Wolves 1-0 Middlesbrough: Championship Favourites Beaten by Resilient Wolves at Molineux

Saturday August 5th, 2017

A first half goal from new signing Leo Bonatini was enough to see Wolves claim a win on the opening day of the Championship against recently relegated Middlesbrough.

In a game that could easily have had three or four more goals, the away team will be especially disappointed with the loss, with new signing Britt Assombalonga missing two chances that he would normally convert.

The first 15 minutes were uneventful, but the new look Wolves team were very energetic early on, pressing Middlesbrough at every opportunity and making sure that Boro' didn't have the chance to control the game.

Nuno Espirito Santo's managerial influence at Wolves was clear to see from the first whistle, with the brand of football at the Molineux now looking to be more focused on keeping the ball and playing in a much more positive way than the past few seasons. In the 21st minute, Wolves had their first half chance of the game, with the ball falling to new signing Ruben Neves, but the Portuguese midfielder could not hit the target from the edge of the box. 

The deadlock was broken in the 33rd, when Wolves striker Leo Bonatini pounced on a misplaced pass from Daniel Ayala and side footing the ball past Boro' Goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

New Middlesbrough signing Martin Braithwaite had a great chance to level the game up in the 45th minute, but the Danish forward couldn't hit the target with a header from six yards out after a great delivery from Boro' right back Cyrus Christie, and Wolves went into the half time break with a deserved 1-0 lead.

 

The second half didn't take long to produce a chance, with Wolves striker Bright Enobakhare managing to break into the opposition box and managing to poke an effort towards goal, but Darren Randolph was able to get down and make a solid save. 

The next 25 minutes were dominated by the away team, with new man Britt Asombalonga having two great chances. The first one in very controversial fashion, with huge appeals for a handball by Wolves Goalkeeper John Ruddy, who raced out towards Assombalonga to clear a through ball.

The second chance came minutes later when Assombalonga was given another big chance, but the Boro keeper' was again thwarted by a good save from Ruddy.

The last 10 minutes saw Wolves switching to a 5-3-2 formation and attempting to hold on to their slender lead.

And hold on they did, despite an extended period of Middlesbrough pressure, Wolves managed to secure the three points in Nuno Espirito Santo's first competitive game as manager. 

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