Diogo Jota

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Jimenez, Jota lead Wolves to Europa League blowout

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Nothing’s impossible, but Wolves built an improbable lead after one leg to take a step closer to the Europa League group stage.

Mexican striker Raul Jimenez scored twice and Diogo Jota had three assists as Wolves buried Armenian side Pyunik 4-0 in Yerevan on Thursday.

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The second leg comes at the Molineux in one week, and Wolves begin the Premier League season on Sunday morning with a visit to Leicester City (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com)

Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also scored, as Wolves led 2-0 at the break following Raul’s 42nd minute goal. He completed his brace one minute after halftime.

Should Wolves manage its lead, it will have to win more round to reach the group stage.

Europa League: Wolves’ qualifying quest starts with home win

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Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 2019-20 campaign is officially underway after kicking off their Europa League qualification quest with a 2-0 victory over Northern Irish side Crusaders at Molineux Stadium on Thursday.

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Diogo Jota appears intent on building upon a strong first season at Wolves (nine goals in 33 Premier League appearances) with an even better sophomore campaign. The Portuguese forward opened the scoring with a sweetly struck half-volley in the 37th minute.

Another Portuguese youngster, Ruben Vinagre, joined Jota on the scoresheet in the 90th minute. The Crusaders goalkeeper fumbled the ball inside the six-yard box and Vinagre was in the perfect position to tap it home from nearly the goal line and double Wolves’ advantage as they go away from home for the second leg next week.

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Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo fielded the same starting 11 that won the Premier League Asia Trophy by beating Manchester City on penalty kicks last weekend.

Thursday’s notable Europa League results

Espanyol 4-0 Stjarnan
Torino 3-0 Debrecen
Flora Tallin 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Rangers 2-0 Progres Niederkorn

Live, Europa League: Wolves return to Europe

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Wolverhampton Wanderers are playing at home in Europe for the first time in 39 years.

The home fans at Molineux can barely contain their excitement.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men take on Crusaders of Northern Ireland on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, first leg.

Wolves’ reward for finishing seventh in their first campaign back in the Premier League last season is a clash against the Northern Irish side, and it is a tie they are expected to get through comfortably.

They’ve looked sharp in preseason so far and beat Manchester City on penalty kicks to win the PL Asia Trophy last week.

Elsewhere in Europa League action Steven Gerrard’s Glasgow Rangers face Progres, who knocked them out of the competition two years ago, plus Torino, Espanyol, Legia Warsaw and Eintracht Frankfurt are all in action.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the later Europa League qualifying games on Thursday. We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with a recap, reaction and analysis.


Europa League fixtures
Piast Gliwice v. Riga — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Norrkoping v. Liepaja — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vidi v. Vaduz — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Luzern v. KI — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Aris v. AEL — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Dunajska Streda v. Atromitos — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Gent v. Viitorul — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Jeunesse Esch v. Vitoria — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
AZ Alkmaar v. BK Hacken — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Domzale v. Malmo — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Strasbourg v. Maccabi Haifa — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Rangers v. Progres — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Wolves v. Crusaders — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Buducnost v. Zorya — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Shamrock Rovers v. Apollon Limassol — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Valur v. Ludogorets Razgrad — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Torino v. Debrecen — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Espanyol v. Stjarnan — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Legia Warsaw v. KuPS — 3 p.m. ET Thursday

Wolves boss praises Jota, Jimenez, prefers not to focus on Europa

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Nuno Espirito Santo has Wolves on the brink of seventh place, but is bristling at the notion that it will lift his promoted side in the Europa League at the first try.

The Wolves manager, buoyed by Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez, saw his side get a measure of vengeance by beating Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday to move four points clear of the pack in the race for seventh.

[ RECAP: Watford 1-2 Wolves ]

Now things would be different if Wolves had defeated Watford in the FA Cup semifinal and not required such vengeance. As it stands, Watford could beat Man City in the final and render seventh moot when it comes to the UEL.

Still, most expect Man City to handle its business at Wembley. Most. From the BBC:

“Maybe I’m the only one in the country that knows that seventh position doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s not about finishing as high as possible, but it’s about finishing as well as possible.”

“We don’t have to think about Europe. Nothing is decided and nothing is 100 percent sure. It’s Fulham in our last home game. Let’s give Molineux something.”

Wolves are back on their game after some hiccups following the semifinal setback, beating Arsenal and now Watford. But that’s actually not too far off from their season-long habit of looking like a Top Four contender against the big teams and slipping up a bit when the lights are a bit lower.

One man who’s been consistently strong is Mexican striker Raul Jimenez, who scored his 13th league goal and 17th in all competitions in the win. He also has eight assists on the season, one which gave Wolves little choice but to exercise the option to buy him from Benfica.

Still, Nuno wants more.

“Raul Jimenez has to improve himself,” he said. “The team will improve. As long as we keep together then we will become a better team.”

Diogo Jota also scored and set-up Jimenez for his marker. Jota to Jimenez is the second-top scorer-assist pairing in the league to Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser cueing up Callum Wilson.

“Jota and Jimenez have been working really hard,” said Nuno. “I truly believe the more time they spend together the more good things will happen.”

Wolves finish home to Fulham and away to Liverpool.

Wolves win at Watford to boost Europa hopes (video)

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  • Mexico’s Jimenez scores from Jota assist
  • Gray levels score
  • Jota wins it
  • Wolves four points clear of 8th

Wolverhampton Wanderers have a solid chance of qualifying for Europe, one season after promotion from the Championship.

Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota scored Saturday in a huge 2-1 win over seventh-place rivals Watford at Vicarage Road and now enjoy a four-point cushion on the Hornets as well as Everton, who drew Crystal Palace.

Watford could still take the Europa League place by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup Final. Their goal came from Andre Gray.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves had four of the match’s five shots on target, though Watford had more of the ball.

Jimenez nodded a Jota cross home to start the scoring in the 41st minute, though Watford equalized shortly after the break.

A Ryan Bennett mistake let Gray free on goal for 1-1, but Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster returned the gift when he misread a long ball from Ruben Neves and Jota headed into the yawning goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]