Match report as Wolves beat Southampton to claim first Premier League win since April; Daniel Podence scored only goal of the game when he scuffed a shot past Gavin Bazunu from Matheus Nunes' cross; Southampton managed just one shot on target in underwhelming performance
Saturday 3 September 2022 20:37, UK
Daniel Podence's scuffed finish in first-half stoppage time was enough for Wolves to see off Southampton 1-0 and claim their first win in 13 Premier League matches.
The hosts had scored just twice in their opening five league games this season, which helped to explain why 6ft 7in striker Sasa Kalajdzic was handed his debut just days after arriving from Stuttgart.
But the Austria international endured a dispiriting afternoon, meaning it was instead left to Podence to secure the points for Bruno Lage's side, which he did when he just about managed to turn Matheus Nunes' cross past the sprawling Gavin Bazunu.
Southampton - who came into the game on the back of an impressive home win against Chelsea - were unable to match that midweek performance, and ended the game with just one shot on target at Molineux.
Wolves: Sa (5), Jonny (6), Collins (7), Kilman (6), Ait-Nouri (7), Nunes (8), Neves (6), Moutinho (6), Neto (6), Kalajdzic (5), Podence (7)
Subs: Guedes (5), Traore (N/A), Hwang (N/A)
Southampton: Bazunu (6), Walker-Peters (7), Bella-Kotchap (7), Salisu (7), Perraud (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Diallo (6), Elyounoussi (6), Aribo (6), A. Armstrong (6), Adams (5)
Subs: S. Armstrong (6), Djenepo (5), Edozie (7), Maitland-Niles (6), Mara (N/A)
Man of the match: Matheus Nunes
Che Adams has been leading the line impressively for Southampton this season - scoring four goals in six games before starting at Molineux - but his form deserted him as his side dropped out of the top half of the Premier League.
With Saints in desperate need of an equaliser, Adams was presented with two golden opportunities in the space of two minutes, but fluffed his lines on both occasions - something that his manager, Ralph Hasenhuttl, said was "not possible".
The Scotland international's first chance was undoubtedly the most glaring, with the ball falling to him just yards out after Jose Sa fumbled Joe Aribo's cross into his path.
However, Adams somehow misjudged his header and ended up punching the ball over the line, with the referee correctly disallowing the goal. The striker then hit the bar from Stuart Armstrong's cutback as Ralph Hasenhuttl saw his side's chances of claiming a point slip away.
Adams' openings were two of the only chances to speak of in a game that saw just three shots hit the target across the 90 minutes.
Pedro Neto and Jonny went close for Wolves either side of Podence's goal, while Armel Bella-Kotchap headed wide when free from a James Ward-Prowse corner.
Sky Sports football journalist Joe Shread:
Intrigue was high when Kalajdzic was named in the Wolves starting XI at the expense of Raul Jimenez, who was initially on the bench but dropped out of the squad after the warm-up.
But despite his imposing physique, the 25-year-old was handed a bruising welcome to the Premier League and ended up being replaced at half-time.
Kalajdzic was seeking medical attention just minutes into his debut after being sandwiched between Bella-Kotchap and Mohammed Salisu as the Southampton centre-backs sought to beat him to a high ball.
Shortly after, Kalajdzic - now sporting a bloodied lip - had his shirt ripped as a result of more robust defending, before seeking out the physios again after appearing to twist his knee awkwardly shortly before half-time.
Kalajdzic failed to reappear for the second half, meaning he ended the game with the underwhelming total of eight touches and two successful passes across his first 45 minutes in English football.
In fairness, Kalajdzic should have been presented with an open goal by Podence, but the Wolves winger instead went for goal instead of passing to his unmarked team-mate and would have been relieved to see his shot trickle past Bazunu.
Kalajdzic also has to deal with the fact he has been parachuted into a notoriously low-scoring team - Wolves have failed to reach 40 league goals in each of the last two seasons - but he and his team-mates will have to find a way of involving him more if he is to succeed where Wolves' forwards have been struggling for so long.
Bruno Lage dedicated Wolves' first league win of the season to the Wolves fans, saying: "I'm happy with the performance, I'm happy with the three points.
"This three points goes straight to the fans because at the start of the game they were singing: "Bruno, Bruno Lage!" So I think they are happy with our performance, with the way the players are playing.
"I think it was a question of bringing results. Now it's time to work."
Ralph Hasenhuttl was stunned to see his side fail to score, admitting that both he and Adams knew the striker should have found the net in the second half.
"I think we had good chances to take something and that we don't score today would normally be not possible," said the Southampton manager. "Che knows it and he's also frustrated because that must be a goal.
"We were really good in the second half and we really stressed them. We cannot demand more from the team than what we saw in the second half.
"We conceded a very, very easy goal in the first half."
|Podence (3pts), Collins (2pts), Nunes (1pt)
Wolves now face the unenviable task of navigating a double-header against Liverpool and Manchester City.
Lage's side travel to Anfield on Saturday September 10 - kick-off at 3pm - before hosting champions City on Saturday September 17, with kick-off at 12.30pm.
Southampton's next assignment is at home to Brentford on Saturday September 10, with kick-off at 3pm, before they go away to Aston Villa on Friday September 16, with kick-off at 8pm, live on Sky Sports.