Big spending league leaders Wolves proved too strong for Leeds United in the Sky Bet Championship clash at Molineaux.
The Whites were made to pay for a poor start as they found themselves trailing 2-0 after 26 minutes and although Ezgjan Alioski pulled a goal back with a stunning volley they went on to lose 4-1.
Their cause was not helped when Ronaldo Vieira’s mistimed sliding challenge on Diogo Jota earned him a second caution and a red card on the hour mark.
Head coach Thomas Christiansen named an unchanged line-up following the improved display and win against Middlesbrough on Sunday, but there was little sign of the defensive stability which was a feature of that game.
Ivan Cavaleiro was first to get a sniff of goal for the hosts with his powerful shot bringing Andy Lonergan into action with his first save.
Kalvin Phillips fired over from distance for Leeds, but it was 1-0 to Wolves in the 15th minute when Liam Cooper brought down Cavaleiro and Barry Douglas beat Lonergan with his free-kick from about 25 yards out.
A minute later it was almost two as Leo Bonatini met Cavaleiro’s cross only to put a good chance narrowly wide.
Lonergan saved well from Cavaleiro, but could not prevent the Wolves danger man from making it 2-0 when he was allowed to turn on the edge of the box to get in a shot that the United keeper could not keep out.
Another chance came the home side’s way as Jota played in Cavaleiro, but to the Whites’ relief he fired wide.
Leeds did force home keeper John Ruddy into a save just before half-time when Kemar Roofe struck from distance. The rebound came out to Samuel Saiz and his shot from a tough angle was also saved.
After ending the half better United started the second with a bang as Alioski scored for the third successive game with a fantastic volley onto Saiz’s cross.
Saiz and Pablo Hernandez were both off target with shots from outside the box and it was a much better effort from the Whites now only to be spoiled when Vieira received his marching orders.
They battled bravely for a spell with 10 men and Saiz forced Ruddy into making a save with a shot from just outside the box.
But the end was nigh as Jota raced through and in a one-on-one with Lonergan dinked the ball over the keeper to make it 3-1.
Lonergan recovered well to deny Jota soon after following a fumble of Helder Costa’s cross. However, less than a minute later the keeper was adjudged to have brought down Bonatini in the box and Costa put away the resulting penalty.
Wolves eased up in the closing stages so Leeds avoided a real hammering, but they were left to come back north knowing they had been second best on the night and have a long way to go to challenge the top teams this season. The result saw United drop down in tenth place while Wolves are four points clear at the top.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
(Douglas 15, Cavaleiro 26, Jota 72, Costa 76, pen)
Leeds United 1
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sky Bet Championship
Wolves: Ruddy, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Saiss (N’Diaye 81), Neves (Price 80), Douglas, Cavaleiro (Costa 69), Bonatini, Jota.
Leeds: Lonergan, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Berardi, Vieira (sent-off 60), Phillips, Alioski, Saiz (Dallas 77), Hernandez (O’Kane 68), Roofe (Ekuban 68).
Referee: Geoff Eltringham