Wolves earned a point on day one of the Premier League after Raul Jimenez ensured their efforts wouldn’t be wasted in a frantic 2-2 draw with Everton at a lively Molineux
Four goals, a red card and a bucket load of entertainment, the opening day had everything and Wolves are now up and running in the top flight.
Richarlison twice put Everton ahead, but Ruben Neves’ brilliant free-kick punctuated the Brazilian’s strikes, with a Phil Jagielka red card another important part of the plot.
With time running out Neves set up Jimenez to head home a second equaliser against the Toffees’ ten men and Nuno Espirito Santo’s men now have a base to build on.
An atmosphere seldom felt at Molineux, Wolves’ entrance for their first Premier League fixture under Nuno was everything they imagined and more, with each side of the stadium welcoming on the men in gold.
The lively atmosphere was reflected in the start to the contest, although few chances were produced from the early toing and froing. Seamus Coleman capitalised on some nerves from Willy Boly to register the first shot which Rui Patricio easily collected on debut.
However, it was the hosts who’d take the initiative soon after. A deep Leighton Baines free-kick wasn’t dealt with by Wolves and Richarlison was the lucky recipient of the ricochet, knocking underneath Patricio with 16 minutes gone.
Not deterred by the set-back, Wolves stuck to their game plan and grew into the contest, but after patient build-up play, Joao Moutinho couldn’t keep his effort on target. Although Jordan Pickford was remaining untested, Wolves were probing, and Jimenez came close from a tight angle.
As the half wore on, Helder Costa began to see more of the ball in dangerous areas and once he cut onto his left foot, the winger forced a routine save out of Pickford. However, seconds later came the major talking point of the first-half.
A heavy touch by Jagielka put him in trouble and once Diogo Jota got to the ball first, the defender’s tackle was ill-timed and caught the Wolves man on the ankle. Craig Pawson gave himself thinking time and produced a straight red card.
What came next was lift off for Wolves. Last season’s Player of the Season began this campaign in a similar fashion, bending the resulting free-kick into the top corner, beyond Pickford, to send Molineux into absolute delirium.
Half-time: Wolves 1 Everton 1
With a big 45 minutes ahead of them, Wolves began the second period well and Neves had his tail up, hitting a dipping strike over Pickford’s crossbar from range, while at the other end Everton remained a threat and Cenk Tosun forced Patricio to push behind.
Chances were aplenty after the interval and when Ryan Bennett’s through ball sent Jimenez scampering clear, the Mexican was unlucky to be denied as Pickford made himself big.
The next big opportunity fell to Theo Walcott, but after Richarlison had headed into his path, the winger couldn’t sort his feet in time to get a clean shot on Patricio’s goal and Boly was able to steal in and clear.
Instead, the Brazilian went for goal himself with the next chance to put the ten men ahead. Richarlison simply stroked the ball into the far corner, beyond Patricio.
That goal prompted Nuno into his first change, with Costa making way for Bonatini and Jimenez moving wide left. Ruben Vinagre followed him onto the pitch soon after too, with Jonny Casto Otto making way.
This topsy-turvy game had yet more twists and with ten minutes remaining Wolves had their second equaliser of the contest. A brilliant in swinging cross by Neves was lapped up by Jimenez, who guided his header past Pickford for 2-2.
With five minutes go to Academy product Morgan Gibbs-White came off the bench in the Premier League in place of Moutinho.
Wolves huffed and puffed their way into and past four additional, but a point would be the final outcome and Nuno’s side were up and running in the Premier League.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Everton 2
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Otto (Vinagre 76) , Moutinho (Gibbs-White 85), Neves, Costa (Bonatini 71) , Jimenez, Jota.
Subs: Ruddy, Hause, Saiss, Enobakhare.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson (Holgate 43), Richarlison (Digne 86), Walcott, Tosun (Niasse 81).
Subs: Stekelenburg, Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Ramirez.
Referee: Craig Poulson