Everton 0 – 1 Wolves. Substitute Sasa Kalajdzic flicked in a late header to give Wolves their first Premier League win of the season and leave Everton pointless and bottom of the table.
The Austria striker, who joined Wolves at the start of last season but suffered an ACL injury on his debut, leapt above Nathan Patterson to head home from Pedro Neto’s cross to get their season up and running.
After a forgettable opening period in which both sides lacked cutting edge in the final third, the contest became much more of a spectacle in the second half.
Wolves failed to find a shot on target in the first half and thought they had broken the deadlock after half-time, but Fabio Silva’s celebrations were cut short as his close-range finish was ruled out for offside.
The Portuguese striker should have converted when Everton got into a defensive muddle and presented him with a clear-cut opportunity but Silva ran through and struck wide of goal.
The two goalkeepers then exchanged stunning saves as Jordan Pickford made a sharp reflex save to keep out team-mate Jarrad Branthwaite’s inadvertent effort, while Jose Sa superbly tipped over Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stooping header.
The home faithful thought they had won it with 11 minutes remaining when Doucoure slotted in to finish off a fine move, but the assistant’s flag went up for offside and Kalajdzic struck late on to stun the hosts.
This match was being labelled as a relegation six-pointer in jest and it was Wolves who stubbornly held fast before taking home all the points.
The West Midlands side have suffered upheaval over the summer, with manager Julen Lopetgui being replaced by Gary O’Neil just a few days before the opening game and star players such as captain Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez all departing.
But it was the forgotten man Kalajdzic who popped up with the winning goal at Goodison Park for Wolves first victory of the season following back-to-back defeats.
Kalajdzic, who netted with one of only two shots on target, joined for £15m from Stuttgart last summer but suffered an ACL injury to wreck his home debut and the rest of his campaign.
Centre-back Branthwaite impressed on his first appearance of the campaign and should have scored when the ball popped up to him in the centre of goal, but he could only head straight at Sa.
On-loan Arnaut Danjuma got his first start but could not find a way past Sa, who tipped the Dutchman’s shot onto the post and kept out a poked effort.
There were jeers at the final whistle as the hosts remain in search of their first point and goal of the campaign.
Everton now face another monumental contest at Sheffield United next Saturday in the early kick-off (12.30pm).
source – BBC