Wolverhampton Wanderers wasted a two-goal lead against SC Braga. After being up 1-3 with goals from Raul Jimenez (13), Matt Doherty (34) and Adama Traore (35) with thirty minutes to go, Nuno Espírito Santo’s men conceded the draw but still managed to get through to the round of 32
Story of the game
With the two teams occupying the top spots in Group K, both teams could secure their passage to the next round of the Europa League with a game to spare, which upped the stakes in this already exciting match.
The home team came in and with fans still finding their seats, André Horta struck the ball from 35 yards out to give Braga a 1-0 lead. The ball hit Ruben Neves’ foot which made it rise and hit the top left corner of Rui Patricio’s goal.
Wolves were dazed after the goal conceded but immediately went looking for the equalizer.
It didn’t take long before the Wanderers’ attack started opening holes in Braga’s defence. After a couple of missed chances, Raul Jimenez, the Wolves’ goal-scoring striker, was on the end of a Johnny Castro cross and headed it past Eduardo to make it 1-1 after 13 minutes of play.
And just like Cristiano Ronaldo famously said: “Goals are like ketchup, once you get one, the rest come pouring out”.
Nothing sums up better the devilish period between the 33rd minute and the 35th minute of the first half, where Nuno’s men scored goals in back-to-back plays to give them a 1-3 lead
First, it was Matt Doherty who went on an adventure up the field and was on the end of a chip-cross from Jimenez to make it 1-2. And one minute later, it was Traore who made it 1-3 after an assist (his second) from the Mexican striker.
At halftime, the score was 1-3 but playing at home Braga didn’t give up.
“The Warriors” as they’re known in Portugal, came back, fought hard and were able to pull one back with Paulinho scoring at the 64th minute, setting up the equalizer that came with eleven minutes to go when the captain Fransergio headed it in after a returning cross from a previously taken corner.
The result fitted both team’s needs and despite searching for the win, no one was left frowning after the final whistle as both Braga and Wolves celebrated their qualification to the knockout stages.
Takeaways from the game
Wolves’ defensive woes
The outcome ended up benefiting Wolves, but on another occasion, salvaging a draw after being up 1-3 would be an awful result. The team conceded two goals they couldn’t concede and against tougher opposition, we could be talking about a loss instead of a draw.
Jimenez’s scoring streak
The Mexican striker scored another goal last night, his seventh in the club’s last eight games. Jimenez now has 15 goals across all competitions the season and he’s been Wolves’ main dynamo when it comes to attacking.
Not only has he proven himself deadly in front of goal, but he’s also crucial in the build-up stage and even assisting his teammates and has shown why he’s one of the most sought-after players in the Premier League.
Man of the Match
There is no way around it. A goal and two assists make the Mexican the man of the match.
He was everywhere on the pitch both attacking and defending. At the moment, he is the most influential player in the team’s playing style and someone the manager can’t lose.