Raul Jimenez scored twice as Wolves cruised to a 4-0 win over Pyunik in the first leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier at the Republican Stadium.
Nuno Espirito Santo was rewarded for naming a strong starting line-up for Thursday’s match – Wolves’ first European tie outside of the United Kingdom since 1980 – as Jimenez made it back-to-back braces after starring against Crusaders in the previous round.
The Mexico striker added to his early-season goals tally with strikes either side of half-time in Armenia after Matt Doherty had opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark.
Wolves, who faced a 6,370-mile journey home ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener against Leicester City, gave themselves further breathing space ahead of next week’s return leg with Pyunik thanks to Ruben Neves’ late penalty.
A convincing win in Armenia! pic.twitter.com/67Nql92b6n
— Wolves (@Wolves) August 8, 2019
Doherty was considered a fitness doubt ahead of the game but he was used from the off and made the breakthrough with a composed finish past Andrija Dragojevic after being slipped in by Diogo Jota.
Jota fired over from a good position shortly after, though he bagged the second of his three assists by squaring to Jimenez, who fired into the roof of the net three minutes before the interval.
The third goal arrived 35 seconds into the second half as Jimenez latched on to Jota’s pass and made no mistake when one-on-one with Dragojevic.
Jimenez was denied a third by a clearance off the line, but the visitors added a fourth goal in added time as debutant substitute Patrick Cutrone was felled in the box, allowing Neves to convert from the penalty spot.
Wolves will play the winner of the tie between Serie A side Torino and Shakhtyor of Belarus in the play-off round.
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