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Debutant Ait-Nouri scores in Wolves win

Published on: 30 October 2020

Rayan Ait Nouri is the youngest Frenchman to score on his Premier League debut

Teenager Rayan Ait-Nouri scored on his Wolves debut as Nuno Espirito Santo's side moved joint top of the Premier League with a deserved victory over Crystal Palace at Molineux.

The France Under-21 left-back, 19, joined the club on a season-long loan - with an option to buy - from Ligue 1 Angers this month and took just 18 minutes to announce himself with a first-time strike from Cheikhou Kouyate's headed clearance.

Portuguese winger Daniel Podence doubled the hosts' advantage nine minutes later, carefully guiding in Pedro Neto's cross at the back post.

Wolves went close to more first-half joy as Nelson Semedo and Leander Dendoncker narrowly missed with efforts from outside the box, while the video assistant referee denied Palace a lifeline from the penalty spot when Patrick van Aanholt was found to be offside, prior to being felled by Willy Boly.

Palace were much improved after the break but a frustrated Wilfried Zaha had a penalty appeal dismissed and a disappointing night for Roy Hodgson's side was compounded when Luka Milivojevic was shown a red card for a tackle on Joao Moutinho in the closing stages.

A fourth victory from seven games moved Wolves up to third in the standings, level on 13 points with Everton and Liverpool who both have a game in hand.

    Reaction to Wolves v Crystal Palace

Ait-Nouri typifies confident Wolves display

While his last match in an Angers shirt was a 6-1 defeat by Paris St-Germain, this was a night that will live long in the impressive Ait-Nouri's memory.

Manager Nuno had challenged his side to become much more clinical after they were held 1-1 by Newcastle last weekend, their failure to kill the game punished by Jacob Murphy's 89th-minute free-kick.

Only the bottom three sides had scored fewer Premier League goals than Wolves prior to kick-off, while another well-documented concern has been their slow starts to matches.

But debutant Ait Nouri's goal - Wolves' first in the first half since the opening day - marked the start of a pleasing evening for the Portuguese coach.

Podence, whose two Premier League goals have both come against Palace, led the early Wolves charge as his curling shot forced Vicente Guaita to tip over, after Dendoncker had earlier headed on to the post from his cross.

Dendoncker struck the bar before denying Scott Dann from a corner at the other end as Wolves effectively kept Palace at bay - and though they were forced to work much harder after the interval, they never looked at risk of relinquishing their lead.

With Podence's goal proving crucial in avoiding another nervous finish, Nuno will be eager for his team build on their rapid start at Molineux going forward.

Half-time response not enough for Palace

Crystal Palace arrived at Molineux looking to take 13 points from their first seven games of a Premier League season for the first time ever, with the added incentive of climbing into the top four.

Despite returning to winning ways against Fulham last weekend, Hodgson's side were second best for much of the first half and were lucky not to find themselves more than 2-0 down at the break.

It was a night when things did not fall the Eagles' way, as Michy Batshuayi had a goal ruled out for offside after 17 minutes and Zaha was shown no sympathy after going down under a challenge by Ait-Nouri after the restart.

A consolation for Hodgson on a disappointing evening was the notable second-half response from his players, despite the all-important absence of a breakthrough.

Zaha, having contributed five goals and one assist to Palace's eight league goals to date, cut an increasingly frustrated figure in attack, most evident as he received a yellow card for a shove on Ait-Nouri.

Milivojevic's dismissal, awarded retrospectively by VAR for a studs-up challenge, only served to further dampen a result Hodgson will want to bury quickly after a promising start to the campaign.

Wolves' highest position in 41 years - the stats

    Wolves' third-place position in the Premier League is their highest at the end of a day this far into a top-flight season since October 1979, when they went on to finish sixth and win the League Cup.Wolves' Rayan Ait-Nouri is the 15th Frenchman to score on his Premier League debut and, at 19 years and 146 days, he is also the youngest Frenchman to do so.Wolves striker Raul Jimenez has now played more Premier League minutes against Crystal Palace without scoring than against any other team (421).Only relegated Norwich City (14) have lost more Premier League games in 2020 than Crystal Palace (13).Since Roy Hodgson's first game in charge in September 2017, the Eagles have failed to score in 39 Premier League matches. Only rivals Brighton have done so more (40).Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic received his first red card in league competition since February 2016 for Olympiakos, with this his 145th game since.

