Ivan Cavaleiro marked his Premier League debut in style as his thunderbolt effort led Wolves to back-to-back league victories at Molineux against Southampton.
The Portuguese forward fired an unstoppable shot past Alex McCarthy in the Southampton goal to put Wolves ahead mid-way through the second half and just minutes after coming on. Jonny Castro Otto then scored his first goal for Wolves late on to rubber stamp the three points for the home side.
Nuno Espirito Santo continued his tradition of naming the same starting line-up in every Premier League match this season – making nine changes from the side that walked out against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
And it was the home side who came out of the blocks firing and were awarded a free kick within the first five minutes of the match when Diogo Jota was clipped from behind by Jannik Vestergaard as he tried to skip past. Neves took the free-kick 25 yards out, but his attempt was deflected behind.
Another Vestergaard foul on Jota came just moments later when the Wolves forward was bursting through towards the box. Neves’ curling set-piece was met by the head of Matt Doherty, but the right wing-back could only head the ball wide of McCarthy’s post.
The first true chance of the game fell to Otto after about 10 minutes who was played in at the edge of the area after a scramble in the Southampton box, but his curling shot was palmed away by McCarthy.
Continuing their good spell of attacking right from the off, Wolves were awarded another free kick when Nathan Redmond took out Helder Costa when the forward was in full flight. Joao Moutinho’s set-piece could only go out for a corner.
But from the resulting cross, the experienced midfielder whipped the ball right on the head of Ryan Bennett who could only plant his header at the feet of McCarthy.
Rui Patricio was first called into action just before the half-an-hour mark when Southampton launched an attack down the middle of the park. Redmond played a long-racking pass straight to the feet of Mohamed El Younoussi who had drifted into space just inside the box, but his attempt was comfortably dealt with by the Wolves stopper.
Wolves had the better of the game as the first half wore on; firstly there was a mix up in the Southampton defence which let in Raul Jimenez. The Mexican squared a pass to Neves on the edge of the visitor’s box, but the Portuguese man could only fire his shot wide.
Jimenez then had a chance for a goal himself when Doherty found space on the right by-line. His cross found Jimenez in the middle of the penalty area, but the striker’s flicked shot was straight at McCarthy, who got down well to smother the ball.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Southampton 0
Tempers started to flare a the start of the second half, with both teams having players go into Stuart Atwell’s notebook. Redmond was first to pick up a booking after clipping Moutinho when the midfielder’s tricky footwork was getting him away down Wolves’ right-hand side. Soon after, Jota found himself yellow carded after a cynical tackle from behind on Mario Lemina.
Southampton started to pile the pressure onto Wolves, but struggled to break down the resilient defence of the home side, who have only conceded six goals since returning to the Premier League.
Wolves needed some fresh impetus to counter Southampton’s attacks, but even the introduction of the lightning-quick Adama Traore for Helder Costa could not inspire the Molineux men, who suffered a nervous moment just before the 70-minute mark. Vestergaard tried his luck from a 30-yard free-kick which was spilt by Patricio; fortunately for the home supporters, the keeper was able to smother the loose ball before it reached a Southampton body.
The visitors continued to stretch the Wolves back-line and had another chance go in front when substitute Stuart Armstrong brought a smart save from Patricio after messy defensive play in the box.
Nuno introduced Cavaleiro to make his Premier League debut with just under 15 minutes of the match still to play to rapturous applause from the Wolves fans. And it was Cavaleiro himself who put Wolves ahead just moments later.
Adame Traore found space down the right before cutting a pass inside for Jimenez. The Mexican turned with his back to goal, before laying it off to an unmarked Cavaleiro in the centre of the box who fired an unstoppable shot past McCarthy and into the back of the net.
The goal gave Wolves the momentum they were looking for and the home side could have had a second soon after if not for an unbelievable save from McCarthy. Arms outstretched, the keeper managed to push Jimenez’s goal bound header over the bar.
It was Wolves fans who were in dreamland on 87 minutes when Otto scored his first for the club; placing the ball through the legs of McCarthy. The left-sided player was picked out inside the box by his fell full-back Doherty who had powered his way past the Southampton defence.
Otto took one touch to control the ball, and a second to place the ball under the visitor’s keeper, sealing the third win of the season for Nuno's side and extending Wolves' unbeaten League run to five matches.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Southampton 0
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Otto, Moutinho, Neves, Costa (Traore 53), Jota (Cavaleiro 77), Jimenez (Bonatini 90).
Unused sub: Ruddy, Saiss, Vinagre, Hause.
Southampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand, Lemina, Hojbjerg, El Yuonoussi (Armstrong 71), Redmond, Austin (Gabbiadini 77), Ings.
Unused subs: Gunn, Yoshida, Davis, Romeu, Targett.
Referee: Stuart Atwell