Braga 3-3 Wolves: Visitors qualify for Europa League round of 32
Report as Wolves are pegged back from 3-1 down but qualify for knockout stages of Europa League
Last Updated: 28/11/19 9:23pm
Wolves qualified for the Europa League round of 32 with a game to spare despite letting a two-goal lead slip to draw 3-3 in Braga.
Braga took the lead through Andre Horta's deflected effort (6), but Wolves levelled as Raul Jimenez headed home his 10th goal in nine games (14).
Matt Doherty's header (34) and Adama Traore's fierce low drive (35) put the visitors in control, and although Braga looked down and out, they forced two goals in the second half through Paulinho (64) and Barbosa Fransergio (79) to level it up.
The result means both Braga and Wolves qualify, and Wolves can finish top of the group if they beat Besiktas in their final game in a fortnight and Braga fail to beat Slovan Bratislava.
How Wolves let lead slip but got job done
On a soaking pitch in Braga, the hosts took a fortunate lead early on as Horta's long-range effort deflected off the boot of Ruben Neves and flew past the reach of Rui Patricio.
Braga: Eduardo (7), Ricardo Esgaio (5), Bruno Viana (6), Wallace Santos (6), Nuno Sequeira (6), Andre Horta (6), Fransergio (7), Joao Palhinha (6), Ricardo Horta (6), Paulinho (7), Galeno (8)
Subs: Eduardo (6), Fonte (6), Pablo (NA)
Wolves: Rui Patricio (6), Doherty (6), Dendoncker (6), Coady (6), Saiss 96), Jonny (7), Moutinho (7), Neves (6), Adama Traore (8), Diogo Jota (7), Raul Jimenez (8)
Subs: Neto (7), Vinagre (7), Cutrone (NA)
Man of the match: Raul Jimenez
But Wolves were soon back on terms through the in-form Jimenez, who guided a header back into the far corner from Jonny's fine left-wing cross. It was the Mexican's 15th goal of the season, and his ninth in the Europa League.
Two goals in the space of a minute then put Wolves in control as they showed buckets of attacking confidence. First, the brilliant Jimenez spotted the run of Doherty, who headed home from 10 yards, before Traore found a yard on Wallace inside the box, lashing under Eduardo from 15 yards.
Wolves should have had a fourth after the break as Traore's cross was headed goalwards by Diogo Jota, but Eduardo beat it away well, and their failure to capitalise did come back to bite them.
Braga halved the deficit against the run of play as Paulinho finished off at close range at the back post via some sleepy Wolves defending.
Their leveller had Nuno fuming as Miguel Nuno Sequeira's cross found the unmarked Fransergio to head home in between his markers, leaving the Wolves manager with an inquest to organise into how they had let slip from such a controlling position.
What the manager said
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo: "We are trying to develop and improve and to achieve other results. We don't have limits, we always try to keep going. It's not about momentum, if you expect to play when you have good momentum
you'll have problems. We always want to compete, the momentum doesn't mean anything.
"It's about preparing yourself for the competition, that's why you don't have limits. It was our 26th game, we started very early in the season, but the balance has been good and the team is improving."
- Wolves remain unbeaten away from home in European competition this season, winning five games and drawing once.
- Braga are unbeaten in 12 matches in all European competition since defeat at Marseille in February 2018 in the Europa League (W8 D4).
- Wolves have lost just one of their last seven matches in all competitions when conceding the first goal of the game (W1 D5) - against Aston Villa in the League Cup in October (1-2).
The draw for the last 32 of the Europa League takes place on Monday December 16 in Nyon, with proceedings set to start at 12pm, UK time.
Wolves now host Sheffield United on Sunday at 2pm in the Premier League, while their last Europa League group-stage clash is against Besiktas at Molineux on December 12 at 8pm.