Bestiktas 0 Wolves 1 (Boly 90)
Willy Boly scored with the last kick of the game in Istanbul to breathe new life into Wolves’ Europa League ambitions. The big defender took Ruben Neves’ brilliant pass under his spell and fired Wolves to a priceless 1-0 victory over Besiktas.
The dramatic winner in hostile surroundings saw Wolves avenge their opening day defeat to SC Braga. Previously, the contest could boast few chances, but as the minutes ticked by, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side grew in belief and by full-time were good value for their three points.
Raul Jimenez and Boly himself had both headed Joao Moutinho set pieces over earlier in the contest, while Domagoj Vida twice came close for the hosts, but Wolves had the final say to bring their Europa League aspirations to life.
The opening to the occasion was hostile like expected, as the natives looked to make Wolves’ visit to Vodafone Park as uncomfortable as possible. Whistled upon ever touch of the ball, Wolves created little early on, but remained solid and organised, to deny their hosts any early initiative.
In fact, it took 18 minutes for the first shot to arrive and, even then, Guven Yalcin’s effort from 25 yards out flew over Rui Patricio’s goal. Wolves’ only sniff of goal in the opening half came through the lively Pedro Neto, and his deflected, low cross needed keeping out at the near post by Loris Karius.
Caner Erkin had not been named in the home side’s initial starting eleven, but replaced Georges-Kevin Nkoudou with kick-off approaching, and looked to take advantage of his opportunity, but could only volley way off target when his first chance arrived.
With half-time approaching, Besiktas did give Wolves a scare, as Jimenez inadvertently hit his own post from a corner, before Dorukhan Tokoz’s effort was blocked behind by some frantic Wolves defending, while Umut Nayir was denied by Patricio with the final act of the half.
Half-time: Besiktas 0 Wolves 0
The break brought a change of heart for Nuno, who replaced Neto with Adama Traore in a bid to strengthen his team’s attacking threat. The change did have an effect too, with the wide man winning a free-kick which allowed Moutinho to cross for Jimenez, but the Mexican’s glancing header didn’t drop in time.
The Portuguese’s set pieces were causing Besiktas problems and from his next corner, Boly headed powerfully over. In the meantime, Leander Dendoncker had taken the place of Morgan Gibbs-White.
As the second period wore on, Wolves continued to grow and Romain Saiss’ speculative effort from range was punched clear by Karius. However, the hosts always looked threatening themselves and Vida would have wanted to get his header on target but glanced wide.
In the closing stages Patrick Cutrone replaced Jimenez and the striker instantly had a chance to give Wolves the lead, but curled narrowly wide on the break, after cutting onto his right foot.
With time running out Saiss turned home from close range to spark momentary joy, before the linesman’s flag ruled out the goal, however Wolves had more left in the tank.
Boly produced the moment of magic, taking Neves’ pass brilliantly into his path and producing a striker's finish beyond Karius to record a memorably victory in Turkey for Nuno’s Wolves.
Full-time: Besiktas 0 Wolves 1
Besiktas: Karius, Douglas, Vida, Uysal, Rebocho, Elneny, Tokoz (Ozyakup 79), Ljajic, Lens (Gonul 84), Yalcin (Nayir 27), Erkin.
Unused subs: Yuvakuran, Roco, Hutchinson, Boyd.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Gibbs-White (Dendoncker 62), Neto (Traore 46), Jimenez (Cutrone 79).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Vallejo, Bennett, Vinagre.