Wolves 0 Celta Vigo 1 (Aspas 31(p))
An impressive second-half showing from Wolves was not enough for Bruno Lage to take the victory in their final pre-season fixture of the campaign as Celta Vigo visited Molineux.
Iago Aspas’ first-half penalty was the difference in a game where Wolves peppered the visitor’s goal with shots and even struck to upright as Raul Jimenez made his long-awaited return to the hallowed turf.
There was not much to separate the sides in the early stages of the first-half, with both teams trying to work out the best way around their opposite numbers, but Celta were the ones who looked more likely to score, with the Wolves defence having to be alert to frustrate Nolito and the visiting attack.
Wolves’ main threat came through Adama Traore down the left, but the winger was unable to link up with Jimenez as was so successful for the team in the past three seasons.
Celta came close to taking the lead with a pair of long-range efforts from the edge of the Wolves penalty area, but Renato Tapia and Brais Mendez could only find the South Bank with their respective efforts.
It was the visitors who took the lead with just over half-an-hour on the clock, as Aspas sent Jose Sa the wrong way from the penalty spot and slotted the ball in the far left corner after Romain Saiss had upended Santiago Mina in the Wolves box.
Wolves tried to get back on level terms almost immediately, with Ruben Neves setting his sights from 25 yards out, but the midfielder’s bullet shot was straight down the throat of Celta goalkeeper Matias Dituro, who made a comfortable catch.
Half-time | Wolves 0-1 Celta Vigo
It was a different looking Wolves which came out in the second-half, as a hungry, high-pressing team were littering the Celta goal with shot after shot in the hunt for an equaliser.
Firstly, Traore goes on a trademark run down the wing before cutting inside to find Jimenez with a cross, but the Mexican was unable to divert the ball inside the upright.
Then the Wolves supporters were up in arms as a Neves free-kick hits the wall and it appeared referee Jon Moss pointed at the spot, only to actually give a free-kick to Celta for an offside.
Dituro was having the game of his life to twice deny Marcal, before Jimenez’s rebound was deflected wide, and then the keeper made an impressive diving save to stop Maximilian Kilman’s header from inside the penalty area.
Traore was next to test the Celta keeper, who palmed a powerful strike from the winger behind after the Spaniard had linked up well with Ki-Jana Hoever down the right. Before the post came to the rescue for Celta as a Coady overhead kick found its way to Jimenez inside the box, who struck the upright.
The rest of the second-half failed to live up to the opening stages, as neither team threatened their opposite keepers and Celta took home the victory, but it was a promising showing in the second period for Wolves ahead of next weekend’s Premier League curtain raiser.
Full-time | Wolves 0-1 Celta Vigo
Wolves | Sa (Ruddy 46), Hoever, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Marcal (Ait-Nouri 77), Neves, Moutinho (Dendoncker 46), Trincao (Cutrone 77), Traore (Gibbs-White 70), Jimenez (Silva 77).
Unused subs | Marques, Estrada, Cundle, Campbell.
Celta Vigo | Dituro, Mallo, Suarez, Nolito, Aspas, Tapia, Aidoo, Galan, Fontan, Mina, Mendez.
Subs | Blanco, Rodriguez, Beltran, Cervi, Baeza, Vazquez, Solari, Dominguez, Carbonell, Bouzada.
Referee | Jon Moss
Attendance | 16,391