Wolves 1 (Jordao 28) Reading 1 (Boye 99)
In a night when four young players were handed their first-team debuts, Wolves needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome Championship side Reading in the Carabao Cup third round.
Bruno Jordao, making his senior debut following his summer move from Lazio, put Wolves ahead when his 25-yard effort wasn’t dealt with by Reading goalkeeper Joao Virginia, before Lucas Boye’s 99th minute header took the game to penalties. However, Ruben Vinagre was the hero for Wolves as he netted the decisive spot-kick with ease.
Nuno Espirito Santo made a raft of changes to the team which faced Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday, with only Matt Doherty maintaining his place in the starting line-up. Jordao, Taylor Perry, Luke Cundle and Meritan Shabani were all handed their first-team debuts, but it was a rollercoaster evening for the youngsters as both Jordao and Shabani left the pitch on stretchers.
Although the much-altered Wolves side showed good movement in the early stages of the contest, it was the visitors who had the best chance to take an early lead. Boye found space on the left before cutting inside from the byline and powering a driven shot towards goal, which was well saved by John Ruddy at his near post.
Wolves quickly began to grow into the game and had a chance of their own a few minutes later when Patrick Cutrone brought a launched ball down from over his shoulder before shooting left-footed across goal but Virginia managed to get down well to push his effort wide.
A quick counter-attack by Wolves presented them with another effort on goal, Morgan Gibbs-White was picked out on the left flank and brought the ball inside and onto his right before firing a low shot towards goal which was comfortably saved by Virginia.
Pedro Neto, who had earlier been booked for an apparent dive in the penalty area, was next to let fly for the hosts when he attempted an audacious effort from 20-yards out, but his shot didn’t trouble the goalkeeper.
The pressure from the home side finally told with 28 minutes on the clock. Jordao picked up the ball from Cutrone, 25-yards out in the centre of the pitch, and with time to look up and set himself, the young midfielder fired an effort that Virginia was unable to stop from hitting the back of the net.
Jordao’s debut appearance ended in heartbreak when he went down clutching his knee after being sandwiched in a challenge between Ruben Vinagre and Teddy Howe. Although looking like he was going to be able to carry on, the 20-year-old was eventually stretchered from the field and replaced by fellow debutant Taylor Perry.
Half-time: Wolves 1 Reading 0
Wolves were straight back into their groove following the half-time break and came close to doubling their advantage within three minutes of the restart. Vinagre made a darting run through the Reading midfield, beating several players before firing narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
In a fairly uneventful second-half, Ryan Bennett was the Wolves saviour with just over 20 minutes of the match remaining as he cleared a Yakou Meite effort off the line after the Reading man found space at the back post before heading across goal.
Nuno handed debuts to 17-year-old Luke Cundle and Meritan Shabani, a summer signing from Bayern Munich, but the German forward’s cameo appearance only lasted 10 minutes. The 20-year-old was stretchered from the pitch after he went down awkwardly off the ball.
After making all three substitutions, Shabani’s injury meant Wolves were forced to play the final six minutes of the match – plus nine minutes of added time – with 10 men.
With the one-man advantage, Reading were pushing bodies forward in the hunt of an equaliser, but Ruddy came to Wolves’ rescue as reacted quickly to make a strong close-range save from George Puscas’ powerful effort.
In the final minute of added time Reading found their all-important equaliser when Boye rose highest in the box to head home, and although Ruddy got a hand to the ball he was unable to keep it from crossing the line.
After Neves, Jesus Vallejo and Bennett had all put away their penalties and Reading missing a pair of theirs, it was up to Ruben Vinagre to win the game for Wolves and the Portuguese wing-back made no mistake, placing his spot-kick in the bottom corner, giving Virginia no chance.
Full-time: Wolves 1 Reading 1 (4-2 on pens)
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Vallejo, Bennett, Kilman, Vinagre, Neves, Gibbs-White (Shabani 74), Jordao (Perry 42), Neto (Cundle 83), Cutrone.
Unused subs: Patricio, Coady, Sanderson, Moutinho.
Reading: Virginia, Howe (Puscas 66), McIntyre (Ejaria 57), Miazga, Richards, Blackett, Barrett, Adam (Swift 57), Rinomhota, Meite, Boye.
Unused subs: Walker, Baldock, Olise, Osho.
Referee: Peter Bankes