Wolves 1 – 4 Brighton. A stunning solo goal from Kaoru Mitoma and a second-half double from Solly March helped Brighton cruise to victory at Wolves and make it two wins from two at the start of the Premier League season.
Mitoma collected Pervis Estupinan’s pass near the halfway line, slalomed his way through a number of half-hearted challenges and beat the onrushing Jose Sa with a calm finish into the far corner.
Wolves had opportunities to restore parity but Fabio Silva was denied by Seagulls goalkeeper Jason Steele before Rayan Ait-Nouri fired over the crossbar from an excellent position inside the penalty area.
The hosts were made to pay for their profligacy in a devastating nine-minute spell at the beginning of the second half, Estupinan doubling the visitors’ lead with a low finish just 41 seconds after the restart.
March made it 3-0 with a first-time strike into the roof of the net – a finish that will no doubt have caught the eye of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The winger grabbed his second of the game four minutes later, side-footing Danny Welbeck’s low cross into the net via the inside of the left-hand post.
Second-half substitute Hwang Hee-chan pulled one back for Wolves with a well-placed header, but it was scant consolation on a sobering afternoon for Gary O’Neil’s side, who had Matheus Nunes sent off for a second bookable offence in added time.
Before the game, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said he felt his side were reaching “a higher level” despite the high-profile departures of Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo this summer.
It is hard to find fault with the Italian’s assessment after the Seagulls scored four goals for the second consecutive game – including three in a rampant start to the second period.
The lively Mitoma was a threat throughout, enjoying more touches inside the opposition box than any other player on the pitch and showing magnificent composure to tee up Estupinan for the Seagulls’ second of the game.
March also delivered an outstanding display, lifting his season tally to three goals and recovering possession more often than any of his team-mates.
The 29-year-old could have had a hat-trick after cutting inside and hitting a low effort at goal from the edge of the box, but it was straight at Sa.
There may be room for improvement defensively but on this evidence, Brighton look more than capable of matching – or even surpassing – last season’s sixth-place finish.
Wolves felt extremely hard done by after leaving Manchester United empty-handed on Monday evening, but despite creating enough opportunities to cancel out Mitoma’s first-half strike they can have few complaints at the manner of Saturday’s defeat.
Silva, making his first start for the club since April 2022, had an early effort disallowed for offside before finding himself one-on-one with Steele not long afterwards, but the 21-year-old’s finish lacked conviction.
Matheus Cunha and Pedro Neto both failed to hit the target from promising positions later in the half, before Ait-Nouri blazed over the bar after a darting run into the box.
Those opportunities may have given Wolves supporters reason for optimism at the interval, but O’Neil’s team were torn apart by Brighton early in the second half.
Nunes’ needless sending off in stoppage time – for a petulant shove on Estupinan – capped a miserable day for Wolves, who have lost their opening two games and left the field to a chorus of boos.
Wolves were bottom of the Premier League in November last year before battling to safety under Julen Lopetegui, and this could be another long season for the Black Country club unless they raise their game at both ends of the pitch.
source – BBC