“They’re not showing this game in the U.S. so I’m unable to watch it,” says J.R. in Illinois, “but that’s okay because it has given me the afternoon to ponder Eric Cantona’s speech at the Champions League draw earlier today.”
It was so good. He could not give a solitary sardine about all that ceremonial nonsense.
Half time: Wolves 1-0 Torino (agg: 4-2)
Typical Wolves. They’ve had less of the ball, more of the chances and deservedly lead through Raul Jimenez’s smart finish. Unless they concede at least three goals in the second half, they will be in tomorrow’s Europa League draw.
45 min Jonny is booked for offending the referee’s sensibilities.
44 min Coady, under a lot of pressure from Zaza, does really well to head away a superb cross from De Silvestri. Wolves are so well organised defensively.
41 min The match is getting a little physical. Torino are starting to look hacked off with life, Rincon in particular.
37 min: A chance for Zaza! It came from a fine right-wing cross by De Silvestri. Zaza towered over Coady, eight yards from goal, but planted his header too close to Rui Patricio, who plunged to his left to make a comfortable save.
35 min For all Torino’s possession, Wolves have been very comfortable defensively and have created the clearer chances on the break.
33 min “Traore was memorably described last season as a ‘Porsche with a learner driver at the wheel’,” says Pete. “But tonight he looks like a Lamborghini with Lewis Hamilton in the driver’s seat!”
32 min Torino need three goals or they will be parachuted into the Do One Cup.
It was made by the excellent Traore, who ran Aina, came back onto his left foot and curled a low a cross towards the near post. Jimenez got between Bonifazi and Bremer to sweep a deft volley past Sirigu from six yards.
GOAL! Wolves 1-0 Torino (Raul Jimenez 30)
Raul Jimenez gets his sixth goal in this season’s Europa League. It’s bloody August.
28 min A corner is cleared to Baselli, 30 yards from goal. He knows he shouldn’t shoot, deep down he knows it’s a bad idea, but he can’t resist. Goalkick to Wolves.
26 min After a slow start, Wolves are starting to look really dangerous on the counter-attack. Jota and Dendoncker combine to find Jonny, whose lofted cross is headed away. Moments later, the crowd appeal for handball after a ricochet in the Torino area. I don’t think there was anything in it.
25 min That was an awesome turn of speed from Traore. He didn’t need to do anything fancy, just roar past anyone who was in his way.
24 min: What a run from Traore! After some neat one-touch play around the halfway line, Traore surged exhilaratingly through the inside-right channel. He scorched past the last man Bremer and into the area before whacking a low shot that was excellently saved by Sirigu.
23 min Saiss plays a terrible pass from inside his own area that goes straight to Lukic on the left wing. He is saved by Coady, who stoops to head the resulting cross away.
19 min A defensive header from Vallejo (I think) drops invitingly for Rincon, who hooks a volley wide of goal from 23 yards.
18 min It’s still all Torino. They haven’t created much, just a half chance from that Baselli free-kick, but it’s been a confident start nonetheless.
16 min Lukic teases Vallejo on the left, moves the ball back onto his right foot … and wafts a cross straight out of play for a goalkick.
13 min Torino are dominating possession. That won’t particularly bother Wolves, who are happiest playing on the counter-attack, but things will get very nervy if Torino get the first goal.
12 min Jimenez is fouled 30 yards from goal, slightly to the right of centre. Saiss’s free-kick hits the top of the wall and is eventually cleared.
11 min “Wolves are not in gold, they are in orange,” says David Dein, throwing some shade my way. “Propose to someone with a ring that colour and you’re more likely to get a slap then a yes.”
If you ask me, I’d say the jersey is more of a ‘dark gold’, and that the kit is the first featuring the club’s new sponsor ManbetX, while CoinDeal remain sleeve sponsors for another campaign in the top tier of English football.
10 min Torino are starting to look dangerous. Baselli’s dipping, inswinging free-kick from the left is headed on by De Silvestri and just evades the unmarked Belotti beyond the far post.
8 min “Nice to see Nuno putting faith in Jesus to break up the back three hegemony of Coady-Boly-Bennett,” says Phil Russell. “Bennett defied all expectations in getting through last season without being too exposed but is the weakest link of the 3, especially when it comes to pace. Playing both yellow-card magnet Saiss and Dendoncker in midfield is more negative and I wonder if Nuno is looking to shield the defence with effectively a 1.5 goal cushion and try and hit on the break. Thought Gibbs-White or Neto would’ve got a start. Might be a cagey first 45 that comes to life after the break.”
7 min Aina goes on a jaunty run infield before hitting a weak shot from 25 yards that takes a slight deflection and goes behind for a corner.
5 min “Sitting just a half a mile from Molineux and with a salmon sandwich in hand, I predict a 2-2 draw tonight and an aggregate win,” says Pete. “But why is Neves on the bench again? Pop over for a Horlicks if you get cold.”
I’m sure Neves would have started if you were behind in the tie. Nuno will have to take some risks with rotation this season, certainly if you reach the group stage.
4 min A clipped cross from Diogo Jota just evades Ji-MEN-ez at the near post, after which there’s a break in play while Izzo receives treatment. He’s unhappy with one of the Wolves players, Jonny I think.
2 min “Meanwhile, Celtic are winning in Sweden,” says Alec McAulay. “You know, Celtic – from Glasgow; Glasgow, you know – in Scotland; Scotland, you know – near the Lake District.”
I do know; I live there.
1 min Peep peep! Torino, in their familiar burgundy kit, get the match underway. Wolves are in gold.
“Can I use your stage to get something off my chest?” says Simon Frank. “The Wolves striker is called Raul Ji-MEN-ez, emphasis on the second syllable. Not JIM-enez. Ditto Martinez. Ditto every bloody Spanish name ending in –ez. It’s my mission to erase this mistake from every football podcast out there. Except Nessun Dorma – they’d never make such a basic error.”
To be fair, we struggle to pronounce Steve Bull’s name correctly.
“Hi Rob,” says Phil Grey. “It’s actually 4,679,216,614,909,999,999,532 matches. You’re forgetting the 1991 European Cup final between Red Star and Marseille.”
I paid a lot of money to Lacuna, Inc. to have that game erased from my memory.
Wolves (3-5-2) Rui Patricio; Vallejo, Coady, Boly; Traore, Dendoncker, Joao Moutinho, Saiss, Jonny; Jimenez, Diogo Jota.
Substitutes: Ruddy, Bennett, Pedro Neto, Ruben Neves, Cutrone, Gibbs-White, Ruben Vinagre.
Torino (3-5-2) Sirigu; Izzo, Bremer, Bonifazi; De Silvestri, Baselli, Rincon, Lukic, Aina; Zaza, Belotti.
Substitutes: Rosati, Singo, Berenguer, Millico, Meite, Parigini, Djidji
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain).
Hello. Molineux is where European football started, with the famous match between Wolves and Honved in 1954. Sixty-five years and 4,679,216,614,909,999,999,531 matches later, it’s great to have Wolves back. This is their first season in Europe since 1980-81; and unlike many English clubs, they see the Europa League as an opportunity rather than a hassle.
Nuno Espirito Santo knows that cups = glory. And if the atmosphere during the match against Manchester United 10 days ago is anything to go by, there are going to be some barnstorming European nights at Molineux this season. First they need to finish the job they started so impressively when they won 3-2 away to Torino a week ago. If they do that, they will join Arsenal and Manchester United’s in tomorrow’s draw for the group stage.
Kick off is at 7.45pm.