Wolves jump up to 8th, join race for Europe with win over Fulham

Wolves took another step toward securing a top-half finish, and maybe even European qualification, as Gary O'Neil's side weathered an early storm before hitting Fulham twice in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory at Molineux Stadium on Saturday.

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The victory sends Wolves (41 points) up to 8th in the Premier League table, now five points clear of Chelsea, who have two games in hand at this point, in 11th. Fulham (35 points), meanwhile, remain 12th after missing their chance to leapfrog both Chelsea and Wolves with a win.

Fulham had the run of play in the first half as they out-shot the hosts 8-1 (xG: 0.94-0.03) and created the opening 45's best scoring chance in the 25th minute. Alex Iwobi slipped a through ball in behind Wolves' defense for Harry Wilson to run onto. Jose Sa came darting off his line to meet Wilson atop the penalty area, catching him between the two minds of taking another touch or shooting from distance. Wilson opted to shoot with the outside of his favored left foot rather than his right instep, and immediately regretted the decision as he put it wide of the far post.

After surviving the first half, Wolves jumped on top early in the second half and took the lead in the 52nd minute. Pablo Sarabia floated a free kick to the back post but Fulham defender Calvin Bassey got his head to it first, glancing the ball away from immediate danger. It fell to Toti Gomes along the end line, though, and Gomes quickly cut the ball back to the top of the six-yard box, where Rayan Ait-Nouri lifted it over Bernd Leno to make it 1-0 on Wolves' second shot of the game.

15 minutes later, it was 2-0 and Fulham had no one to blame but themselves. A giveaway inside their own half led to a quick transition. This time, it was the other full back, left back Nelson Semedo, who got on the scoresheet. Nathan Fraser cut the ball to Joao Gomes at the top of the box and Gomes left it for Nelson Semedo with a clever backheel. Semedo's shot hit a defender on its way to goal sent Leno one way as it slowly bounced the other way.

Iwobi grabbed a consolation goal for Fulham in the 98th minute, with the last meaningful kick of the game.

Wolves lose star Pedro Neto to hamstring injury again

On the flip side to the result, Pedro Neto was forced off with an apparent hamstring injury. Wolves' star man (9 goals, 2 assists in 18 appearances this season) pulled up after dribbling past USMNT left back Antonee Robinson shortly before halftime and continued walking until he was off the field, knowing exactly what had just happened — again. Neto missed two months after injuring his hamstring back in October, derailing his scorching start to the campaign at the time. Wolves managed to go 4W-1D-4L in his absence, and now they might have to chance a place in Europe without him.

Player ratings - Wolves vs Fulham

Wolves vs Fulham player ratings
Wolves vs Fulham player ratings

What’s next?

Fulham will try to bounce back next Saturday (1:30 pm ET), when they host Tottenham at Craven Cottage. Wolves, on the other hand, will host Championship side Coventry City in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup earlier on Saturday (8:15 am ET).

Wolves vs Fulham, final score: 2-1

Goalscorers: Rayan Ait-Nouri (52'), Nelson Semedo (67'), Alex Iwobi (90'+8)

52nd minute - GOAL - Rayan Ait-Nouri puts Wolves ahead to start the second half

67th minute - GOAL - Nelson Semedo benefits from deflection to make it 2-0

How to watch Wolves vs Fulham live, stream link, start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday (March 9)
TV channel: Peacock
Online: Watch online via Peacock Premium

Wolves starting lineup

Sa — Semedo, Kilman, Bueno, Ait-Nouri — Lemina, Gomes, Bellegarde — Sarabia, Neto, Fraser

Fulham starting lineup

Leno — Castagne, Adarabioyo, Bassey, Robinson — Reed, Lukic, Pereira — Wilson, Iwobi, Muniz

Wolves team news, focus

Injuries are starting to pile up for Wolves, who have a very small squad and have been lucky with injuries for the majority of this season. O'Neil will be sweating on the fitness of Gomes, Neto and Sa.

OUT: Matheus Cunha (hamstring), Hee-chan Hwang (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Craig Dawson (groin)

Fulham team news, focus

The Cottagers have Joao Palhinha back from suspension and he should slot straight back into midfield.

OUT: Raul Jimenez (thigh)