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Wolverhampton Wanderers score last-minute winner to sink Everton

Wolverhampton Wanderers score last-minute winner to sink Everton

Rayan Ait-Nouri scored a dramatic last-minute winner as Wolverhampton Wanderers‘ first Premier League game under Julen Lopetegui ended in a 2-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.

Early strikes from Yerry Mina and Daniel Podence before the half-hour mark had left the game delicately poised heading into the second half, where a quick Wolves counter-attack ended with Ait-Nouri poking home in the fifth minute of injury time to send the visiting crowd into pandemonium.

Wolves had not won a Boxing Day top-flight fixture since 1978 before the 2022-23 season, and their quest to end that 44-year spell got off to the worst start, as Everton took just seven minutes to draw first blood.

An inswinging corner from Dwight McNeil met the head of Mina, who easily outmuscled Hugo Bueno to create space and glance a header into the far corner beyond the reach of Jose Sa.

However, a smartly-worked Wolves set piece of their own worked wonders to draw them level in the 22nd minute, as a short corner worked its way to Joao Moutinho on the edge of the box.

The Portuguese veteran lifted a delightful outside-of-the-boot pass to the back post, where Podence ghosted in to finish calmly past Jordan Pickford and quickly restore parity for the visitors.

Daniel Podence celebrates scoring for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Everton on December 26, 2022© Reuters

Lopetegui’s men still had questions asked of them defensively as Everton probed for their second goal, but Anthony Gordon wasted a good chance from a 25-yard free kick early into the second half.

A fracas broke out just after the hour mark as Max Kilman connected with the chest of Idrissa Gueye with a high boot, but Craig Pawson only brandished a yellow card for the Wolves man.

Goalmouth action was not on offer for much of the second half, but there was sympathy for goalscorer Mina, who appeared to damage his hamstring in the final 15 minutes and was brought off for the returning Ben Godfrey – making his first appearance since breaking his leg against Chelsea in August.

Five minutes were added on for either side to try to snatch all three points, and Everton groans were audible as their side hesitated to punt the ball forward, but they were punished dearly when they did.

The visitors stole the ball back in the final minute of injury time and set the lightning-quick Adama Traore down the right, and the Spaniard’s deflected cross fell for Ait-Nouri to prod home right at the death and spark wild celebrations among Lopetegui and co.

Wolves have now lifted themselves off the bottom of the table before a meeting with Manchester United on New Year’s Eve, while Everton have the Red Devils’ neighbours Manchester City lying in wait this weekend.

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