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Raul Jimenez nets the winner as Wolves fight back in Bratislava

The striker scored from the penalty spot in the 64th minute.

Raul Jimenez scored his second penalty in two games to earn Wolves victory (Nick Potts/PA)
Raul Jimenez scored his second penalty in two games to earn Wolves victory (Nick Potts/PA)

By Nick Mashiter, PA, Bratislava

Raul Jimenez capped Wolves’ Europa League comeback as they laboured to a 2-1 win at Slovan Bratislava.

The striker’s penalty fired Nuno Espirito Santo’s men to an unconvincing victory as they moved into second in Group K.

Andraz Sporar’s opener was cancelled out by Romain Saiss’ deflected second-half effort before Jimenez won and converted a penalty five minutes later.

Diogo Jota was sent off late on after two quickfire yellow cards but they survived to sit a point behind group leaders Braga.

The game was initially due to be played behind closed doors after Bratislava were sanctioned for racist chants and a banner from their fans in the Europa League play-off game against PAOK in August.

It had the atmosphere of a pop concert, especially with a pre-match light show for the 20,333 fans – most of them under 14 years of age.

And if Wolves were expecting it to be child’s play in front of thousands of kids they were proved wrong after falling behind after 11 minutes.

Sporar was picked out by a brilliant ball from Rabiu Ibrahim which split the Wolves backline.

The Slovenia international wriggled ahead of Conor Coady and, despite the skipper’s attempts to recover, Sporar’s shot clipped the defender to fly in low past Rui Patricio.

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Nuno Espirito Santo saw his side win away (Dave Howarth/PA)

It was another costly mistake from Coady, whose error gifted Danny Ings a goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton.

Dominik Greif turned away Ruben Vinagre’s near-post drive after 22 minutes but Wolves failed to seriously test the hosts in the first half.

Willy Boly’s header dropped wide nine minutes before the break and Morgan Gibbs-White shot over in injury-time, neither signalling a Wolves revival.

But the half-time introduction of Adama Traore, for the anonymous Patrick Cutrone, gave the visitors a much needed spark and they slowly improved.

Gibbs-White should have levelled three minutes into the second half but he scuffed his eight-yard shot at Greif.

The impressive Sporar then unleashed a warning shot which Patricio tipped over before the game turned in five second-half minutes.

There was little danger when Saiss collected a loose pass in midfield but Bratislava allowed him to advance.

The midfielder was given time to shoot and his 30-yard effort took a deflection to wrong-foot Greif, who could not keep it out.

  1. Braga - 7 points
  2. Wolves - 6
  3. Slovan Bratislava - 4
  4. Besiktas - 0

Then, with Wolves’ tails up, Vernon De Marco pushed Jimenez in the back as he tried to reach Vinagre’s cross and the striker picked himself up to stroke in the spot-kick.

It knocked what courage Bratislava had left and, aside from a miscued Sporar header, they never went close to levelling.

Yet Wolves still had to negotiate the final few minutes with 10 men after Jota’s mindless red card.

He was booked after a spat with Juri Medvedev in the 86th minute and then, just 73 seconds later, went through the back of Vasil Bozhikov to receive his marching orders.

PA

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