Raúl Jiménez winner sparks emotional scenes as Wolves beat Southampton

Raúl Jiménez punched the air and then again and again, any niggling doubts and worries banished as he wheeled away in sheer ecstasy after scoring his first league goal since last October, his first since fracturing his skull. His celebration, which culminated in him showing off his protective head guard to the away support before looking to the skies, put to bed all of the pent-up frustration.

It was a doubtless cathartic moment before the Wolves fans who had been singing his name long before the first whistle, and what a wonderful goal it was too, the striker making two Southampton defenders look silly before applying the most composed of finishes.

This was not a riveting contest and the best first-half chance arrived after 44 secondi, when Alex McCarthy repelled a shot by the marauding Nélson Semedo after neat footwork by Jiménez and Daniel Podence. Romain Saïss sent a looping header at goal from the subsequent corner but that was about as enticing as things got for the Wolves support in a dull first half punctuated by errors on halfway and ponderous decision-making in the final third.

They serenaded Jiménez in the seconds before kick-off and there was no better way for the striker to salute them for their unequivocal backing. Adama Traoré, dropped to the bench, had been about to enter from the sidelines but his introduction was delayed by 10 minuti. Instead Traoré, stood in the away technical area, joined those in the Wolves dugout and beyond to applaud the magnificence that unfolded before them.

Sa sent the ball downfield with a mammoth kick and Jiménez outmuscled Jan Bednarek before cutting inside Mohammed Salisu. Jiménez then fooled Bednarek again, who flung himself to the ground in a desperate attempt, before side-footing the ball home and setting off on a procession to the gold-coloured pocket of this stadium.

For Southampton, the wait for a league victory goes on but they might have registered a goal but for the Wolves goalkeeper José Sá, who made a superb double save early in the second half. Sá superbly confronted the substitute Armando Broja when a Wolves clearance left the striker one-on-one with the goalkeeper after the break and Nathan Redmond had a clever first-half strike disallowed for offside, but ultimately Saints were pushed aside.

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