Wolves 1 (Jimenez 8) Olympiacos 0
Wolves win 2-1 on aggregate
Wolves reached their first European quarter-final since 1972 after an entertaining victory against Greek champions Olympiacos.
A Raul Jimenez penalty just minutes into the first-half was the difference between the two teams, who put on plenty of attacking football in front of an empty Molineux for the final time this season, but it was enough to send Nuno Espirito Santo's side into the knockout tournament in Germany.
Just seconds were on the clock when Wolves had the opportunity to take the lead in the tie, when Jimenez found space yards outside the area Daniel Podence chased down a clearance. After taking a touch, the Mexican tried to lob the ball over the head of Olympiacos keeper Bobby Allain, but his chipped effort drifted narrowly wide of the upright.
Podence was proving a tough task for him former side as he was chasing down lost causes all over the pitch, with one of those paying dividends after just eight minutes, leading to Wolves opening the scoring.
A loose touch by Allain saw Podence get in between the keeper and the ball on the edge of the box, with the half-Scottish stopper tripping the Wolves winger up. Polish referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the penalty spot and Jimenez did what he does best from the spot, sending Allain the wrong way and guiding the ball into the back of the net.
Wolves had the ball in the net for the second time in the game on 15 minutes, as Jimenez – unmarked at the far post after the ball was lifted into the box – tapped home, but the referee had blown for a foul by Romain Saiss in the build-up.
The hosts had a pair of lucky escapes as the first-half played out. Firstly, Rui Patricio made a stunning save after Konstantinos Tsimikas got behind the defence forcing the Wolves keeper to be at his best to push the ball around the post.
Then, VAR was on Wolves’ side for once to rule out an Olympiacos equaliser from Mo Camara, after Youssef El Arabi was adjudged to have been in an offside position in the build-up.
Half-time: Wolves 1 Olympiacos 0 (agg 2-1)
The second-half began with both teams pushing forward, without creating any major problems for the defences.
Although Allain might have been having a few uncertain moments deputising for the injured Jose Sa, the keeper had to be at his very best to stop Podence’s goalbound effort after the sprightly winger got powered through the Olympiacos defence.
Wolves came close to adding to their lead when Podence once again found space behind the Olympiacos backline before pulling the ball across to Diogo Jota – who had appeared from the bench minutes earlier – and his countryman’s shot was deflected wide of the goal and just short of Willy Boly who was sliding in at the far post.
For all of Wolves’ attacking play, the visitors came inches away from an equaliser when Konstantinos Fortounis, drove at the Wolves defence before cutting a dangerous ball back for El Arabi, who took a touch before slashing it into the side-netting.
Jota had a glorious opportunity to double the host’s advantage with just over ten minutes left on the clock, but after picking up a loose Olympiacos pass to move one-on-one with Allain, but the forward couldn’t round the keeper, who dives at the feet of the Portuguese.
In an end-to-end finish, Guilherme came close for Olympiacos, hitting a rasping effort onto the roof of the net, Patricio then had to make a stunning save to deny Ahmed Hassan’s point-blank, and then Joao Moutinho came close with a delicately chipped effort, which narrowly floated over the crossbar.
Both teams continued to push into the six additional minutes, but Nuno’s men did enough to take the victory and set up a quarter-final clash with Sevilla in Duisburg on Tuesday evening.
Full-time: Wolves 1 Olympiacos 0 (agg 2-1)
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny (Vinagre 16), Neves, Moutinho, Traore (Jota 57), Podence (Dendoncker 71), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Sondergaard, Marques, Kilman, Buur, Gibbs-White, Jordao, Neto, Campana.
Olympiacos: Allain, Elabdellaoui, Ba, Cisse, Tsimikas, Bouchalakis (Fortounis 46), Guilherme (Cafu 82), Camara, Valbuena, Masouras (Randjelovic 46), El Arabi.
Unused subs: Tzolakis, Lovera, Papadopoulos, Torosidis, Xenitidis, Gaspar, Martinis, Sourlis, Hassan.
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)