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Wolves close on Europa League group stage with thumping win


Raul Jimenez of Wolves. Photo: TWITTER/RAUL_JIMENEZ9

Wolves moved a step closer to reaching the Europa League group stage for the first time as Raul Jimenez scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Armenia’s Pyunik in qualifying on Thursday.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, who made it into qualifying by finishing seventh in the Premier League last season as a newly-promoted club, made short work of their hosts in Yerevan.

Wing-back Matt Doherty, who scored eight goals last term, rolled in a 29th-minute opener before Jimenez made it two-three minutes before half-time.

Mexican international Jimenez grabbed his fourth goal of qualifying shortly after the restart, having also netted two against Crusaders in the previous round.

New signing Patrick Cutrone was given a debut as a late substitute and won an injury-time penalty which Ruben Neves converted to all but put the tie to bed.

Wolves, who lost to Tottenham in the 1972 UEFA Cup final and are playing their first European campaign since 1980, could face a tricky play-off round against Torino should they complete the job against Pyunik and the Italians beat Belarus’ Shakhtyor.

Elsewhere in Thursday early games, Astana thrashed Valletta 5-1 in Kazakhstan and Portuguese side Braga won 4-2 at Brondby.

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