Wednesday 21 August 2019

Dendocker strike keeps Wolves' European dreams alive going into final day

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Fulham 0

Fulham’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa battles match-winner Leander Dendoncker. (Nick Potts/PA)
Fulham’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa battles match-winner Leander Dendoncker. (Nick Potts/PA)

Nick Mashiter

Leander Dendocker's late strike kept Wolves' European dreams alive after a 1-0 win over Fulham.

Watched by WWE wrestler Sin Cara, a friend of striker Raul Jimenez, Dendoncker landed the knockout blow against the doomed Cottagers.

Diogo Jota had earlier wasted three fine openings and Dendoncker hit the bar before his winner at Molineux.

Relegated Fulham were left to rue Aleksandar Mitrovic's second-half miss as they slipped to a 25th Premier League defeat of the campaign.

Wolves sit seventh ahead of next weekend's season finale which would book them a Europa League qualifying spot if Watford lose the FA Cup final to Manchester City.

It was a deserved victory even if the game was instantly forgettable.

Jota had earlier been booked for diving but Wolves' early livewire was only denied a 11th-minute opener by Sergio Rico.

Jonny's cute pass found Jimenez in space and his flick fell for Jota but Rico superbly turned his low effort behind.

Jota, with two goals in his last two games, was hunting more and drilled just wide three minutes later after Joao Moutinho robbed a dawdling Maxime Le Marchand.

Despite Jota's efforts the game struggled to get going and drifted into an end-of-season affair which lacked inspiration.

Any flashpoints came in flurries an it took until the 30th minute for another to come when Jota's shot was deflected over and from the resulting short corner Moutinho's cross was nodded onto the bar by Dendoncker.

Thee minutes later Willy Boly headed over and, at the other end, Joe Bryan's drive was tipped over by Patricio five minutes before the break.

Wolves were unbeaten in their previous seven league games at Molineux but almost paid the price for a pedestrian pace when Mitrovic missed a golden chance just after the hour.

The quiet Ryan Sessegnon wriggled onto Cyrus Christie's throughball and cut back for Mitrovic, only for the striker to blaze over from 10 yards.

It spurred Wolves into action and Rico palmed Ruben Neves' 25-yard drive behind and a minute later Rico got a vital touch to Matt Doherty's far-post header.

And Fulham were made to pay for Mitrovic's miss when Dendocker struck with 15 minutes left.

Moutinho's neat pass slipped Doherty in and he crossed for the onrushing midfielder to guide a cushioned volley into the corner from 10 yards.

Fulham were beaten and Jota almost added a second when his fierce half volley hit the bar.

But the Cottagers did create some history when Harvey Elliott, aged 16 years and 30 days, became the Premier League's youngest ever player after coming on as a late substitute.

PA Media

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