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Rotherham 2 Wolves 2 - Report and pictures

Sport | Published:

Boss Walter Zenga called for passion, work rate and team spirit from his new side. It's fair to say he got it.

Altogether now...

Ten-man Wolves came from 2-0 down to earn an unlikely point on a dramatic opening day of the season in sun-kissed Yorkshire.

They did so in front of 2,500 jubilant supporters. And Jorge Mendes.

Yes, Jorge Mendes. Oh and Fosun chairman Guo Guangchang, who's worth a few billion quid. Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira was there too, wearing a Wolves tie.

This is a new Wolves era like none ever see at the club before. Football royalty are staking an interest in the club, as well as their considerable wealth.

While there will be many changes to come - before the end of August, even - Wolves and Fosun have a pretty decent foundation on which to build their exciting future.

If the signings to come are like the two on show here, Wolves will soon be going places.

Joao Texeira created the equaliser for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who already has cult hero status.

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He lashed into the net in an awe-inspiring moment in front of 2,500 short-sleeved and delirious Wolves fans.

This was despite Dominic Iorfa having seen red at the start of the second-half, with Wolves 2-1 down.

They could even have won it late on, too. What a sharp contrast to the opening 30 minutes, in which Wolves were drab and uninspiring as they fell two goals behind.

Zenga gave just Bodvarsson a full debut of his four new signings, with Texeira and Helder Costa on the bench and Silvio not deemed ready to feature.

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Wolves made an initial bright start when Jed Wallace won a corner inside the opening minute.

Rotherham: Camp; Kelly, Broadfoot, Wood, Mattock (Thorpe 71); Forde, Vaulks, Frecklington (c) (Smallwood 67), Taylor; Ward, Forster-Caskey.

Subs not used: Price, Wilson, Halford, Allan, Yates.

Goals: Ward (9), Vaulks (20)

Wolves (4-3-3): Ikeme, Iorfa, Batth (c); Hause, Doherty; Edwards, Evans, Saville; Wallace (Mason, 45), Bodvarsson (Costa, 88), Henry (Texeira, 63).

Subs not used: Lonergan, Deslandes, Coady, Price.

Goals: Saville (40), Bodvarsson (64)

Attendance: 11,291 (2,567 Wolves fans)

But their bubble was soon burst when Rotherham, after a five-minute spell of pressure that included three corners, took an early lead.

With just nine minutes on the clock, Danny Ward rose highest at the near post to send an inswinging corner past Carl Ikeme.

Wolves were struggling to compose themselves, particularly in midfield while, at the back, Kortney Hause had to whack clear after the ball bounced dangerously in the box.

Rotherham were well on top, winning the 50-50s and with a buoyant home crowd behind them. On 20 minutes, they doubled their lead with a spectacular strike.

Debutant Will Vaulks sweetly caught a 20-yard half volley which flew to Ikeme's left and into the bottom corner. It was a stunning hit that knocked Wolves for six.

Zenga reacted by changing the system to 4-4-1-1, James Henry moving to behind Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Saville and Wallace patrolling the flanks.

It made little difference, with Wolves horribly sluggish and laboured in possession.

The only bright spot was Bodvarsson, who used his 6ft 3in frame to win a succession of headers.

He also looked to bring in Wallace and Henry with some clever flicks and tidy interplay.

One such pass ended with Wallace shooting powerfully at goal, but too close to goalkeeper Lee Camp.

In general the first-half was a non-event from a Wolves point of view, with no chances created, while Ikeme was having nothing to do either at the other end.

It was becoming one of the most deflating 45 minutes in recent memory, after all the pre-season build-up and expectancy.

Zenga's frustration was clear and he bellowed loud instructions from the technical area to no avail.

But then, from nowhere, up popped Saville with a badly-needed goal five minutes before the break.

Matt Doherty played the ball forward and, with Rotherham seemingly expecting an offside flag, Saville nipped in, rounded the goalkeeper and scored from a tight angle with a tidy finish.

There were no celebrations from the players, who knew they had been handed a lifeline.

Zenga sent on Joe Mason at the break, continuing with the same formation but pushing Henry to the right wing in place of the replaced Wallace.

It nearly paid instant dividends when inside 30 seconds the ball broke to Henry on the right.

With the goalkeeper committed, he looked for Bodvarsson in the six yard box but Rotherham cleared in the nick of time.

However, any momentum Wolves accrued was soon brought to a halt when Iorfa was sent off.

He and Jake Forster-Caskey grappled from a long through ball - the Rotherham man looked to be running through on goal.

Referee Scott Duncan blew for a foul and sent off Iorfa. Wolves protested for some time, seeming to suggest that Forster-Caskey had hand-balled in the build-up, but the referee was unmoved.

There were a couple of system changes as Wolves attempted to regroup, gonig 3-4-2 and then 4-3-2, while Rotherham went close when Ward just failed to connect with a ball across goal.

Everything was going against Wolves - but then came a dramatic equaliser out of the blue.

Substitute Texeira had only been on the field for one minute when he broke from midfield.

He slid the ball perfectly to Bodvarsson, 15 yards out to the right of the box, and he unleashed an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.

The Wolves fans behind the goal went potty, as did Zenga who pumped his fists on the touchline.

The new boss had called for passion, desire and team spirit from his new team - and he was getting it in abundance.

Suddenly, despite their numerical disadvantage, Wolves were the better team, with Texeira playing an influential role floating behind the front two.

Bodvarsson won another corner which was cleared, before Lee Evans sent a long-range shot over the top.

With the clock ticking, Wolves did all they could to frustrate the hosts, playing for time and drawing fouls.

They even created a great opportunity to nick all three points, with Bodvarsson playing in Mason in a late counter attack.

The striker couldn't put his laces through an effort that was comfortable for Camp.

No matter. Zenga and Wolves had proved their point, in more ways than one.

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