Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur served up one of the games of the season on Saturday night as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men almost staged a sensational comeback from three goals down, only to come up one goal short after a tremendous attempt.
The visitors looked in cruise control when Harry Kane fired home their third with 29 minutes remaining, adding to Erik Lamela’s close-range finish and a thumping Lucas Moura’s header, but there was plenty of drama still come from the hosts.
Juan Foyth was twice penalised for fouling Wolves men in the area, first Raul Jimenez and then Jonny Otto, giving Nuno’s men a route back into the game. Ruben Neves converted the first, before Jimenez followed suit from 12 yards and it was 3-2.
11 minutes remained on the clock, however there’d be no dramatic finale and the hosts fell to a third successive defeat, but with plenty of positives to take from a second-half fightback at a lively Molineux.
Before the action began, there were poignant scenes at Molineux as both sets of supporters remembered those lost during the First World War and the Leicester City tragedy of last week. A spotlight highlighted the bugler playing the Last Post on the centre circle of Molineux in darkness.
From there, the atmosphere was electric and Jimenez responded by firing narrowly over in the opening stages. At the other end of the pitch, the Wolves defence knew the challenge ahead in the form of Kane and their goalkeeper Rui Patricio foiled his first effort, getting down low to his left and producing a strong hand.
They may have denied Kane, but Tottenham’s front players all posed a threat and it was Lamela who opened the scoring when drifting infield and firing between the legs of Patricio.
Unfortunately, like against Watford last time out at Molineux, Wolves conceded a second quickly after to make it an uphill task ahead. Patient build-up play saw Kieran Trippier find space down the right and he whipped a delightful cross onto the head of Moura to thump home the second.
The fine margins which often dictate games at the level were falling the way of Spurs, as Matt Doherty was penalised for offside, despite looking on, before setting up Jimenez to convert beyond Lloris. That gave the hosts belief and Moutinho’s cross was headed wide by Willy Boly soon after.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Tottenham 2
Unsurprisingly, Wolves came out for the second half fired up and Nuno’s words will still have been ringing when Lloris produced three big saves straight after the restart. First, Costa was denied by the goalkeeper’s feet and then played in Jimenez, who was also foiled by the Frenchman. Then, Neves’ precise effort was heading for the bottom corner before Lloris tipped it around the post.
However, the game appeared to be put to bed minutes later when Kane beat Boly to an aerial challenge and received the ball back from Lamela, and although Patricio kept out his initial effort, the striker was on hand to slam home the loose ball.
Then came the changes, with Leo Bonatini and Morgan Gibbs-White replacing Ivan Cavaleiro and Joao Moutinho. However, Kane almost had his second when he whipped a wonderful effort towards the top corner with little back lift, but Patricio flew through the air to brilliant deny him.
The hosts were given a glimmer of hope with a little over 20 minutes remaining when a clumsy foul by Foyth on Jimenez had Mike Dean pointing to the spot and Neves duly dispatched from 12 yards, sending Lloris the wrong way.
It should have been 3-2 soon after as well, when a brilliant through ball by Gibbs-White, who was making a huge impact, sent Costa clean through, but the Portuguese lost his composure and prodded wide of the goal.
However, the drama just kept on coming and Wolves soon had a second penalty, Foyth again the guilty culprit tripping Jonny in full flight. Jimenez took the responsibility this time and was equally as successful, also sending Lloris the wrong way.
With seven minutes remaining Adama Traore was introduced to the action, with Costa making way. The winger quickly clipped an effort onto the roof of the net but no final twist was ahead and Wolves suffered defeat but could leave having put in an incredible effort.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Tottenham 3
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Otto, Neves, Moutinho (Bonatini 62), Costa (Traore 84), Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 62), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hause, Vinagre, Dendoncker.
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Davies, Dembele (Son 7) (Eriksen 59), Winks, Sissoko, Lamela, Moura (Sanchez 79), Kane.
Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Skipp, Llorente.
Referee: Mike Dean