Wolves booked their place in the Carabao Cup third round with a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough
A professional display from a much-changed Wolves line-up saw off Championship challenge, with Leo Bonatini and Helder Costa providing the goals that gave Wolves safe passage into the next round.
Nuno’s starting XI contained only Conor Coady and Matt Doherty from the side that held Premier League champions Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the weekend, with a number of players handed minutes for the first time this season.
Competitive debuts were were also gifted to summer signing Leander Dendoncker and Academy graduate Elliott Watt, on the right side of the back three and centre of midfield respectively.
Sheffield Wednesday came closest in the early stages when David Jones delivered a dangerous free-kick into the Wolves box. The ball took two deflections in a crowded penalty area before landing safely in the arms of John Ruddy.
Romain Saiss’ pinpoint 40-yard ball to Ruben Vinagre went unrewarded when the Portuguese ran the ball out of play after doing all the hardwork – three elaborate stepovers leaving one Wednesday defender in a spin.
The best chance of the half fell to Gibbs-White when he was played in behind during a two-on-two breakaway. Bonatini provided an accurate pass to cut the defence, but Gibbs-White’s left footed shot bobbled across the goal and harmlessly past the post.
The two players combined once more five minutes before the break with Bonatini turning his man on the edge of the penalty area before sliding it into Gibbs-White 18 yards out. The young international took two touches in search of an angle, but his shot cannoned off the defender and over the bar.
Half-time: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolves 0
Adama Traore had been a beefy bundle of energy since the first minute, but was yet to carve out a clear chance on goal for himself or a teammate. That all changed seven minutes after the restart when the Spaniard skipped towards the Wednesday box at full speed and slid the ball through a sea of blue and white to Gibbs-White unmarked on the penalty spot. The teenager turned and shot, but into the arms of Wednesday stopper Joe Wildsmith.
Traore’s insatiable appetite to run at players finally paid dividends less than a minute later when he shrugged off his challenger on the right of the box and dribbled along the byline, before cutting a low pass back to Bonatini, who rifled past Wildsmith infront of 2,945 travelling Wolves fans in the Lepping Lane End.
The goal seemed to spark Sheffield Wednesday into life, and a goalmouth scramble in the Wolves box nearly provided a quick leveller when the ball ricocheted up and into the air on the edge of the box. Former Wolves man Steve Fletcher hooked the ball towards goal in an ungainly fashion, but Ruddy was at full stretch to push the effort out for a corner.
Fernando Foriestieri was the next player to test Ruddy’s reactions when he elected to power his free-kick from the right of the penalty area straight at goal rather than over the wall and across the box. Ruddy was on his toes though and scrambled across his line to parry behind.
But five minutes from the end it was Wolves who sealed their place in the Carabao Cup third round draw, when late substitute Costa was brought down in the box by Fox, and the number 10 stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
Full-time: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolves 2
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Jones (Kirby 85’), Fox, Fletcher © (Stobbs 73), Boyd, Hutchinson, Baker, Nielsen, Preston (Nuhiu 72), Lee, Forestieri.
Unused subs: Dawson, Palmer, O’Grady, Hunt.
Booked: Baker, Nielson.
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Dendoncker, Coady, Hause, Vinagre, Saiss, Watt (Goncalves 62’), Traore, Gibbs-White (Costa 71’), Bonatini (Asley-Seal 80’).
Unused subs: Norris, Bennett, Otto, Giles.
Goals: Bonatini 53’, Costa 85’.
Referee: Robert Jones.