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Wolves beat Fulham to boost European hopes

Wolves beat Fulham to boost European hopes

Rayan Ait-Nouri celebrates scoring opening goal for Wolves against Fulham
Rayan Ait-Nouri scored his first goal since Boxing Day 2022 against Everton

Wolves gave their hopes of playing European football next season a boost as they beat Fulham to move up to eighth in the Premier League.

Rayan Ait-Nouri opened the scoring early in the second half, converting from Toti Gomes’ pull back after Fulham failed to deal adequately with a free-kick from deep.

There was more than a hint of good fortune about the second as Nelson Semedo’s shot took a big deflection off Tom Cairney to leave Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno helpless.

Alex Iwobi pulled one back deep into stoppage time with a clever improvised finish but there was barely time for the game to restart as Wolves held on.

The win for Gary O’Neil’s was all the more impressive given they lost both Jean-Ricner Bellegarde and Pedro Neto to injury in the first half.

Meanwhile, Fulham were left to rue missed opportunities having dominated the first half with Harry Wilson firing wide with only the goalkeeper to beat and Tosin Adarabioyo thumping a shot against the bar when left unmarked, eight yards out.

Wolves were a changed side after the break, quickly putting Marco Silva’s side under pressure with an aggressive high press, led by the impressive Mario Lemina.

They were able to ease off slightly after going two ahead and although they managed to keep the visitors quiet for the most part, Jose Sa was forced to make a smart save to deny Joao Palhinha before Max Kilman headed Rodrigo Muniz’s follow-up effort off the line.

Former Wolves winger Adama Traore also had a fierce shot repelled by Sa as Fulham’s poor record at Molineux continues.

Iwobi’s goal was their first in five visits to the ground and you have to go back to March 1985 for their last win at Wolves, a run of 18 games in league and cup.

Injuries stacking up but Wolves fight on

With forwards Hwang Hee-chan and Matheus Cunha already out and centre-back Craig Dawson also missing with a groin issue, the last thing Wolves needed was more injuries.

Losing Bellegarde inside the first 10 minutes was a blow but they have become a resilient side under O’Neil so hope remained.

But when star man Neto pulled up sprinting to get to the byeline shortly before half-time, it would have been understandable if that hope had started to fade.

Fulham had enjoyed much the better of the first 45 minutes and with Neto gone, so too, it seemed, was their main attacking threat.

However, the hosts came out with renewed vigour in the second half, snapping into tackles to make life difficult for Fulham and were rewarded with Ait-Nouri’s goal.

Confidence was up and Joao Gomes did brilliantly to tee up Semedo with a back flick for the second, which ultimately went down as a Cairney own goal.

There was the odd scare as Fulham pushed to get back into the game but Wolves largely defended solidly as they claimed a victory that was fully deserved on the back of their second-half showing.

O’Neil and his side have an FA Cup quarter-final at home to Coventry next weekend and will be hoping their injury issues have cleared up before they are next in league action, against Aston Villa on 30 March.

Missed opportunity for Fulham

After back-to-back Premier League wins against Manchester United and Brighton, Fulham had a glorious opportunity to make it three in row for the first time this season.

They looked the form side in the first 45 minutes, restricting Wolves to just one shot while creating a number of good chances.

Coming out at the start of the second half, they would have expected to continue in the same vein – but instead, a sloppy first five minutes changed the momentum of the game completely.

Wolves were able to win possession back in the Fulham half a number of times in quick succession and that is what led to the first goal.

The visitors did respond well to going 2-0 down and had they pulled one back sooner, they might have been able to get something from the game.

However, they lacked ruthlessness in front of goal again. Over the 90 minutes, they created four clear-cut chances but by the time they took one, it was too late.

While many others are in cup action next weekend, Fulham can look to make progress in the league against Tottenham at Craven Cottage.

Player of the match

Aït-NouriRayan Aït-Nouri

with an average of 8.19

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number3Player nameAït-Nouri

  2. Squad number5Player nameLemina

  3. Squad number23Player nameKilman

  4. Squad number8Player nameJoão Gomes

  5. Squad number20Player nameDoyle

  6. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

  7. Squad number24Player nameToti

  8. Squad number2Player nameDoherty

  9. Squad number21Player nameSarabia

  10. Squad number63Player nameFraser

  11. Squad number1Player nameJosé Sá

  12. Squad number4Player nameBueno

  13. Squad number7Player namePedro Neto

  14. Squad number27Player nameBellegarde

  1. Squad number19Player nameRodrigo Muniz

  2. Squad number8Player nameWilson

  3. Squad number3Player nameBassey

  4. Squad number22Player nameIwobi

  5. Squad number33Player nameRobinson

  6. Squad number17Player nameLeno

  7. Squad number11Player nameTraoré

  8. Squad number9Player nameBroja

  9. Squad number21Player nameCastagne

  10. Squad number28Player nameLukic

  11. Squad number4Player nameTosin

  12. Squad number20Player nameWillian

  13. Squad number18Player nameAndreas Pereira

  14. Squad number6Player nameReed

  15. Squad number10Player nameCairney

  16. Squad number26Player nameJoão Palhinha



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1
  • 22Nélson SemedoBooked at 45mins
  • 4BuenoBooked at 57mins
  • 23Kilman
  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 8João Gomes
  • 5Lemina
  • 21Sarabia
  • 27BellegardeSubstituted forDoyleat 11′minutes
  • 7NetoSubstituted forGomesat 45+1′minutes
  • 63FraserSubstituted forDohertyat 77′minutes


  • 2Doherty
  • 6Traoré
  • 14Lemina
  • 17Bueno
  • 20Doyle
  • 24Gomes
  • 25Bentley
  • 62Chirewa
  • 84Chiwome


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 17Leno
  • 21CastagneSubstituted forBrojaat 80′minutes
  • 4Tosin
  • 3Bassey
  • 33Robinson
  • 6ReedBooked at 51minsSubstituted forCairneyat 61′minutes
  • 28LukicSubstituted forJoão Palhinhaat 70′minutesBooked at 72mins
  • 8WilsonSubstituted forTraoréat 70′minutes
  • 18PereiraSubstituted forWillianat 62′minutes
  • 22Iwobi
  • 19Muniz Carvalho


  • 1Rodák
  • 2Tete
  • 9Broja
  • 10Cairney
  • 11Traoré
  • 13Ream
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 20Willian
  • 26João Palhinha

Tony Harrington


Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Fulham 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Fulham 1.

  3. Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Fulham 1. Alex Iwobi (Fulham) right footed shot from very close range to the top left corner. Assisted by Armando Broja.

  4. Foul by Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham).

  5. Maximilian Kilman (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Attempt missed. Mario Lemina (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Rayan Aït-Nouri.

  7. Attempt blocked. Willian (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  8. Attempt missed. João Palhinha (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Adama Traoré with a cross.

  9. Attempt missed. Tommy Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by João Gomes.

  10. Foul by Antonee Robinson (Fulham).

  11. Rayan Aït-Nouri (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  13. Delay in match because of an injury José Sá (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  14. Attempt missed. Adama Traoré (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high following a corner.

  15. Attempt missed. Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Willian with a cross following a corner.

  16. Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Santiago Bueno.

  17. Attempt blocked. Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Iwobi with a cross.

  18. Attempt saved. Rayan Aït-Nouri (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Tommy Doyle.

  19. Foul by Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham).

  20. Mario Lemina (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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