Wolves 4 (Neto 54, Gibbs-White 58, Vinagre 64, Jota 87) FC Pyunik 0
Wolves won back-to-back European ties for the first time since 1971/72 as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side set up a Europa League play-off round clash with Torino with a comprehensive display against FC Pyunik at Molineux.
Already leading 4-0 from the first leg in Yerevan last Thursday night, second-half goals from Pedro Neto, Morgan Gibbs-White, Ruben Vinagre and Diogo Jota secured Wolves’ highest aggregate score in European competition.
The Wolves head coach made nine changes to the side which had to settle for a point against Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday, with John Ruddy, Adama Traore, Vinagre, Romain Saiss and Gibbs-White coming into the line-up, while Jesus Vallejo, Maximilian Kilman, Neto and Patrick Cutrone were starting their first game in a gold and black shirt.
The latter pair, who were Wolves’ strike force for the evening, started brightly and linked up well in the search for the first goal of the contest. With just over ten minutes on the clock Neto had the first real chance for Wolves when played in behind the Pyunik defence but could only drag his shot wide.
Cutrone had a chance himself to open the scoring moments later when he attempted to volley a Joao Moutinho corner, which was headed into his path by Kilman, from the edge of the box, but his effort flew narrowly high and wide of Dragojevic’s goal. Gibbs-White then let fly from 20 yards but could not trouble the Pyunik keeper.
Saiss was the next Wolves player to send an effort goalwards after Moutinho was fouled 25 yards out from goal. With both players looking likely to take the kick, it was the Moroccan who lifted a left-footed shot over the wall, but wide of the right-hand upright.
Italy striker Cutrone was then inches away from flicking a dangerous Vinagre cross, which flew across the six-yard box towards goal, before he directed a Moutinho free-kick wide of the post with a header. The forward then ran onto a delightful lofted pass from Vallejo, but after shaking off his man, Cutrone fired over from a tight angle.
The lively Vinagre couldn’t test Dragojevic when he won the ball in midfield before bursting forward. The wing-back set himself 25-yards out from goal but couldn’t keep his shot down.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Pyunik 0 (agg 4-0)
Pyunik had a chance to get their first goal of the tie minutes into the second half when Erik Vardanyan aimed a dangerous free-kick into the Wolves box, but thankfully for the home side, the ball was put out for a corner by Saiss.
Wolves didn’t let that early spell of Pyunik pressure trouble them however, with Neto marking his debut with his first goal at Molineux just moments later to put Wolves five goals to the good on aggregate.
Cutrone was played in to the by-line by a floated Vallejo pass before directing a pinpoint cross straight into the feet of his strike partner and the Portuguese under-20 international could not miss from six yards out.
Wolves doubled their lead on the night and made the tie 6-0 overall with 58 minutes gone through Academy graduate Morgan Gibbs-White, who scored his first competitive goal for the senior side by pushing the ball over the line after a cross into the box by fellow goalscorer Neto.
The floodgates opened for the home side who got their third with about 25 minutes of the game remaining. It came through great work from Traore on the right who beats two Pyunik defenders before putting it on a plate for Vinagre at the back post. The full-back makes no mistake and gets his second in two Europa League fixtures at Molineux.
Despite going three goals up on the night, Nuno’s men continued to put their foot on the gas and kept piling pressure on the Pyunik backline and were further enhanced by the arrival of Jota and Raul Jimenez with 20 minutes to go.
It was the Portuguese forward who put the icing on the cake for Wolves with a spectacular overhead effort. Jota linked up well with Jimenez on the edge of the box before making a bursting run into the area.
Jimenez then looped a return ball over the top and the Portugal under-21 international hammed home a fantastic acrobatic shot to send Molineux wild, as well as his team into the Europa League play-off round and a trip to Turin next Thursday evening.
Full-time: Wolves 4 Pyunik 0 (agg 8-0)
Wolves: Ruddy, Traore, Vallejo, Coady, Kilman, Vinagre, Saiss, Moutinho (Dendoncker 52), Gibbs-White, Neto (Jota 72), Cutrone (Jimenez 72).
Unused subs: Patricio, Jonny, Bennett, Neves.
Pyunik: Dragojevic, Stankov, Zhestokov, Belov, Manucharyan, Efimov (Galimov 46), Vardanyan, Mkrtchyan, Simonyan (Edigaryan 71), Shevchuk (Mahmudov 75), Miranyan.
Unused subs: Kobozev, Grigoryan, Marku, Burzanovic.
Referee: Donatas Rumsas (Lithuania)