Report | Wolves 1-0 Leeds

Wolves 1 (B. Traore 85) Leeds United 0

Wolves secured their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at the expense of fellow Premier League side Leeds United thanks to Boubacar Traore’s first goal in gold and black.

The hosts put their league woes behind them as they dominated throughout at Molineux, but despite having much of the chances, it took until just five minutes from time to break the deadlock. The Malian was picked out on the edge of the box before curling an intricate lofted finish into the top corner of the Leeds net, booking Wolves’ place in the hat for the next stage of the cup in the process.

With the match sandwiched between two Premier League matches, and with an eye on the visit of league leaders Arsenal to Molineux on Saturday, Steve Davis made six changes to his Wolves side from the one which faced Brighton at home just days earlier – handing a first start in gold and black to under-21 captain Joe Hodge.

A frantic start to the game saw Leeds pile pressure on the Wolves defence with a number of quick-fire set-piece deliveries. Firstly, Matija Sarkic saved at full stretch after Jack Harrison’s on target free-kick took a slight deflection on its way towards goal.

The keeper was brought into action once again shortly after as he had to make a double save, the first one he pushed away into the air which was then headed back at goal, but Sarkic recovered to punch the ball to safety. Moments later, Ruben Neves saw a free-kick of his own fly inches wide of Joel Robles’ upright after Goncalo Guedes was fouled while making a clever run.

Wolves were growing into the game, and after a sighter at goal from an acrobatic Hee Chan Hwang effort, it was his fellow forward, Adama Traore, who had the next effort at goal. Following quick one-touch passing by the hosts, Traore was played into space behind the Leeds defence, but his shot across goal from a tight angle flew just wide of the post.

The chances were all falling the way of the side in gold and black as the half progressed, with Connor Ronan – making his first Wolves start in 1,920 days, since the Carabao Cup first round tie against Yeovil Town at Molineux back in August 2017 – testing Robles with his corners, while Hwang was unable to keep an effort from rising over the crossbar 20 yards out.

Wolves found themselves inches away from opening the scoring once again with just minutes to go in the first-half as more one-touch passing led to the ball finding its way into the path of Guedes. The Portuguese winger took off between the Leeds defence, before trying his luck from 25 yards, but his low, driven effort just flew wide of Robles’ right post.

Half-time | Wolves 0-0 Leeds

Wolves began the second-half as they ended the first, well on top of the opposition, and so easily could have been ahead if luck was on their side. After another of his marauding runs up the pitch where he displayed his silky footwork to get his team into an attacking position, Maximilian Kilman was picked out in space inside the penalty area by Guedes, but his effort was blocked at close-range by the feet of Robles.

Robles made a point-blank save to stop Ronan from marking his first start in five years with a goal in front of the South Bank. Ait-Nouri was picked out on the left and curled a perfect ball into the box which was met by the Irishman, and with the ball heading for the top corner, the Leeds keeper stuck out a big hand to palm the ball away.

Leeds began to threaten Sarkic’s goal, but Wolves were standing firm to the visitors’ advances, while the hosts still had opportunities of their own. Hwang was played away down the right, and with Neves on his own in the middle of the box, the South Korean overhit the cross just out of reach of the midfielder.

With both sides looking to the bench with the game heading towards the final quarter, a big opportunity fell the way of the team in white, with Jack Harrison making Molineux hold its breath as he attempted a curler across goal from the edge of the box, but it headed narrowly wide of Sarkic’s upright.

With ten minutes remaining, Wolves were forced to make a fifth and final change as Jonny went down touching his hamstring. On came right-back Dexter Lembikisa as the academy graduate made his first senior appearance for the club.

The change didn’t slow the hosts down, as they finally broke the deadlock. Nathan Collins won back possession just inside his own half before setting Daniel Podence away down the right. With Leeds concentrating on Hwang’s run into the box, Podence cut the ball back to Traore on the edge of the are, who guided a first-time finish past Robles’ fingertips and high into the top corner of the net.

With a win in their sights, Wolves fought until the very end as they claimed their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Full-time | Wolves 1-0 Leeds

Wolves | Sarkic, Jonny (Lembikisa 82), Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Neves (Moutinho 72), Ronan (Podence 65), Hodge, A. Traore (B. Traore 72), Hwang, Guedes (Campbell 66).

Unused subs | Sa, Mosquera, Toti, Bueno.

Leeds | Robles, Ayling, Firpo, Llorente, Hjelde, Gyabi, Klich, Harrison, Perkins (Gnonto 70), Gelhardt (Greenwood 54), Joseph.

Unused subs | Klaesson, Miller, Debayo, Snowdon, Moore, Allen, McCalmont.

Referee | Andre Marriner