Wolves kicked off pre-season with a 2-1 win against 20-time Swiss Champions FC Basel at Biel’s Tissot Arena.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel put the Swiss Super League runners-up ahead after nine minutes, only to have the lead cancelled out ten minutes later by Rafa Mir, and Diogo Jota’s second half goal was enough to give Wolves victory in the opening game of the Uhrencup.
Nuno elected to utilise two different XIs for each half, with John Ruddy, Danny Batth and Ivan Cavaleiro the most senior players of a young first-half side.
Ruddy was forced into a smart stop early on, moving quickly to deny a Valentin Stocker effort that was creeping inside the near post. However, moments later a whipped free-kick from the left flank broke the deadlock, with former Norwich City striker Van Wolfswinkel steering home a glancing header.
Mir equalised with Wolves’ first real chance of the game. Cavaleiro’s deep in-swinging corner sucked Basel goalkeeper Jonas Omlin off his line, and the young Spaniard side-footed into the roof of the net, cushioning the ball well on the volley.
Benny Ashley-Seal went on a driving run and was bought down 30-yards out. Cavaleiro’s direct free-kick was powerful, but straight at the Basel stopper.
Academy Player of the Season Ryan Giles was the stand out youngster of a competitive first half, finding space and running at his man on numerous occasions, providing a number of dangerous crosses that were blocked or hacked away by the Basel defence.
Nuno’s second half side was made up in bulk by players who featured regularly throughout last season’s title-winning campaign, and it showed when five minutes in Wolves took the lead through a familiar looking counter attack.
Great work from Helder Costa found Matt Doherty in space, and he lost his man and cut inside before passing the ball across the six-yard box, where Jota lay in wait to slide the ball into the net.
Wolves almost doubled their lead with a very similar move, but this time Leo Bonatini’s shot was blocked after the cross from Doherty.
Basel looked certain to level six minutes from the end when Dimitri Oberlin rounded an onrushing Will Norris on the edge of the box, but as he passed the ball into an empty net Willy Boly slid in to block heroically, receiving some of the loudest cheers of the game.
The final minutes were played without significant incident, whilst a healthy travelling support serenaded the locals with repeated chorus’ of Vindaloo, Three Lions and Whole Again.
Wolves travel to Bern on Saturday to take on Swiss champions Young Boys, where a win could see Nuno's side claim its second piece of silverware this year.
First half: Ruddy; Batth (C), Hause, John; Buur, Giles, Goncalves, Giles; Mir, Ashley-Seal, Cavaleiro.
Second half: Norris; Bennett, Cody, Boly; Doherty, Gibbs-White, Neves, Douglas; Costa, Bonatini, Jota.
Wolves goals: Mir 17, Jota 51.
Basel goal: Van Wolfswinkel 9.