Wolves 2-0 Crusaders FC: The third qualifying round is just around the corner
Wolves dominated from start to finish and are now one step closer to reaching the group phase of the Europa League. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

The first leg of the second qualifying round of the Europa League was an easy win for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Northern Irish side Crusaders FC tas they eased to a 2-0 lead heading into the second leg.

Almost 40 years since Molineux had last hosted a European game, the home team controlled from start to finish and are now one step closer to reaching the third qualifying round of the competition.

Story of the game

In what was an extremely one-sided match, the game started as one would expect. Wolves completely dominated possession, making use of their superior midfield to lock any Crusaders attempt of leaving their own half. However, despite the dominance, they were unable to create real scoring opportunities. 

That is, until Diogo Jota wrote his name on the scoring sheet with an absolute rocket, making it 1-0 at the 37th minute and giving Wolverhampton the lead.

Jota could have made it 2-0 just three minutes after but some overconfidence made him miss a one-on-one with goalkeeper Sean O'Neill, keeping some hope on the Northern Irish players.

In the second half Wolves came into the game wanting to expand their lead but were unable to convert the innumerous chances into goals. Just to put things into perspective, Nuno's men had 29 goal attempts with 10 shots on goal and 12 off target.

On the other hand, Crusaders only had one goal attempt with zero shots on goal and one off-target. 

As the game approached the end, it looked like despite everything, the Northern Irish team was going to be able to leave the Molineux just 1-0 down with some hope of turning the tie on their home ground.

However, at the 93rd minute, the Portuguese left-back Rúben Vinagre made it 2-0 after O'Neill dropped a João Moutinho cross right in front of the Portuguese youngster.

2-0 up and a show of strength as Wolverhampton come out of the first leg with very positive signs that can leave every fan feeling very optimistic about this season.

Takeaways

Traore looking better than ever

The Spanish winger looks like a different player than the one we saw last season and could be key if Wolves want to repeat and improve from what they did last season.

Insanely quick and strong, Traore was, at a time, one of the crown jewels of Barcelona's "La Masia", but like many others, it seemed that he wouldn't reach his full potential. However, it seems that Nuno Espírito Santos' 3-5-2 was tailor-made for the Spaniard to showcase his skills and it's been showing.


NUNO'S 3-5-2

Wolves' system seems to be up and running. The back three formed by Ryan Bennett, Conor Coady and Willy Boly have shown great solidity and allow the midfield players such as Rúben Neves, João Moutinho or Leander Dendoncker to assume more offensive roles which, in theory, will get the best out of players such as Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota or Morgan Gibbs-White.

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