Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton have played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Saturday’s Premier League opener at Molineux.
Everton led through Richarlison’s close-range effort, but the sending off of Phil Jagielka led to Ruben Neves curling a free kick into the top corner from 20 yards out.
Richarlison added a fine second after the break, but Raul Jimenez headed home from six yards on his debut to give the Championship winners a point on their return to the top flight.
The first real chance went to Seamius Coleman who was well set to capitalise on a mistake from Willy Boly, but the full-back’s effort with his weaker left foot went straight at Rui Patricio.
However, it did not take the Toffees much long to go ahead. A free kick into the middle was not dealt with by Boly, and the ball fell to Richarlison to fire low into the net from little more than six yards out.
Conceding so early after their return to the top flight took the sting out of Wolves, and Nuno Espirito Santo could only watch on as his side was restricted to speculative long-range strikes.
Everton looked in control of the game with five minutes of the first half remaining, but a mistake from Phil Jagielka gave Wolves a way back into a match in which they were being outclassed.
Jagielka should have controlled a routine pass across the edge of the area but after the ball got away from him, the former England international slid in late on Diogo Jota with his studs and gave the referee reason to dismiss him for dangerous play.
Neves was always going to take the resulting free kick from 20 yards, and the Portugal international managed to get the ball over the wall and into the top corner of Jordan Pickford’s net.
The onus was on Wolves to push men forward during the second half, but the home side continued to show a cautious approach.
Everton continued to match Wolves blow for blow however and midway through the second half, the visitors regained their advantage when Richarlison was given the freedom to run towards goal and curl a low effort into the far corner of Patricio’s net.
Nuno responded by introducing both Leo Bonatini and Ruben Vinagre and with 10 minutes remaining, the fresh legs made an impact as Everton were made to work harder in their defensive third.
Wolves’ equaliser arrived from the head of Jimenez, who was perfectly placed at the back post to meet Neves’s inswinging cross and power an effort inside the near post from six yards.
Both sides refused to settle for a point during the closing stages, but a share of the spoils in the Wolverhampton rain was a fair result.