Illan Meslier’s unfortunate own goal following Adama Traore’s sensational strike gave Wolverhampton Wanderers victory against Leeds in an entertaining Premier League encounter.
There was little to separate the sides before Traore hit a thunderous effort from distance just after the hour and the ball hit the crossbar before rebounding off the back of Meslier’s head into the Leeds goal.
The visitors had gone close to scoring themselves just moments earlier when Rui Patricio denied Liam Cooper’s header from point-blank range before the follow-up by Patrick Bamford was scrambled clear.
Bamford also thought he had snatched an equaliser late on as he powered through on goal before finishing brilliantly but he was flagged just offside, before ex-Wolves winger Helder Costa spurned a glorious chance in the final minute but shot straight at Patricio.
Victory for Wolves moved them above Leeds into 11th place and continued their resurgence following a dip in form. They have now won three of their past four games in the Premier League.
Defeat for Leeds, meanwhile, was their second in succession having lost 4-2 to Arsenal last time out, but this was a much more even encounter and they were unlucky in the manner of the goal they conceded and to have not scored themselves.
Wolves turning the tide after poor run
This has arguably been Wolves’ most difficult season since their return to the top flight in 2018, having had to deal with the absence of key forward Raul Jimenez through injury for much of the campaign as well as a loss of form.
A run of eight Premier League games without a win had seen them drop away from the top six into the bottom half of the table, but that poor run was halted by a victory against Arsenal at the start of February and they have not lost since.
Against Leeds they looked back to their attacking best, with the excellent Pedro Neto impressing once more.
The 20-year-old Portugal international has stepped up in Jimenez’s absence with five goals and four assists, and he was unfortunate not to be on the scoresheet.
Neto was at his best in the first half as he had several shots on goal, notably drawing a fingertip save out of Meslier.
With Wolves back in form and confidence high, Neto in particular could flourish further as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have their eye on finishing in the European places again.
Leeds feeling Phillips’ absence
Leeds are having to deal with a sizeable injury list but the absence of Kalvin Phillips is proving a particularly big blow.
With him in the side this season they have had a 50% win rate but that drops to just 17% without him and his absence was felt against Wolves.
Leeds’ swashbuckling attacking style will create chances – as it did against Wolves and they were unfortunate not to have taken a point as they rallied late on – but without Phillips they struggle to control the midfield.
The visitors gave the ball away in the centre of the pitch far too often in the first half and could have been punished before the unfortunate own goal.
With 32 points from 24 games, Leeds are well on the way to cementing Premier League football next season, but one of their priorities this summer will surely be finding adequate cover for Phillips.
More to follow.
- 11Rui Patrício
- 22Nélson Semedo
- 28João Moutinho
- 19Castro OttoSubstituted forMarçalat 60′minutesSubstituted forAït-Nouriat 82′minutes
- 7NetoBooked at 90mins
- 12Da SilvaSubstituted forFábio Silvaat 87′minutes
- 17Fábio Silva
- 46ShackletonSubstituted forHernándezat 66′minutes
- 43KlichSubstituted forAlioskiat 81′minutes
- 22HarrisonSubstituted forHélder Costaat 81′minutes
- 17Hélder Costa
Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Leeds United 0.
Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Leeds United 0.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Rui Patrício.
Attempt missed. Raphinha (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Luke Ayling with a headed pass.
Attempt saved. Hélder Costa (Leeds United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Pascal Struijk.
Attempt blocked. Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski.
Foul by Luke Ayling (Leeds United).
Rayan Aït-Nouri (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Fábio Silva replaces Willian José.
Foul by Pascal Struijk (Leeds United).
Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Leander Dendoncker.
Attempt missed. João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Willian José.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rayan Aït-Nouri replaces Marçal because of an injury.
Substitution, Leeds United. Hélder Costa replaces Jack Harrison.
Substitution, Leeds United. Ezgjan Alioski replaces Mateusz Klich.
Foul by Mateusz Klich (Leeds United).