Wolves’ Raúl Jiménez completes comeback win to dash Norwich hopes

Romain Saïss and Raúl Jiménez overturned Todd Cantwell’s opener to give Wolves a 2-1 victory at Norwich

A week after beating Tottenham into submission but failing to find the nerve to finish them off, Wolves responded with a timely exhibition of their own fortitude by recovering from a harrowing first half and a goal down to see off a resplendent home side.

After well-taken goals from Todd Cantwell and Romain Saïss, neither for the first or last time, it was Raúl Jiménez who broke the deadlock in the 80th minute.

“Second-half much better,” said Nuno Espírito Santo, shrugging. “We adjust, we press high, we cover the ball, we create the chances, we managed the game. Happy with the win. Not so happy with the first half.”

The last time Wolves and Norwich faced each other they were in the Championship. Wolves won the division that season and Norwich followed the next.

They carry similarities – two coaches with little experience in England who have built these teams in their image by tapping into their local markets. But it is also a reflection of the multitude of scenarios that await promoted teams at the highest level. As Daniel Farke’s Norwich prepare for a long fight to remain in the league, Nuno’s Wolves dream of a top-four finish.

Although Norwich have struggled against teams around them, they have shown that they can punch up and play their best football against the top teams with the pressure diminished.

From the beginning Norwich dominated with style, passing the ball quickly and accurately, constantly arriving first at the second balls and imbuing every move with complete commitment.

The entire team flowed but throughout the first half Emi Buendía seemed to ascend to some other godly plane. Everything that was good passed through his right foot as he stroked an endless stream of touches with defence-splitting passes and constantly found his teammates in space to relieve pressure from the Wolves press.

After numerous chances generated by Buendía for Teemu Pukki, the Wolves defence was breached after Cantwell lashed a brilliant strike into the top-left corner. He had initially won the ball back and then found Kenny McLean on the wing, whose cross could only find Jonny at the far post. But the Wolves defender stumbled backwards and on to his backside, rolling a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Cantwell. The midfielder took his opportunity with ease.

Wolves had started meekly and for much of the first half they were overrun. As they suffered through the barrage of attacks, it took 25 minutes for them to register their first shot on target. It was not a very good one – with Adama Traoré’s strike easily saved by Tim Krul.

The away team slowly found their feet after the goal, though, Traoré causing a nuisance and João Moutinho gaining more control over the game, but multiple players surrounding him to blunt the attack.

They finished the first half with possession and held it again at the start of the second, persevering despite an uncharacteristic lack of cohesion.

Wolves have been defined by their consistency and the trust that has enveloped the team and driven them into Europe and beyond. Even as they missed sloppy passes, they continued to move forward with the belief that they could recover and they took their first big chance when Moutinho floated a high ball into the box after a short corner before Saïss leaped high and buried his header into the net.

The game opened up, both sets of fans roaring their team on in a frantic search for a winner. Pukki generated a great chance for Norwich, but it was Jiménez who emerged from the goalmouth scramble by burying his rebounded shot to clinch the victory.

After their 11-game unbeaten run in the Premier League was so bitterly ruined last week, it was imperative for Wolves to reclaim their momentum immediately. Norwich will rue an enormous opportunity missed.


Tumaini Carayol at Carrow Road

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