What's next?

Crystal Palace host Leeds United on Saturday (15:00 GMT), before Wolves travel to Leicester on Sunday (14:00).

Player of the match

Aït-NouriRayan Aït-Nouri

with an average of 8.45

    WolvesWolverhampton WanderersWolverhampton WanderersCrystal PalaceCrystal PalaceCrystal Palace

Wolverhampton WanderersAvgSquad number3Player nameAït-NouriAverage rating

8.45

Squad number10Player nameDaniel PodenceAverage rating

8.06

Squad number7Player namePedro NetoAverage rating

7.81

Squad number22Player nameNélson SemedoAverage rating

7.72

Squad number16Player nameCoadyAverage rating

7.69

Squad number32Player nameDendonckerAverage rating

7.56

Squad number49Player nameKilmanAverage rating

7.52

Squad number8Player nameRúben NevesAverage rating

7.50

Squad number9Player nameJiménezAverage rating

7.29

Squad number11Player nameRui PatrícioAverage rating

7.14

Squad number15Player nameBolyAverage rating

7.03

Squad number28Player nameJoão MoutinhoAverage rating

6.85

Squad number37Player nameTraoréAverage rating

6.84

Squad number17Player nameFábio SilvaAverage rating

6.50

Crystal PalaceAvgSquad number25Player nameEzeAverage rating

5.16

Squad number3Player namevan AanholtAverage rating

5.02

Squad number10Player nameTownsendAverage rating

4.93

Squad number44Player nameRiedewaldAverage rating

4.82

Squad number6Player nameDannAverage rating

4.80

Squad number31Player nameGuaitaAverage rating

4.78

Squad number9Player nameJ AyewAverage rating

4.74

Squad number8Player nameKouyatéAverage rating

4.69

Squad number17Player nameClyneAverage rating

4.63

Squad number15Player nameSchluppAverage rating

4.46

Squad number23Player nameBatshuayiAverage rating

4.42

Squad number20Player nameBentekeAverage rating

4.40

Squad number11Player nameZahaAverage rating

4.34

Squad number4Player nameMilivojevicAverage rating

3.87

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text

Line-upsWolves

    11Rui Patrício15Boly16Coady49Kilman22Nélson Semedo32Dendoncker8Neves3Aït-Nouri7NetoSubstituted forJoão Moutinhoat 76'minutes10Castelo PodenceSubstituted forTraoréat 76'minutes9JiménezSubstituted forSoares Silvaat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

    2Hoever17Soares Silva21Ruddy27Saïss28João Moutinho37Traoré54Otasowie

Crystal Palace

    31Guaita17Clyne8Kouyaté6Dann3van AanholtBooked at 45mins10TownsendSubstituted forJ Ayewat 72'minutes44Riedewald4MilivojevicBooked at 86mins15SchluppSubstituted forEzeat 65'minutes23BatshuayiSubstituted forBentekeat 84'minutes11ZahaBooked at 62mins

Substitutes

    9J Ayew12Sakho18McArthur19Henderson20Benteke25Eze34Kelly

Referee:Martin AtkinsonMatch StatsHome TeamWolvesAway TeamCrystal PalacePossessionHome45%Away55%ShotsHome15Away11Shots on TargetHome5Away2CornersHome7Away6FoulsHome13Away4Live TextPost update

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Crystal Palace 0.

90'+5'Full Time

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Crystal Palace 0.

90'+1'Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Fábio Silva replaces Raúl Jiménez.

90'+1'Post update

Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90'+1'Post update

Foul by Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

86'Dismissal

Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) is shown the red card.

85'Post update

VAR Decision: Card upgraded Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

84'Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke replaces Michy Batshuayi.

83'Post update

Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83'Post update

Foul by Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

83'Post update

Attempt saved. Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Raúl Jiménez.

79'Post update

Attempt missed. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

78'Post update

Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

78'Post update

Foul by Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

77'Post update

Attempt blocked. Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Patrick van Aanholt with a cross.

76'Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Adama Traoré replaces Daniel Podence.

76'Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. João Moutinho replaces Pedro Neto.

74'Post update

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Michy Batshuayi.

73'Post update

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Scott Dann.

72'Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jordan Ayew replaces Andros Townsend.

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