Europa League - Group K
Wolves0Sporting Braga1

Wolves 0-1 Sporting Braga: Hosts beaten in Europa League opener

Europa League
Ricardo Horta (right) scored four goals in Europa League qualifying for Braga

Wolves' first appearance in the main stage of a European competition since 1980 ended in defeat as they lost 1-0 to Sporting Braga in their Europa League Group K opener at Molineux.

The visitors struck in the second half through Ricardo Horta's fierce effort.

Leander Dendoncker had Wolves' best chance but his close-range effort early in the second half was saved.

The defeat was Wolves' third in succession after Premier League losses against Everton and Chelsea.

The hosts had been the better side in the first half, with Patrick Cutrone a particular menace and the Italian should have done better with a low strike that flew wide of the far post.

Sporting Braga had rarely threatened up to that point with their only shot on target in the first 70 minutes a tame Paulinho effort.

But the Portuguese side, who reached the final of the competition in 2010-11, took full advantage of a defensive mistake when Ryan Bennett's hit a sloppy pass straight at Wenderson Galeno and the forward charged towards goal before squaring a ball for Horta to finish.

Wolves threw everything at the Braga defence in the final few minutes to try and rescue a draw but were unable to find an equaliser, with Raul Jimenez flicking a header wide of goal in the final minute of stoppage time.

Wolves fall just short on historic occasion

There was a real sense of occasion before kick off as Wolves fans gathered at Molineux to witness their side play in a major European competition for the first time since the 1980-81 Uefa Cup, with kick-off preceded by a dazzling light show.

Initially, the game itself failed to live up to the glitzy opening with Wolves looking nervous, perhaps still licking their wounds following the 5-2 defeat at Chelsea last time out.

As the game wore on they grew in confidence but promising attacks often ended in disappointment with decision-making in the final third letting them down.

Wolves' impressive seventh-place finish on their return to the Premier League last season was built on a high-tempo style of football, with quick, incisive passing and clinical finishing - but those characteristics have only been seen in glimpses in this campaign and it was more of the same in this game.

Including the six Europa League qualifiers, this was Wolves' 12th game of the season - many of their domestic rivals have only played half that. The challenges of fighting on numerous fronts appears to be proving a difficult balancing act for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

Defensive frailties come to the fore again

Ryan Bennett
Ryan Bennett returned to the Wolves side after missing the 5-2 defeat at Chelsea

Wolves boasted one of the best defences in the Premier League last season, conceding just 46 goals - a record only bettered by Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool.

However, defending has been a particular issues for Nuno's side this term, particularly in recent games with 10 goals conceded in their first five games with eight of those coming in their last two fixtures.

In an effort to tighten things up at the back, Nuno reverted to his tried and tested back three of Ryan Bennett, Conor Coady and Willy Boly and in the main they did well to limit Braga to few chances.

But in the end it was another defensive error that proved costly, with Bennett punished for a sloppy pass. Frailty at the back is something Nuno will have to resolve soon if Wolves are to improve.

Man of the match - Patrick Cutrone

Patrick Cutrone
Cutrone's performance - particularly in the first half - was a big positive for Wolves with the 21-year-old a lively presence and unlucky not to be on the scoresheet

A rare home blank for Wolves - the stats

  • Wolves have lost three consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since November 2018. It's the first time they've failed to score at home in any competition since April.
  • At Molineux, Wolves have suffered back-to-back defeats across all competitions for the first time since January 2019 (0-2 v Liverpool and 0-2 v Crystal Palace).
  • Braga remain unbeaten in each of their opening group stage games of a Europa League campaign, winning four and drawing one (all four wins coming in away games).
  • Braga have won two of their last three European away games in England (L1), having failed to win any of their first six such games (D2 L4).
  • Braga's Ricardo Horta has scored his fifth goal of the season, with all five coming in European competition (Including qualifiers).

What next?

Wolves' focus returns to the Premier League with a trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday (14:00 BST).

