The Portuguese midfielders celebration befitted a man making his first appearance of the campaign following a back injury and the festivities intensified when Jonny Castro Otto added a second goal to propel the promoted club up to eighth in the table.
Wolves have a strong chance of staying there if they convert chances more consistently. For a long time here, they, like Southampton, were guilty of being irritatingly polite: well mannered in their play, easy on the eye but toothless. Nuno Espírito Santos side, in particular, have had onlookers cooing about their cultured build-ups this season but cursing their inability to turn chances into goals with often enough. The manager insisted it was just a matter of time before his team upped their strike rate and he was vindicated here. Eventually.
However, Nuno is expected to keep faith with the side who sit 10th in the table after six games, meaning £18million record buy Adama Traore continues to wait for his full Premier League debut.
Read more After naming the same starting lineup for a seventh successive league match – a record in the Premier League era – Nuno saw his side begin well. Castro Otto brought a spectacular save from Alex McCarthy with a shot from 14 yards after a fine Wolves move but, in truth, he should have scored. At least his effort was better than the header that Matt Doherty sent wide from a free-kick a few minutes earlier.
Wolves controlled the early exchanges thanks partly to the class of Rubén Neves and João Moutinho in midfield. But when the visitors grew more bold, Mario Lemina and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg got the upper hand there. Southampton started to threaten around the half-hour, Nathan Redmond playing a dainty pass to Mohamed Elyounoussi but Rui Patrício hurried off his line to block the forwards weak shot.
Ivan Cavaleiro (back) and Leander Dendoncker (match fitness) are yet to play in the league this season but are now available.
Read more McCarthy made a decent save in the 39th minute to foil Raúl Jiménez after good work by Doherety and Neves.
With both sides sensing victory was within their grasp, there was more bite to the second half. But still neither looked truly dangerous where it mattered. Southampton had more possession, Wolves were restricted to counterattacks.
Almost as soon as Nuno replaced Diogo Jota with Cavaleiro, Wolves made the breakthrough. Adama Traoré created the opportunity with a low cross from the right, which Jiménez laid back to Cavaleiro to shoot into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Wolves sealed victory when Matt Doherty drove through flimsy challenges and pulled the ball to Castro Otto to net from close range.
We are happy but know its only the start of the season, said Nuno. We have to improve. Tough moments will arrive and we have to be ready.
Mark Hughes, meanwhile, is going through a tough moment, with one win from seven league matches. Frustration is the emotion we feel, he said. It was a decent away performance but at the end of the day you have to get your reward, you have to go take it. Were not quite getting the elements of the game right.
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Super-sub Ivan Cavaleiro scored two minutes after coming on as Wolves struck twice late on to beat dogged Southampton 2-0 at Molineux.
A fairly uneventful first half saw Jonny Castro Otto test keeper Alex McCarthy, while Rui Patricio had to block from Mohamed Elyounoussi.
The drab nature continued after the break but Cavaleiro broke the deadlock after great work from Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez.
Wolves only real weakness in the opening weeks of the season has been a lack of composure in front of goal. Step forward Ivan Cavaleiro.
The Portuguese forward has been sorely missed so far this season despite Wolves impressive start, writes Tim Spiers at Molineux.
And here he took just two minutes to make the desired impact on what had looked for so long like being a frustrating afternoon.
Wolves required patience and persistence to break down a stubborn Southampton outfit who were doing a very effective job of quelling their usual free-flowing passing game. The physical Saints tackled, fouled and intercepted Wolves all over the park, while rarely threatening Rui Patricios goal.
It looked like a dead cert for being last on Match of the Day…but their super-subs Cavaleiro and Adama Traore changed all that, before Jonny Castro Otto sealed the points after great work from the impressive Matt Doherty.
Theres more that one way to skin a cat and Wolves will come up against all sorts of different methods and tactics in this league of wildly contrasting styles.
So far theyre answering almost all the questions posed of them – and look at home in the Premier League. For a club thats only spent four years in the past 34 in the top flight, thats quite something.
There was one alteration on the bench though with Ivan Cavaleiro named in a league squad for the first time this season. Morgan Gibbs-White dropped out, but there was no place for Leander Dendoncker.
