Wolves 4 (Jota 58, 63 & 69, Dendoncker 67) Besiktas 0
Wolves’ first European hat-trick in 48 years, courtesy of Diogo Jota’s devastating substitute appearance, saw them conclude Group K in style. Braga’s victory in Slovakia meat Wolves finished as runners-up, but they will head into the knockout stages full of confidence after completing the double over Besiktas.
The Portuguese’s back-post header, two minutes after his introduction, put the wheels in motion for a comfortable, and entertaining second period. He’s was then quickest off the mark to convert after Leander Dendoncker’s stunning effort had come back off the bar, and Wolves were cruising.
Dendoncker wouldn’t be denied however and netted a deserved goal of his own when he headed home from a Joao Moutinho corner. Then, just two minutes later, Jota secured himself the match ball when tapping in following great work from Oskar Buur.
Nuno Espirito Santo used the group curtain closer as an opportunity to hand out minutes to seven alternative members of his squad, but it was the hosts who began in the ascendency, with one of the survivors from Sunday Moutinho firing the first shot down Utku Yuvakuran’s throat.
The returning John Ruddy had to wait until the 28th minute for his first real involvement but dealt with Kerem Kalafat’s whipped free-kick by palming to safety.
In truth, the first-half offered little to excite those who’d braved the elements, but Wolves stringed together a nice move with the break approaching. Ruben Vinagre found space, not for the first time, down the left, and his deflected crossed was knocked into the path of Ruben Neves by Buur, but the Portuguese fired over the bar.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Besiktas 0
The second-half was much brighter as a spectacle, first Pedro Neto curled over from a Moutinho corner, before Dendoncker wasted a golden opportunity. Vinagre got to the by-line and held up a cross for the Belgian, who had the whole goal to aim for, but got his header all wrong and failed to find the target.
It wasn’t long until Jota was on the field and, within two minutes of replacing Neves, he’d broken the deadlock. It was a fantastic move, starting with Patrick Cutrone’s delightful flick to send Neto scampering down the right, and, after working an opening, he dug out a brilliant, deep cross for Jota to head home at the back post.
It should have got better soon after as well, but Moutinho’s corner was somehow diverted on to the post by Dendoncker front point-blank range, before Maximilian Kilman headed wide, however the second goal was just around the corner.
Dendoncker was mighty unlucky as he lined one up from range and watched his brilliant effort tipped on to the crossbar by Yuvakuran, but the goalkeeper was out of luck as the ricochet off him fell nicely for Jota to tap home.
Wolves had found their groove and were feeling ruthless. Dendoncker was yet again at the heart of it, this time it was as simple as you like, as he rose highest to meet Moutinho’s corner and direct his header into the top corner.
Then, within a minute, it was four. Cutrone fed Neto out wide and, once he was dispossessed, Buur regained the ball, charged past his man in the box and fired a brilliant cross into the corridor of uncertainty, with Jota steeling in at the back post to complete an 11-minute hat-trick.
The flurry of goals gave Nuno an opportunity to hand minutes to Taylor Perry and a senior debut to Owen Otasowie and he nearly capped it with the perfect moment, rising to meet Vinagre’s cross and flicking a header on to the top of the bar. Nevertheless, Wolves celebrated a comfortable win at the final whistle, as the Europa League’s most productive second-placed team.
Full-time: Wolves 4 Besiktas 0
Wolves: Ruddy, Buur, Bennett, Coady, Kilman, Vinagre, Neves (Jota 56), Dendoncker (Otasowie 73), Moutinho (Perry 70), Neto, Cutrone.
Unused subs: Sondergaard, Vallejo, Richards, Cundle.
Besiktas: Yuvakuran, Kalafat (Roco 76), Uysal, Rebocho, Secgin, Ozyakup, Lens (Diaby 81), Yalcin (Elneny 64), Boyd, Nayir.
Unused subs: Destanoglu, Ozkan, Isler, Yilmaz.