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5Bennett
  • 16Coady
  • 15BolyBooked at 90mins
  • 2DohertySubstituted forTraoréat 80'minutes
  • 32DendonckerSubstituted forJotaat 76'minutes
  • 8Neves
  • 17Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forJoão Moutinhoat 67'minutes
  • 19Castro Otto
  • 9Jiménez
  • 10Cutrone

Substitutes

  • 7Neto
  • 18Jota
  • 21Ruddy
  • 27Saïss
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 29Vinagre
  • 37Traoré

Sporting Braga

  • 1Lima MagalhãesBooked at 78mins
  • 47de Sousa Esgaio
  • 36Viana Willemen Da Silva
  • 14dos Santos
  • 5Cruz Jerónimo SequeiraBooked at 70mins
  • 90do Nascimento GalenoSubstituted forMachado Trincãoat 84'minutes
  • 27Rodrigues Barbosa
  • 60Alves Palhinha GonçalvesBooked at 90mins
  • 15Luz HortaSubstituted forBarradas Novaisat 86'minutes
  • 21da Luz HortaSubstituted forde Souza Costaat 88'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 20Dias Fernandes

Substitutes

  • 6Domingues de Souza
  • 9Hassan Mahgoub
  • 11Guerreiro Viana
  • 17Barradas Novais
  • 19de Souza Costa
  • 77Machado Trincão
  • 82dos Reis Carvalho
Referee:
Jakob Kehlet
Attendance:
28,314

Match Stats

Home TeamWolvesAway TeamSporting Braga
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home13
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away1
Fouls
Home9
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Sporting Braga 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Sporting Braga 1.

Attempt missed. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by João Moutinho with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

Murilo Souza (Sporting Braga) is shown the yellow card.

Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Nuno Sequeira (Sporting Braga).

Booking

Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Fransergio (Sporting Braga) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Patrick Cutrone (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Diogo Jota.

Attempt blocked. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Diogo Jota.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Matheus.

Attempt saved. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Diogo Jota.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Ricardo Esgaio.

Booking

João Palhinha (Sporting Braga) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by João Palhinha (Sporting Braga).

Patrick Cutrone (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Nuno Sequeira (Sporting Braga).

Substitution

Substitution, Sporting Braga. Murilo Souza replaces Ricardo Horta.

Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Ricardo Horta (Sporting Braga) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. João Novais (Sporting Braga) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Trincão.

Substitution

Substitution, Sporting Braga. João Novais replaces André Horta.

Substitution

Substitution, Sporting Braga. Trincão replaces Wenderson Galeno.

Attempt saved. Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonny.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Adama Traoré replaces Matt Doherty.

Attempt saved. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Willy Boly.

Booking

Matheus (Sporting Braga) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Bruno Viana (Sporting Braga) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Diogo Jota replaces Leander Dendoncker.

Goal!

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Sporting Braga 1. Ricardo Horta (Sporting Braga) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Wenderson Galeno following a fast break.

Booking

Nuno Sequeira (Sporting Braga) is shown the yellow card.

Nuno Sequeira (Sporting Braga) has gone down, but the referee deems it simulation.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. João Moutinho replaces Morgan Gibbs-White.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Ricardo Horta.

Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nuno Sequeira (Sporting Braga).

Attempt missed. Fransergio (Sporting Braga) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Ricardo Horta.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 19th September 2019

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla11003033
2F91 Dudelange11004313
3Apoel Nicosia100134-10
4FK Qarabag100103-30

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dynamo Kiev11001013
2FC Copenhagen11001013
3Lugano100101-10
4Malmö FF100101-10

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel11005053
2Getafe11001013
3Trabzonspor100101-10
4FK Krasnodar100105-50

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSV Eindhoven11003213
2LASK11001013
3Sporting100123-10
4Rosenborg100101-10

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1CFR Cluj11002113
2Celtic10101101
3Rennes10101101
4Lazio100112-10

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal11003033
2Standard Liege11002023
3Vitória Guimarães100102-20
4Frankfurt100103-30

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto11002113
2Rangers11001013
3Young Boys100112-10
4Feyenoord100101-10

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ludogorets11005143
2Ferencvárosi TC10101101
3Espanyol10101101
4CSKA Moscow100115-40

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolfsburg11003123
2KAA Gent11003213
3Saint-Étienne100123-10
4Oleksandria100113-20

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RZ Pellets WAC11004043
2Roma11004043
3B Mgladbach100104-40
4Istanbul Basaksehir100104-40

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Slovan Bratislava11004223
2Sporting Braga11001013
3Wolves100101-10
4Besiktas100124-20

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd11001013
2AZ Alkmaar10102201
3Partizan Belgrade10102201
4FC Astana100101-10
View full Europa League tables

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