Express & Star

Wolves 2 Leeds 4 - Report

Wolves were dragged back into the relegation scrap after a poor 4-2 loss at home to Leeds.

Last updated

Jack Harrison gave the visitors the lead within six minutes, before Wolves wasted several good chances to level before the break – and were again denied a penalty that many felt should have been given.

Luke Ayling and Rasmus Kristensen put Leeds 3-0 up by the 62nd minute, before Wolves sparked into life.

Jonny Castro Otto’s smart finish got them a goal back, before Matheus Cunha’s first goal for Wolves made it 3-2.

With Wolves pushing for a way back into the game, Jonny was rightly given a straight red card for a poor foul on Ayling

In the dying minutes of added time, Rodrigo added a fourth for Leeds. A long VAR check did not overturn the goal, and unused substitute Matheus Nunes was given a straight red card for his appeals.


Julen Lopetegui made two changes to the side that lost at Newcastle the week before, and started in a 4-3-3 formation.

Pedro Neto replaced Adama Traore, while Joao Gomes made his first start since signing in January, as he came in for Joao Moutinho.

Pablo Sarabia and Diego Costa returned from injury and made the bench, as Rayan Ait-Nouri and Hwang Hee-chan dropped out.

Javi Gracia also made two changes to his Leeds side, who started in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Weston McKennie came in for the injured Tyler Adams, while Wilfried Gnonto replaced Crysencio Summerville.

The first opportunity of the game fell to McKennie, when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box, but his poor effort sailed over the bar.

After that early chance, it only took six minutes for Leeds to take the lead. Gnonto took on Nelson Semedo with ease and cut the ball back to Harrison, who finished into the top corner from just inside the box.

Wolves could, and in many eyes should, have had a penalty in the next phase of play but were once again denied by the officials. Semedo was caught by Junior Firpo’s clumsy tackle, but referee Michael Salisbury did not give it and a brief VAR check did not overturn it. Lopetegui and his staff were furious on the touchline.

Daniel Podence (Getty)

In what was an open and intense start to the game, Wolves should have scored. Daniel Podence did well to steal the ball and drive into the box. His effort was saved and the rebound fell to Neto, but he failed to catch the ball with conviction and his tame effort was cleared off the line by Maximilian Wober.

Wolves reacted well to going behind and dominated possession, but were unable to carve out another clear chance.

But a big chance finally came after 26 minutes, and Wolves should have taken it. Max Kilman had drifted out to the left and Ruben Neves found him with a wonderful pass. The centre-back then delivered a dangerous cross that just needed a tap-in at the back post. Semedo then had a shot saved before Podence’s bicycle kick was wide.

Neves then took aim from distance and saw his effort fly just wide, as Wolves continued to put Leeds under pressure.

For all of Wolves’ dominance, however, McKennie came close for Leeds when his shot deflected just wide in a dangerous position.

Throughout Wolves’ dominant spell, Leeds were already beginning to waste time – resulting in goalkeeper Illan Meslier being warned after just 42 minutes.

Despite all of their chances, Wolves failed to take a single one and entered the half-time break losing 1-0.

At the start of the second half, Lopetegui brought on Nathan Collins and Sarabia, with Craig Dawson and Neto coming off.

The first chance came when Collins won a header from a corner and after a scramble, Mario Lemina slotted home, only to be flagged for offside.

But in similar fashion to the first half, Leeds scored a goal in the opening minutes of the second 45. In a show of dreadful defending from Wolves, they allowed a corner to come all the way through to the back post and an unmarked Ayling happily headed home. Gomes was the closest player to Ayling, as no one in a Wolves shirt followed him.

Wolves pushed for a way back into the game following the goal, before making another double change after 57 minutes. Adama and Cunha came on for Semedo and Podence, meaning Adama was playing at right-back.

Adama made an instant impact and set up Sarabia, who should have at least hit the target, but fired his effort inches wide.

At the other end, Gomes made a big block to deny Brenden Aaronson, who almost added Leeds’ third.

Kristensen came on after 61 mins, changing Leeds to a back five, and within seconds the substitute put them 3-0 up. Jonny made a mess of his clearance at the back post and Kristensen stole the ball before finishing into the far corner.

Pedro Neto (Getty)

However, almost instantly Wolves got a goal back and Jonny made up for his error. Meslier made a mistake with his clearance and with the goalkeeper off his line, Jonny’s superb first-time finish looped over him and into the roof of the net.

The game was incredibly open as Wolves chased it, which was allowing Leeds chances. Rodrigo should have had an easy effort on goal before Lemina made a crucial tackle.

Wolves should then have scored a second, but predictably fluffed their lines. Adama was played through by Sarabia and put the ball on a plate for Raul Jimenez, who had his shot saved from close range.

Moments later, an almost identical chance saw Sarabia have a shot blocked.

Then, in the 73rd minute, Cunha dragged Wolves back into the contest with his first goal for the club. The Brazilian picked the ball up on the edge of the box and saw his deflected effort wrong-foot Meslier. The goal also ended Wolves’ striker curse, as a striker scored a Premier League goal for the club for the first time since March 10, 2022.

With Wolves chasing the game, Jonny was then given a straight red card for a very poor foul on Ayling. With his studs up, he came over the top of the ball and caught Ayling on his shin. Jonny was originally given a yellow card, but a VAR check resulted in a red card.

The home crowd was buoyed by the announcement that there would be seven minutes of added time, as Wolves looked for an equaliser, but instead the game descended into chaos.

Rodrigo scored a fourth for Leeds, before a long VAR check to determine whether Adama had been fouled by Summerville in the build-up. Wolves protested aggressively and referee Salisbury spent a long time checking the pitch side monitor, before deciding to award the goal.

Nunes, who never came on from the bench, was then given a straight red card for his protests.

Wolves did not have time to get back into the game, and fell to a 4-2 loss.

Key Moments

GOAL 6 Harrison puts Leeds ahead

GOAL 49 Ayling doubles Leeds’ lead

GOAL 62 Kristensen puts the visitors 3-0 up

GOAL 65 Jonny scores for Wolves

GOAL 73 Cunha nets his first Wolves goal

RED CARD 85 Jonny is sent off

GOAL 97 Rodrigo scores for Leeds

RED CARD 99 Nunes is sent off


Wolves: Sa, Semedo (Adama, 57), Dawson (Collins, 45), Kilman, Jonny, Lemina, Neves (Moutinho, 76), Gomes, Neto (Sarabia, 45), Jimenez, Podence (Cunha, 57).

Subs not used: Bentley, Toti, Nunes, Costa.

Leeds: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo (Strijk, 81), Roca, McKennie, Aaronson (Summerville, 81), Harrison, Gnonto (Kristensen, 61), Bamford (Rodrigo, 66).

Subs not used: Robles, Cooper, Gray, Sinisterra, Georginio.