Pascal Gross’ late goal earned in-form Brighton a dramatic 3-2 win over 10-man Wolves in a thrilling game at Molineux.
Adam Lallana’s opener put Brighton ahead early on but Goncalo Guedes quickly leveled things and Wolves effectively led when Ruben Neves converted a penalty after Lewis Dunk’s handball. But the match turned at the end of the first half thanks to Kaoru Mitoma.
His header equalizer was quickly followed by a red card for Nelson Semedo which was foiled by Mitoma. Wolves, who confirmed Julen Lopetegui as next manager before kick-offfought hard in the second half, but their resistance was broken by Gross.
The three points put Roberto De Zerbi’s side above Graham Potter’s Chelsea and into the top six. Lopetegui, who will take over at Molineux on November 14, will have no doubts about the magnitude of his task. Wolves remain just one place down the Premier League table.
Wolves: Wolves: Sa (7), Semedo (3), Collins (6), Kilman (5), Bueno (6), B Traoré (7), Neves (7), Moutinho (5), Podence (6), Hwang ( 6), Guèdes (7).
Subtitles: Jonny (5), Traoré (6), Aït-Nouri (5), Ronan (n/a).
Brighton: Sanchez (7), Gross (8), Webster (6), Dunk (7), Estupinan (6), Caicedo (7), Mac Allister (7), March (6), Lallana (9), Mitoma (9) , Trossard (7).
Subtitles: Welbeck (6), Gilmour (6), Undav (6), Veltman (n/a).
Player of the game: Adam Lalana.
How Brighton beat Wolves
Brighton entered the game in good spirits after beating Chelsea last time out and that was reflected in the confidence of their game. They parted Wolves for the opener when Leandro Trossard slid the ball in for Lallana to finish ahead Jose Sa.
It could have seen Wolves wither, but they found the equalizer immediately when Guedes carried the ball all the way with a persistent run from the right before beating Robert Sanchez. It was his first goal for the club after his summer move from Valencia.
Unsurprisingly, Brighton remained unchanged after their impressive 4-1 win over Chelsea. Wolves made three changes, two of which were applied. Joao Moutinho replaced the injured Matheus Nunes, while Hwang Hee-chan replaced the suspended Diego Costa in attack. The other swap was Goncalo Guedes for Adama Traore.
Wolves looked a little scrappy but showed plenty of effort and were rewarded for their spirit when Lewis Dunk was tried for committing a handball offense by deflecting Daniel Podence’s cross. Neves converted on the spot after a lengthy VAR review.
A lesser team might have been shocked by how they ended up behind. Instead, Brighton continued to play superior football and equalized late in the first half when Mitoma got past Semedo after wonderful work from the persistent Lallana.
It was his first goal for Brighton but not the Japan international’s best game. It came immediately afterwards when his sublime first touch caught Semedo and the full-back resorted to shooting him just outside the box. It was clumsy. It was red.
The Seagulls had to show patience in the second half as Wolves defended fiercely while posing a threat on the counterattack by substitute Adama Traore who forced a fine save from Sanchez. But Gross finished high in the net to win it. Belief is powerful.
FPL stats: Wolves 2-3 Brighton
|Goals||Lallana, Guedes, Neves, Mitoma, Gross|
|Aids||Trossard, B Traore, Podence, Lallana|
|Bonus points||Lallana (3), Gross (2), Mitoma (1)|
Davis: Lopetegui must add quality
Speaking after the game, Wolves caretaker boss Steve Davis was delighted the side had scored two goals in a game for the first time in the Premier League this season, but criticized the defensive frailty that still plagued them once mined.
“Really disappointed with the three we conceded,” Davis said. “They could have been really avoided. Just soft. Really easy to score against. We should have won the game today.
“It was about whether they could maintain that level of focus [in the second half]. if you see the [winning] objective, we got shot, we just lacked composure. You need calm. You make better decisions with this mindset. We panic once in the box.
“You can see that at any time they could make a mistake.”
This raises the question of whether Lopetegui will be able to turn the tide. “He watches games, watches practices, he knows a lot of players anyway,” Davis added.
“I know some of his coaches are coming on Tuesday to introduce themselves to the staff and watch Wednesday’s game. He’s coming on Friday. I think he wants to talk to me and James. [Collins] on the players and get an idea of them.
“I think the club needs someone who can put their philosophy on it. I’m looking forward to seeing how they want to move these players around. There’s quality here but maybe there isn’t. no balance. If I was in his shoes, I would be looking to add quality.”
De Zerbi: My best game with Brighton
“I think if you want to talk about the style of play, this match was the best of my experience here at Brighton,” said De Zerbi. Better than the 4-1 victory against Chelsea? “In terms of quality of play, for sure,” added the Italian.
“In terms of the quality of play, the quality of construction and having plenty of chances to score. I’m lucky because I have very smart players, very good players, very good guys, because understanding my idea is not very simple in the first moment.”
With Brighton flying high in sixth, can they stay there? “I don’t know, but we definitely have to try. For us, for our club and our fans. We have to set our goals high and play with the attitude that we can achieve, but I don’t know the future.”
The game in stats
- Brighton won back-to-back league away games against Wolves for the first time since their first six visits to Molineux between 1979 and 1991.
- Wolves have won just two of their last 21 Premier League games, despite scoring two goals in a single Premier League game for the first time in 17 appearances.
- No Wolves player has scored more penalties in the Premier League than Ruben Neves, with the midfielder scoring all seven penalties he has taken in the competition (Raul Jimenez has also netted seven in seven).
- Wolves’ Goncalo Guedes scored his first-ever Premier League goal, in his 11th appearance. Indeed, Guedes became the 10th different Portuguese player to score for Wolves in the Premier League – twice as many as any other side.
- Adam Lallana has scored just his second Premier League goal for Brighton and the first since March 2021 against Leicester City – a year and 244 days ago. Indeed, Lallana has both scored and assisted in a single Premier League game for the first time since December 2016 against Middlesbrough.
Saturday, November 12, 7:30 p.m.
Kick off 7:45 p.m.
wolves end his pre-World Cup campaign with two home matches. They first host Leeds in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m., then they host Arsenal Saturday 12 November in the Premier League, live on sky sports. Kick-off is at 7:45 p.m.
Brighton travel to Arsenal Wednesday for the third round of the Carabao Cup; kick off 7:45 p.m. The Seagulls’ last game before the World Cup is against AstonVilla Sunday November 13 at 2 p.m., live on Sky Sports.
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