Wolves 1-2 Manchester United: Mata penalty wins the game in Nuno's final game at Wolves
Juan Mata scored the winner from the spot. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Manchester United's terrific away form this season continued as they held firm to win 2-1 against Wolverhampton Wanderers in Nuno Espirito Santo's final game at the club.

Anthony Elanga's first senior goal of his career put the Red Devils ahead before Nelson Semedo levelled the scoring in the first half. 

Following a VAR check, United were awarded a penalty on the brink of half-time when Romain Saiss was penalised for a foul on Donny van de Beek in the area. Juan Mata tucked the penalty away and that's how it stayed despite Wolves' attempts.

Story of the match

In his final game in charge of Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo made three changes to the side that was narrowly defeated by Everton on Wednesday as Saiss came into the Wanderers’ defence, replacing Max Kilman in the back three whilst Leander Dendoncker returned to the midfield in place of Morgan Gibbs-White. After starting his first league game of the season, John Ruddy dropped back to the bench as Rui Patricio returned inbetween the sticks. 

Despite prior optimism that Raul Jimenez would feature again this season, the Mexican striker didn’t feature in the matchday squad but did join in with the warm-up as his fresh bleached hair made an appearance on a football field for the first time since November. 

For United, who have the UEFA Europa League final coming up on Wednesday against Villarreal, they made 10 changes as Axel Tuanzebe the only player to keep hold of his place from Tuesday night’s 1-1 home draw with Fulham

Teenager Elanga was handed his second start of his senior career, with Daniel James starting for the first time since the goalless draw with Leeds United

The atmosphere amongst the Wolves fans was electric with 4,500 supporters inside Molineux for the first time in over 400 days. The main anthem of the afternoon, Nuno had a dream, of course. 

A youthful United attack nearly struck early when James found Elanga in the box before the academy player fired the ball well over and in the crowd sat within the Stan Cullis Stand.  

Embed from Getty Images

The teenager refused to let his earlier miss ruin his flow when he headed James’ cross into the top corner leaving Patricio helpless in the penalty area. The ball flew past Boly in the middle of the six-yard box and Sweden-born attacker beat Rayan Ait-Nouri to the ball. 

Wolves’ continuous issue of things just not clicking become apparent once again as Adama Traore seemed the only player capable of providing any sort of threat towards Dean Henderson’s goal. After going a goal down, the home side were dealt a huge blow when the Spanish winger was forced off with an injury. 

Albeit, Wolves levelled the scoring when Semedo tucked the ball away for his first goal of the club after his summer arrival from FC Barcelona. Dendoncker won possession of the ball in the United half before feeding Fabio Silva through on goal. The teenager striker showcases his talent with a neat cutback for the wing-back, who got to the ball first and tucked it past Henderson. 

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side restored their lead when VAR handed Mata the chance to score from 12 yards out after Saiss’ sliding challenge brought down van de Beek in the penalty area. Mike Dean originally didn’t give the foul but after a lengthy VAR check, the decision was made and Mata tucked away his first league game of the campaign. 

Embed from Getty Images

Nuno’s last half-time team talk seemed to bring more live into Wolves in the second half with Ruben Neves and Semedo forcing United’s defence to sit deep. But it was the visitors that had the first chance of the half when Mata’s neat through ball handed James with the chance to make it 3-1, but his poor chip sailed wide. 

The hosts had a serious penalty claim when Alex Telles and Neves collided together in the penalty area, but Dean didn’t take any notice of the claims from the terraces. 

Wolves struggled to cause any problems on Henderson's goal, with Morgan Gibbs-White firing the ball wide late on.

The Wanderers finish the campaign in 13th with 12 wins and 17 defeats with a promising summer upcoming.