Wolves 1-4 Brighton: Roberto De Zerbi’s side run riot at Molineux to continue their perfect start to the season with goals from Kaoru Mitoma, Pervis Estupinan and a Solly March brace – as Matheus Nunes sees red
- Kaoru Mitoma gave visitors an early lead with a moment of individual brilliance
- Solly March scored twice after Pervis Estupinan’s goal in the second half
- WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show
Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi says he wants to replace Moises Caicedo as the early Premier League pace-setters look to play in a different way. But the 44-year-old Italian believes he can more than plug the gaps with Pascal Gross and Billy Gilmour after they made it successive 4-1 wins.
Most clubs would be struggling after losing £170m-plus worth of talent after the £104m departures of Caicedo to Chelsea, Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool for £35m and Robert Sanchez to Chelsea for £25m. But Brighton seem to find strength from adversity thanks to their outstanding recruitment.
‘I think we have to compete in the transfer market,’ said De Zerbi, who dedicated the win to his former coach Carletto Mazzone, who died aged 86. ‘Caicedo is a unique player and without him we have to play a different way — we can’t concede so many counter-attacks and we have to be patient when we keep the ball.
‘We can make stupid mistakes when we’re in possession and we need to react with more strength when we lose the ball.
‘We have to find the solution without Caicedo. Today we played Gross and Gilmour. Gilmour is a very smart player. He has an incredible attitude. He plays like an older player but he’s a young player.’
Solly March scored twice as Brighton defeated Wolves at Molineux to go top of the Premier League
Fabio Silva had the ball in the net within three minutes but his effort was ruled out for offside
Brighton responded quickly and Mitoma gave them the lead after an excellent individual move
Brighton look like being European contenders again as they continue to make light of losing their crown jewels.
The visitors soon flexed their muscles, taking a 15th-minute lead with an outstanding goal from Kaoru Mitoma. The Japan winger cut in from the left touchline, brushing aside Nelson Semedo before surging through the Wolves defence beyond Joao Gomes and Maximilian Kilman before finishing coolly past Jose Sa.
It was the wide man’s 11th goal in 43 games for the Seagulls, and similar to his strike against Liverpool last season. ‘Mitoma is a top player. You can expect goals like that,’ said De Zerbi.
Brighton’s slick passing and movement saw Wolves chasing shadows at times, though they had the best two chances of the first half. Fabio Silva should have equalised after being sent galloping through by Matheus Cunha but his shot was foiled by the right leg of goalkeeper Jason Steele. Then Rayan Ait-Nouri lifted a shot over the bar with only Steele to beat.
The visitors ended any hopes of a Wolves comeback within 10 minutes of the restart, however, with a three-goal blast.
Solly March sent Danny Welbeck through for a shot parried away by Sa, but the rebound fell to Mitoma, whose cutback was turned home by Estupinan. March found the roof of the net from close range in the 52nd minute with a fine breakaway goal. The move was started by a delightful pass from deep inside his own half by Gilmour, who sent Julio Enciso racing down the left to cross.
Three minutes later it was 4-0 when March stabbed in off the post after Welbeck spread play to Enciso on the right to cross.
That was the cue for hundreds of Wolves fans to head for the exits.But Wolves at least got off the mark for the season when substitute Hwang Hee-chan nodded home Pedro Neto’s corner on the hour.
Matheus Nunes completed a chastening afternoon for Wolves when he was red-carded in the fifth minute of time added on for pushing Adam Webster and Estupinan, having already been booked.
Wolves must be sick of the sight of Brighton. They have now suffered five straight defeats by the Seagulls, including a 6-0 thrashing at the Amex Stadium last April, conceding 17 goals in the process.
The home fans were quick to show their appreciation of their new head coach with an early chant of ‘Gary O’Neil’s gold and black army’. But he knows that sort of welcome won’t be heard too often if his side throw in the towel as readily as they did here.
‘Thirty-eight shots and an XG of over four over two games is extremely high so to have only returned one goal is disappointing,’ said O’Neil. ‘After one game you can say it was a one-off. It’s now two games and it obviously can’t become four, five or six.’
Mitoma combined with Pervis Estupinan after the break to double Brighton’s advantage
Solly March added a quick-thinking third goal for Roberto De Zerbi’s side just moments later
Brighton pressed their advantage and the former England youth international added a second
Matheus Nunes was sent off in stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card
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