Real Betis 0-1 Wolves: Cutrone the difference as Lage gets first win of the season
CADIZ, SPAIN - JULY 24: General view inside the stadium where the Rock of Gibraltar is seen during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Real Betis and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Estadio Municipal de La Linea de la Conception on July 24, 2021 in Cadiz, Spain. (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

Wolves boss Bruno Lage picked up his first victory in charge, in a game that saw many substitutions. Essentially, this game was more about getting minutes on the pitch for Lage's men rather than a tactical insight into 'Lage ball'. 

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  • Story of the first half

The glorious sunshine, the rock of Gibraltar and seaside views were a very different setting to the Molineux for Wolverhampton Wanderers, but rest assured there were no players slacking off on vacation for their friendly fixture against Real Betis Balompié.

It was the Spanish side that had the better start, with Wolves being sloppy in possession. One of Lage's main staples in his philosophy is to use quick, incisive passing to get around opponents, which when playing out from the back today, caused a few problems that really Betis took more advantage of. 

One player, in particular, playing right in the thick of it was Welsh midfielder Taylor Perry. With many big-name stars ahead of him in the pecking order, Perry needs to use these games to show his new boss that he deserves a place in the side. The 20-year-old unfortunately was the cause of a few of these mistakes early on, but always worked hard to try and regain possession. 

A more worrying sign was the sight of central defender Willy Boly being substituted off early for an injury. Fingers crossed that it is nothing serious, as the Ivory Coast international will be a vital part of the Wolves defense for the season ahead.

Boly's withdrawal opened up an opportunity for Maximilian Kilman to grab some minutes. The Englishman got straight into the game with a header that just flew over the opposition's goal.

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Aside from a few standard Romain Saïss challenges preventing absolute panic in the Wolves half, both sides seemed comfortable trying to keep possession, with both goalkeepers having a relatively quiet opening. Of course, Marçal could not resist picking up a yellow card for persistent fouls. 

Then what would have been an absolute drama if VAR was around, Raúl Jiménez was put in through on goal thanks to some good play by Morgan Gibbs-White, only for the referee's assistant to flag offside. Replays showed that Jiménez was onside, but it's okay, it's just a friendly.

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The rest of the half played out with nothing much to report on, with both teams going into half-time at 0-0. 

Story of the second half

Wasting no time at all, Lage made three substitutions during the break, with new signing José Sá coming on to replace John Ruddy in goal, Rúben Neves coming on to show that he is still a Wolves player by replacing Perry and Nélson Semedo coming on in place of Ki-Jana Hoever.

It was Neves who had Wolves' next opportunity, receiving the ball in 'Classic Neves Worldie Territory', to produce a good save from Rui Silva in goal for Los Verdiblancos.

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With the game now coming a bit more to life, Lage then made five more substitutions, which saw the likes of Fábio Silva, Patrick Cutrone and new signing Yerson Mosquera enter the fray. 

Wolves seemed to have more of an edge moving forward, with both Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri causing the Spaniard's problems down the wings. Silva and Cutrone were both energetic and eager to press Betis' defence high.

Silva came close with a long-range volley that just went over the bar. In defense, new boy Mosquera looked very sharp, with the Colombian demonstrating why he is so widely regarded. He also showed why he has a very worrying disciplinary record, but may go on to become a fan favourite around the Molineux terraces.

Even more substitutions followed for Wolves, with Owen Otasowie getting some minutes on the pitch alongside Hugo Bueno. Wolves were becoming more dominant as the game began to draw to a close, but the score was still goalless.

That was until a move started by a lovely through ball by another of the second half substitutes Luke Cundle put Semedo through towards the Betis byline, for the Portuguese to cut the ball across to the man in the shop window Cutrone, who slotted the ball home.

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It is no secret that the Italian would much prefer a move away from Molineux, so a good performance and a goal here has not dampened those aspirations. It does however, potentially pose the question is there room for him in the current squad for the season ahead?

With the goal coming quite late into the game, there was not much else to report on as the final whistle ended the game. A win for Wolves, but more importantly more time on the pitch for the players and more time to gel together and build on their team cohesion.