Wolves struck an opening-day blow against a prospective promotion rival in the Championship by beating Middlesbrough 1-0 at Molineux.
Super-agent Jorge Mendes had a huge influence over Wolves’ pre-season recruitment and it was one of the new arrivals, Leo Bonatini, who scored decisively.
Bristol City turned in a destructive performance in the opening half hour before seeing off Barnsley 3-1, while last season’s defeated play-off finalists Reading began the new campaign in forgettable fashion.
GOLDEN START FOR WOLVES
Middlesbrough are under new management with former Swansea City and Leeds United boss Garry Monk at the helm and seeking an instant return to the Premier League, while Wolves made highly touted Porto midfielder Ruben Neves the most expensive player in Championship history.
Middlesbrough’s own big-money buy, striker Britt Assombalonga, was kept at bay by a Wolves defence marshalled by former England goalkeeper John Ruddy, meaning a debut goal from Bonatini sealed the points for Nuno’s side.
The Brazilian forward benefitted from a dreadful error by Boro defender Daniel Ayala to slot home in the 33rd minute.
Number 33 scores in the 33rd minute of his Wolves debut. Welcome to Molineux, @BonatiniOficial.
— Wolves (@Wolves) August 5, 2017
ROBINS GO TOP – REID ALL ABOUT IT
Bristol City are top of the embryonic table, with Bobby Reid grabbing a first-half brace in a 3-1 triumph against Barnsley.
Famara Diedhiou, a record signing from Angers, was also on target before Reid completed his double with half an hour played. Ryan Hedges hit a late consolation for the Tykes
— Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) August 5, 2017
There was better news for another South Yorkshire side as Sheffield United marked their return to the second tier with a 1-0 win over Brentford – local hero Billy Sharp bringing Bramall Lane to its feet six minutes before the interval.
PLAY-OFF HANGOVER FOR WEDNESDAY, READING AND FULHAM
United’s city rivals Sheffield Wednesday made a false start in 2017-18 having reached the play-offs in each of the past two seasons.
Daniel Johnson converted a 79th-minute penalty to give Preston North End a 1-0 win at Deepdale after Owls defender Tom Lees brought down Jordan Hugill in the box.
Reading suffered penalty heartache against Huddersfield Town at Wembley in May and QPR caught them off guard, chalking up a 2-0 triumph at Loftus Road.
— QPR FC (@QPRFC) August 5, 2017
Conor Washington scored a goal in each half for the hosts, the latter from the penalty spot after Royals defender Tiago Ilori was sent off for fouling Pawel Wszolek.
Fulham were Reading’s semi-final victims in the post-season and appeared to be on their way to victory after Norwich City’s Russell Martin put through his own goal.
Neeskens Kebano hit the post for Slavisa Jokanovic’s men – a miss they would rue as substitute Nelson Oliveira equalised for Norwich late on.
Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham City were beaten 1-0 at Ipswich Town, while Cardiff City triumphed by the same margin at Burton Albion.
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