Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Wolves: Nuno´s 10 men hold on after second-half turnaround

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 24 Oct 2019

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Wolves scored twice in the space of little over five minutes to come from behind and claim a 2-1 win at Slovan Bratislava in Europa League Group K.

The Premier League side appeared set for a damaging defeat after a disappointing first-half display that saw Andraz Sporar put Slovan ahead at Tehelne Pole, which was filled predominantly with children allowed to enter the stadium despite the Slovak club having been ordered to play the match behind closed doors as punishment for racist behaviour.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men failed to take their chances to equalise and looked shaky at the back, but they were gifted a leveller 13 minutes into the second half as Slovan keeper Dominik Greif failed to handle a speculative effort from Romain Saiss.

Raul Jimenez then capped a rapid fightback with a goal from the spot, with Wolves holding firm for all three points despite Diogo Jota’s late red card.

Wolves move on to six points, one behind group leaders Sporting Braga, who beat Besiktas. They are two points ahead of third-placed Slovan after three games.

A wonderful piece of play from midfielder Rabiu led to the first real chance of the game and the opening goal, his throughball with the outside of the boot perfectly weighted for Sporar to run onto and sneak a low effort inside Rui Patricio’s near post.

Wolves responded well and Morgan Gibbs-White bent an ambitious long-range effort wide before Ruben Vinagre saw his effort from a tight angle saved by Greif.

Willy Boly wasted Wolves’ best chance of the first half when he headed Joao Moutinho’s free-kick wide from close range and the visitors were grateful to Patricio for ensuring their profligacy was not punished.

Patricio produced a fine two-handed stop to prevent Sporar from doubling his tally with a powerful 53rd-minute strike and, five minutes later, Wolves were level as Greif somehow failed to keep out Saiss’ low long-range drive despite getting a hand to it.

Slovan were architects of their own downfall and Wolves’ turnaround was complete when Vernon was adjudged to have shoved Jimenez in the back.

Jimenez coolly slid home from the spot and Wolves largely dictated matters from there, though they remained vulnerable on the counter, with Patricio needed to smother a Sporar effort after a Slovan break.

Jota received two yellows in the space of a minute and was dismissed for a foul on Vasil Bozhikov with three minutes of normal time left, but Slovan found no way through for a late equaliser despite the extra man.

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