Leeds 0 Wolves 1 (Jimenez 70)
A deflected Raul Jimenez strike earned Wolves the most hard fought of victories at Elland Road - their third in the opening five Premier League matches for the first time under Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Mexican did all the hard work himself, cutting inside, patiently biding his time, and then receiving a slice of good fortune, as his effort deflected off Kalvin Phillips on its way it. After a solid first-half, the visitors came into their own after the break and, after Romain Saiss had been denied by VAR, Jimenez made his strike count.
Wolves were in patient mood in West Yorkshire and were more than happy letting their hosts dominate possession in the opening stages, particularly as clear-cut chances failed to follow. Patrick Bamford had a goal correctly chalked off for offside, before former Wolves winger Helder Costa dragged an effort wide on his right foot during the opening 20 minutes at Elland Road.
It was with 35 minutes on the clock when Wolves registered their first shot on goal, but Illan Meslier won’t have been concerned, as Jimenez’s near post run to a Joao Moutinho corner was followed by a wayward volley into the stands.
In reality, Leeds were increasing their shot tally at a much faster rate than their visitors, who continued to provide stubborn resistance. The next sight of goal came from an inswinging Phillips corner, which was flicked on to Rodrigo, who controlled and fired straight at Rui Patricio.
Leeds’ dominance would have tasted all the sweeter, had Wolves been able to take the lead with the final kick of the half, which they very nearly did. When Leander Dendoncker was slipped in by Pedro Neto, the hosts were stretched, and when the cross fell to Romain Saiss, he set up Daniel Podence, who went for power over precision, which allowed Meslier to make a strong save.
Half-time: Leeds 0-1 Wolves
That promising moment before the break provided the impetus after it for Wolves, who thought they’d taken the lead quickly after the break. Podence’s cross from the right fell at the back post to Saiss, who teed himself up and arrowed a stunning effort into the far corner. However, once the VAR offside lines were out, Podence was adjudged to have been offside when collecting the original pass by Conor Coady.
Not downhearted however, Wolves picked themselves up, and Podence in particularly, who soon after drifted inside from the right and forced Meslier into a fine one-handed save with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
That pressure would eventually pay for Wolves, as the fortune which abandoned them for Saiss’ chalked off goal returned on 70 minutes. Maximilian Kilman’s lofted pass found Jimenez, who, on the right-hand side, did the rest, drifting inside and shifting the ball on to his right, before watching his shot come off Phillips on its way in.
From there, seeing out the win was Wolves’ clear aim and the introduction of Ruben Neves and Marcal off the bench, following Adama Traore, who’d come on before the goal, helped do that. Neves himself had an opportunity to add further gloss to the scoreline, but was twice snuffed out by desperate Leeds defending.
Full-time: Leeds 0-1 Wolves
Leeds: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Struijk (Hernandez 75), Dallas, Phillis, Klich, Costa (Poveda 71), Rodrigo, Harrison (Raphinha 82), Bamford.
Unused subs: Casilla, Alioski, Roberts, Shackelton.
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Kilman, Saiss, Moutinho (Neves 82), Dendoncker, Neto (Marcal 89), Podence (Traore 65), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Otasowie, Silva.