Wolves 2-1 Torino (agg 5-3): Wolves secure place in Europa League group stage as Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker score
- Wolves are through to the Europa League group stage after 2-1 win vs Torino
- Raul Jimenez put Wolves in the lead on the night but Andrea Belotti levelled
- Leander Dendoncker then scored as Wolves secured a 5-3 win on aggregate
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo warned last week that his players and their fans could not afford to fantasise about European away days. They can now.
After winning 3-2 in Turin, Wolves finished the job at the Molineux, ensuring they join Arsenal and Manchester United in the hat for Friday’s Europa League draw.
A group hug among Nuno and his coaching staff greeted the final whistle. Wolves’ first season in Europe since 1980-81 will not be ending any time soon.
Raul Jimenez scored as Wolves confirm their place in the Europa League group stage
Jimenez celebrates following his goal, which saw Wolves build upon their 3-2 first leg lead
The 28-year-old showed impressive composure to find the back of the net in the 30th minute
Wolves: Rui Patricio; Vallejo, Coady, Boly; Traore, Dendoncker, Saiss, Moutinho (Neves 90), Otto; Jimenez (Neto 90), Jota (Cutrone 81)
Subs: Ruddy, Bennett, Gibbs-White, Vinagre
Goals: Jimenez 30, Dendoncker 58
Torino: Sirigu; Izzo, Bremer, Bonifazi; De Silvestri, Baselli, Rincon (Meite 72), Lukic, Aina (Berenguer 70); Belotti, Zaza (Millico 82)
Subs: Singo, Rosati, Parigini, Djidji
Goal: Belotti 57
‘Fantastic, isn’t it?’ Nuno said afterwards. ‘This is work that started three years ago, in the Championship, building and building. This is so important for us. Massive, massive.
‘After training, we will watch the draw. On Sunday, we go again in the Premier League.’
A trip to Everton comes next and it was Raul Jimenez’s sixth Europa League goal this season that got Wolves going here.
Leander Dendoncker later completed the scoreline – scoring 55 seconds after Walter Mazzarri’s Torino had equalised to give themselves a glimmer of hope.
Unlike many other managers, Nuno sees this competition as an opportunity rather than a hassle. He wants his Wolves squad to embrace their relentless schedule.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo celebrates following his side’s victory against Torino
Leander Dendoncker made it 2-1 to Wolves on the night as his side progressed
Dendoncker is congratulated by team-mate Diogo Jota following his strike from 15 yards out
Andrea Belotti pulled Torino level on the night but Wolves still managed to prevail
Belotti’s goal gave Torino encouragement, but Wolves still managed to make it through
Wolves’ Adama Traore sees his attempt saved by Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu
Traore attempts to send in a cross but it is blocked by Torino defender Ola Aina
We are not even in September and 32-year-old Joao Moutinho was making his ninth start of the season here. Diogo Jota was starting for the eighth time, and Jimenez the seventh.
The visitors controlled possession but that played into Wolves’ hands. The hosts could sit back and pick their moments to counter. It was after 30 minutes that they broke the deadlock.
Adama Traore turned Temitayo Aina inside out before producing a cross towards the near post. Jimenez needed only a single touch to beat goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
In the 57th minute, Torino made it 1-1, with Andrea Belotti heading home from a free-kick. It increased nerves, but only for a moment. Within a minute, Wolves were ahead again.
Jota smashed a low shot at Sirigu and Dendoncker put away the rebound, scoring off the post.
At noon on Friday, the draw for the Europa League group stages will be made in Monaco. Anyone monitoring the television ratings may notice a fair few tuning in from the Midlands.
Jonny Otto attempts to make an impact for Wolves during the play-off round clash at Molineux
Diogo Jota tries to win the ball as he takes on Torino’s Nascimento Bremer and Armando Izzo
Torino’s Tomas Rincon (left) and Daniele Baselli look dejected after Wolves’ second goal