Southampton boss Mark Hughes selected both Charlie Austin and Danny Ings up front as they looked to bounce back from last Saturdays 3-0 defeat at Liverpool.
Despite the Premier League new boy status Wolves were big favourites going into the game (you could get 4/1 on a Southampton win) and the home team set about trying to dominate from the off.
The first 15 minutes were played out almost exclusively in Southamptons half, with the visitors resorting to regularly fouling Diogo Jota and Helder Costa in a bid to stop them breaking free. Indeed, Jannik Vestergaard chopped down Jota on three occasions near the Saints box, but referee Stuart Attwell kept his card in his pocket.
Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho had opportunities to punish the visitors from the resulting free kicks, but failed to beat the wall.
After 10 minutes came the first real chance for the hosts. A well-worked move saw Costa skip past Wesley Hoedt and feed Matt Doherty – his low cross fell to Jonny Castro Otto whose shot from 15 yards was pushed wide by keeper Alex McCarthy.
Jota hesitated when well placed after good work from Raul Jimenez and Ryan Bennett headed a Moutinho corner straight at the keeper as Wolves controlled the game.
But then Southampton began to find a foothold and create a few opportunities of their own in what was a one-sided spell of about 10 minutes.
Austin flashed a shot wide, Ings deflected effort whistled past the post and Rui Patricio had to block from Mohamed Elyounoussi who had ghosted in behind Otto.
Wolves weathered the storm and ended the half on top. A gorgeous Neves 50-yard rake to Doherty saw the Irishman, in front of watching Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane, cross low for Jimenez whose snap-shot on the turn was saved by McCarthy. The striker then headed over from Moutinhos cross.
It was a pretty even first half but Wolves were nowhere near their best – they lacked their usual tempo and aggression in the final third and the ball just wasnt sticking up top often enough. Southampton were doing a good job of disrupting their flow with a physical – and smart – defensive display.
Nuno was forced to make a change early in the second half when Costa succumbed to a knee injury after he fell awkwardly under Ryan Bertrands challenge. Adama Traore was his replacement.
Approaching the hour mark it was all a bit flat – Wolves were still lacking inspiration and urgency. Southamptons tackles, fouls and interceptions were successfully stopping Wolves from generating any momentum.
A packed house tried to rouse them but chances remained few and far between. Dohertys quick ball down the line to Jimenez saw the Mexican striker cross low and first time…but Jota wasnt even in the box to meet it. It summed up Wolves performance – they just werent quite on it.
Southampton probed at the other end but rarely tested Patricio, who dropped a regulation Vestergaard free kick but then gobbled it up at the second attempt. With 17 minutes left to play Nunos team had yet to muster an attempt on goal in the second half.
It was insipid and pretty dull to watch – nothing compared to what weve seen in recent weeks. When Neves se
Nuno gave Cavaleiro his Premier League debut in place of Jota with 77 minutes on the clock, shortly after Patricio had to save from Stuart Armstrong who should have done better from close range.
It had that feeling of a Southampton late winner about it…but from nowhere Traore sparked Wolves into life – and then into the lead.
He buoyantly raced down the right flank with all the wild abandon of Theresa May in a field of wheat, beat his man and crossed low for Jimenez who, just like at Old Trafford last week, collected and teed up a team mate, this time Cavaleiro who smashed past McCarthy from 12 yards to send Molineux potty.
The place was transformed – and so were Wolves who nearly doubled their lead when Jimenez flicked on Moutinhos cross with a great header, only to be denied by a superb McCarthy save.
It was all Wolves now. They were full of confidence and swagger and had absolutely no intention to sit on their lead.
They deservedly doubled it when Doherty showed great persistence to get to the byline (he never does that) and played to Otto who fired low past McCarthy from close range for his first goal for the club.
79 – GOAL – Traore races down the right and crosses for Jimenez who cleverly tees up CAVALEIRO to smash home
Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Bennett, Coady (c), Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Otto; Costa (Traore, 52), Jimenez, Jota (Cavaleiro, 77). Subs: Ruddy, Hause, Saiss, Vinagre, Bonatini.
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Soares, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Redmond, Hojbjerg, Lemina, Elyounoussi (Armstrong, 71); Austin (Gabbiandini, 77), Ings. Subs: Gunn, Yoshida, Targett, Romeu, Davis.