Bestiktas 0 Wolves 1 (Boly 90)
Wolves secured a historic first Europa League group stage win with a dramatic, last-gasp strike from Willy Boly.
The giant centre back produced a striker’s finish from Ruben Neves’s superb pass in the third minute of time added on for the only goal of the game at Vodafone Park.
The memorable strike continued Wolves’ 100 per cent record on their travels in Europe this season with their fourth straight away victory.
It also extended their recent resurgence with their third consecutive win in three different competitions including the penalty shootout success against Reading, and their second clean sheet in a row.
Victory will go down as a tactical success for head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, who was content for his team to sit deep and soak up any pressure from the Turkish hosts at the hostile arena against a team seemingly there for the taking after conceding 12 goals in their previous four outings and lying third from bottom.
Wolves got their first three points in Group K following their 1-0 home defeat to Sporting Club Braga, who remain unbeaten and level on points but below Braga after they drew 2-2.
A dour and at times cynical game looked to be heading for stalemate until Boly struck, but Wolves had been growing in confidence and had created chances to win the game.
Romain Saiss saw what seemed like a perfectly good effort ruled out for offside late on, after Joao Moutinho set up headers for Raul Jimenez and Boly earlier in the game, while Domagoj Vida went close on two occasions for Besiktas.
Boss Nuno Espirito Santo made two changes to the side that beat Watford 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Ruben Neves and Morgan Gibbs-White returned to the starting line-up as Leander Dendoncker and Adama Traore moved to the bench.
Hostile was the watchword as every touch of the ball by Wolves – wearing black shirts and gold shorts – was ‘greeted’ by whistles.
Chances were few and far early on and when it came, the first effort was from the hosts, Guven Yalcin’s 25 yarder flying over the bar.
Pedro Neto had Wolves’ only sniff of goal during the opening period and his deflected low cross was gathered by on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius.
Caner Erkin, who replaced Georges-Kevin Nkoudou before kick-off, was clearly looking to make an impression but he could only volley wildly off target when his chance came.
Besiktas did step things up with a serious chance before half-time however.
Jimenez diverted the ball against his own post from a corner, before Dorukhan Tokoz’s follow-up was deflected and flew over the bar, then Rui Patricio foiled Umut Nayir just before the half-time whistle.
Nuno decided to switch thingss at the break, with Adama Traore introduced in place of Neto to change the angle of the Wolves attack.
Traore soon had an impact, winning the free kick from which Moutinho’s free kick was looped goalwards by the head of Jimenez, but the ball wouldn’t come down enough.
Boly was the next beneficiary of the Portuguese midfielder’s set-pieces and from his next delivery – a corner – Boly connected with a powerful header that flew over.
Wolves made another change with Leander Dendoncker coming on for Morgan Gibbs-White, which saw them revert to 3-5-2 from 3-4-3.
Wolves continued to improve and long-range drive from Saiss was met by a punch clear from Karius.
But the visitors had to remain on their guard and Vida glanced wide when he might have done better.
Patrick Cutrone, who came on for Jimenez in the 79th minute, immediately had the opportunity of putting Wolves in front but he curled his shot wide after cutting in from the left.
Then came Saiss’s moment when he slid the ball home from close in only for the referee’s assistant to rule out the joy.
But a feeling of elation for Wolves returned when Boly produced a composed finish from Neves’s incisive pass.
It sparked delirium among the 1,000 Wolves supporters who made the trip, but spelt more misery in European competition for Karius, who infamously made two huge errors in Liverpool’s 2018 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev, and made a shocking mistake in Besiktas’s first Europa League group game against Slovan Bratislava a fortnight ago, which they lost 4-2.
Besiktas: Karius, Douglas, Vida, Uysal, Rebocho, Elneny, Tokoz (Ozyakup 79), Ljajic, Lens (Gonul 84), Yalcin (Nayir 27), Erkin.
Unused subs: Yuvakuran, Roco, Hutchinson, Boyd.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Gibbs-White (Dendoncker 62), Neto (Traore 46), Jimenez (Cutrone 79).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Vallejo, Bennett, Vinagre.
Referee: Harald Lechner (Aut).