss 6, Doherty 7, Moutinho 6, Neves 6, Jonny 6, Traore 6, Jimenez 7, Podence 7... Subs: Jota 6, Vinagre 6, Dendoncker 6.
Olympiacos: Allain 5, Elabdellaoui 6, Ba 6, Cisse 6, Tsimikas 7, Guilherme 6, Camara 6, Bouchalakis 6, Masouras 6, Valbuena 7, El Arabi 7... Subs: Fortounis 6, Cafu 6, Randjelovic 6, Hassan 6.
8’ - PENALTY TO WOLVES! Slack defending from the visitors, Daniel Podence nips in, Olympiacos stand-in goalkeeper Bobby Allain rushes out, bundles Podence over - penalty!
8’ - GGGGOOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!! Wolves 1-0 Olympiacos (agg: 2-1). Advantage Wolves as Jimenez slots the penalty home to make it 1-0 on the night.
20 - SAVE! Brilliant stop from Rui Patricio to keep his side in front. Super move from the Greeks, Kostas Tsimikas plays a lovely one-two before unleashing a powerful strike, but Patricio springs across to tip the ball wide. Brilliant football all round.
28’ - GOOOOAAALLLL!Or is it? El-Arabi brilliantly picks out Mady Camara, who finds the net to equalise, but VAR is having a look for an offside on El-Arabi. This is a close one.
31’ - NO GOAL! After almost three minutes, VAR says El-Arabi was offside. Maybe by an armpit.
41’ - RABONA! Brilliant pass from Podence into Jimenez, who takes a touch before trying A RABONA FROM THE EDGE OF THE BOX, which loops over the top.
61’ - SAVE! All about Podence as he dances his way to the edge of the box, cuts onto his right foot, fires for goal, but Allain flings up an arm to make the save.
68’ - CLOSE! Ball into the middle is brought under control by El Arabi, he swivels and shoots, but slips as he does, and can only find the side netting.
79’ - SAVE! Dreadful back-pass from Ba, Jota is onto it, he is in the clear, but Allain makes a smothering stop. Real chance to seal the win.
81’ - SAVE! Brilliant from Patricio again to save his side. Hassan is unmarked as he climbs highest to meet a cross, he glances for goal, but Patricio springs across to make a super, super save.
- Wolves have won four consecutive home games in European competition without conceding a single goal for the first time in their history.
- Olympiakos have now lost 14 away ties against English sides in all European competitions; against no other nation’s sides have they lost more (level with Spain).
- Wolves' Raúl Jiménez has scored all eight of the penalties he has taken for the club in all competitions.
- No player has been directly involved in more goals across all competitions for Premier League clubs in 2019-20 than Wolves' Raúl Jiménez (37 - 27 goals, 10 assists; level with Kevin De Bruyne).
- Despite keeping a clean sheet, Wolves have faced more shots against Olympiakos (16) than they have in any other home game in 2019-20 (all competitions).