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Manchester City 0-2 Wolves
by James Nalton
WOLVERHAMPTON Wanderers became the first side to win at Eastlands this year thanks to two textbook counter-attack goals from Adama Traore.
The decision of Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo to move Traore from wing-back to join Raul Jimenez in the forward line late in the second half was key.
It meant the Spanish wide-man could use his blistering pace against a Manchester City back line which was exposed as they chased a winner, and then an equaliser. He did so to devastating effect, with a little help from Jimenez.
Wolves had by far the clearest chances of the first half, in what were warning signs of things to come later on for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The first of these, and perhaps best, fell to Patrick Cutrone from a Traore through-ball, but the Italian got his shot all wrong.
City gifted the visitors further chances via stray passes from Riyad Mahrez and Nicolas Otamendi, who both sent Jiminez through on goal only for him to be thwarted twice by the recovering Fernandinho.
The home side began to dominate the game as expected towards the end of the first half, and a goal seemed inevitable. But it didn’t arrive.
Raheem Sterling forced a good save from Rui Patricio, while Joao Cancelo and Ilkay Gundogan saw efforts from distance drift wide.
David Silva hit the bar from a free kick in the second half, and substitute Bernardo Silva had a great chance from Cancelo’s cross but his shot was blocked by teammate Sergio Aguero.
Then came a repeat of the mistakes City had made in the first half. This time it was Cancelo who gave the ball away, and this time it was punished.
Jimenez had to get past Nicolas Otamendi and did so with ease. Traore was on hand to receive the pass from the striker and netted with a nice finish past Ederson.
What happened next was no surprise. More City pressure, but their failure to score a goal at Eastlands for the first time since a 0-0 draw against Huddersfield back in May 2018, with that season’s league title already won, was something of a shock.
Traore had more to do for his second, which again came from a Jimenez pass, but his dribbling pace meant Fernandinho was unable to perform a last-ditch tackle on this occasion, and the Wolves man doubled his tally.
City are now eight points off the top of the table, but for Wolves and their manager it was a much-needed win which they hope will kickstart their season.
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