By Mark Walker, PA
Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa ensured his side a point by saving Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late penalty in a goalless draw against Fulham at Molineux.
Mitrovic, who scored twice last week in Fulham’s opening-day draw against Liverpool, was handed the chance to snatch all three points for the Londoners in the 81st minute.
Referee John Brooks pointed to the spot following Rayan Ait-Nouri’s ill-timed challenge on Bobby Cordova-Reid, but Sa dived to his right to keep out Mitrovic’s spot-kick.
Mitrovic looked set to score his 45th league goal in as many appearances after his record-breaking feat in the Sky Bet Championship last season.
There were no complaints about Brooks’ penalty decision, but, on the balance of play on a baking afternoon, justice was served when Sa guessed right to make sure the points were shared.
Wolves began at break-neck speed in scorching temperatures at Molineux as Pedro Neto and Hwang Hee-chan both forced Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak into early action.
Neto’s angled drive after being brilliantly picked out by Daniel Podence was blocked before the Wolves forward headed the rebound back across the face of goal.
Hwang then sprinted into a one-on-one with Rodak after Neto’s excellent pass and his effort was also blocked.
Mitrovic’s wild volley over the top in his side’s first attack was met with huge cheers by the home faithful, but Fulham threatened again soon after.
Cordova-Reid’s downward header from Andreas Pereira’s corner was cleared by Neves close to the goal-line.
Rodak’s gaffe then presented Neto with another opening, but he missed his chance to take aim at an open goal and Podence skewed the loose ball wide.
The home side should have broken the deadlock in the 53rd minute.
Ait-Nouri’s perfect low cross presented Morgan Gibbs-White with a tap-in, but the England Under-21 forward failed to convert.
Wolves boss Bruno Lage sent on new signing Goncalo Guedes for his first appearance in the 57th minute, with Hwang making way.
The Portugal forward’s darting runs helped stretch Fulham’s defence, but the Londoners held firm at the back and continued to pose problems of their own going forward.
Neeskens Kebano forced Sa into a rare save at his near post and the home fans grew restless.
Lage sent on Adama Traore and Nelson Semedo for Neto and Jonny respectively with 12 minutes remaining, but the dice rolled in Fulham’s favour in the 80th minute.
Cordova-Reid went tumbling under Ait-Nouri’s misjudged tackle and Brooks did not hesitate in pointing to the spot, only for Sa to deny Mitrovic with a diving save to his right.
Mitrovic and Gibbs-White clashed in added time as tempers flared after the former’s late challenge, with both players leaning in with their foreheads to earn themselves a booking.