Torino 2 (De Silvestri 61, Belotti 89) Wolves 3 (Saiss 43, Jota 59, Jimenez 72)
Wolves treated their fans to one of their most memorable nights in Europe after beating Torino 3-2 away to move within 90 minutes of the Europa League group stages.
Romain Saiss, Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez netted what could prove crucial away goals in the play-off first leg in Turin before the return at Molineux next Thursday, but a last-minute penalty kept the tie more than alive for the Italians.
A superb free kick from Joao Moutinho was glanced into his own net by Brazilian defender Bremer to put Nuno Espirito Santo’s side ahead, before Jota doubled the visitors’ lead just before the hour as they responded to a step up in class of opposition after the ties against Crusaders and FC Pyunik. Torino halved the deficit courtesy of Lorenzo De Silvestri but Wolves restored their two-goal cushion from a superb individual effort from Jimenez – for his fifth goal in Europe this summer – only for the Serie A outfit to grab a lifeline via the spot from Andrea Belotti’s penalty. But Wolves fans will be confident they can edge the return after such a positive performance on their travels against quality opposition.
Nuno made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Manchester United on Monday night as Jesus Vallejo, Adama Traore, Saiss and Ruben Vinagre replaced Ryan Bennett, Matt Doherty, Ruben Neves and Jonny Castro Otto. And it was Traore who looked to repeat his penetrating display against United with an early break. The Spanish speedster surged down the right before pulling the ball back for Jota, whose drilled effort was blocked by Salvatore Sirigu.
Wolves knew they were in a more difficult tie and they had an escape in the 20th minute when were grateful when Nicolas Nkoulou’s header from Armando Izzo’s centre bounced off the top of the bar and away. But it was another set-piece that could have led to the visitors taking the lead. Leander Dendoncker headed Moutinho’s excellent delivery into the ground and wide of the post in Wolves’ first big opening.
Approaching half-time, Torino had the chance to take the lead themselves, when defender Izzo’s header was saved by Patricio. Wolves responded by breaking the deadlock from their own free kick. Moutinho’s curling delivery jnitially looked as if it was met by a looping header from Romain Saiss which dropped into the far corner of the net, but it later was credited as Bremer’s.
Nuno’s side looked to continue where they left off after the interval and Willy Boly’s bullet header from yet another free kick from Moutinho flew off target as Wolves sought a second goal. Traore was being targeted for his pace and Cristian Ansaldi and Alex Berenguer were both booked for crude fouls on the Spaniard. But it didn’t deter him and he did superbly to set up Jota with a run that took him this way then that before composing himself to pick out the Portuguese forward for a simple finish from close range.
Wolves’ celebrations had barely died down however than their lead was cut. De Silvestri glanced home after finding himself unmarked at the far post. As the game opened up, there were chances coming at both ends and Jimenez saw a left-footed chance blocked as he was closed down.
But there was much better to come from the club record £32.6m signing as he scored a truly memorable goal, jinking his way through the Torino defence before slotting home after referee Artur Dias played the advantage when substitute Pedro Neto had been fouled.
That appeared to be that, but Torino had other ideas and gave themselves a real lifeline for the second leg from the spot. Ruben Vinagre tripped Belotti and the striker picked himself up to score the penalty to narrow the gap.
Torino: Sirigu, Izzo, Baselli, Belotti, Zaza, Ansaldi (Aina 71), Berenguer (Lukic 59), Meite (Rincon 64), De Silvestri, Nkoulou, Bremer.
Unused subs: Rosati, Bonifazi, Millico, Djidji.
Wolves: Patricio; Vallejo, Coady, Boly; Traore (Jonny 64), Saiss, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Vinagre; Jota (Neto 69), Jimenez (Cutrone 76).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Bennett, Neves, Gibbs-White.