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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 25 February, 2018
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Big-spending Wolves lay down early promotion marker

Elsewhere, Sheffield United marked their return to the Championship with a win over Brentford.

Irish defender Matt Doherty celebrates Wolves' victory with John Ruddy.
Irish defender Matt Doherty celebrates Wolves' victory with John Ruddy.
Image: Nick Potts

BIG-SPENDING WOLVES made a strong start to their promotion bid as Leo Bonatini’s debut goal sealed a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough on the opening weekend of the Championship on Saturday.

Brazilian striker Bonatini, signed on a season-long loan from Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, punished a mistake from Boro defender Daniel Ayala to settle a tight encounter in the 33rd minute at Molineux.

It was an encouraging result for Wolves, who are among the leading contenders for promotion to the Premier League after a major close-season overhaul.

Former Porto midfielder Ruben Neves cost Wolves a Championship record £15 million and he impressed on his first appearance under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

It was a frustrating return to the second tier for Middlesbrough after last season’s relegation and Garry Monk’s side will have to improve significantly to live up to their billing as the bookmakers’ favourites for promotion.

Bobby Reid netted a brace and Famara Diedhiou scored on his first appearance as Bristol City beat Barnsley 3-1 at Ashton Gate.

Reid put the hosts ahead after 16 minutes before setting up Senegal striker Diedhiou, a club-record £5.3 million signing from Angers, who headed home at the back post.

City midfielder Reid then added his second of the day from close range on the half-hour mark as the Robins ran riot in the first period.

Ryan Hedges pulled a goal back for Barnsley in stoppage-time.

Rocked by last week’s 6-1 friendly thrashing at the hands of third tier Charlton, Ipswich restored their pride with a 1-0 victory over Birmingham at Portman Road.

Joe Garner was the Ipswich match-winner in the 47th minute, calmly converting from just outside the six-yard box.

Burton Albion v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship - Pirelli Stadium Mick McCarthy and Ipswich enjoyed a big win over Harry Redknapp's Birmingham City. Source: EMPICS Sport

Suffering a hangover from last season’s painful play-off final defeat against Huddersfield, Reading slumped to a 2-0 defeat at QPR.

Conor Washington headed in from close range on 22 minutes and slotted home a penalty 14 minutes into the second half after Reading’s Tiago Ilori was sent off for a foul on Pawel Wszolek.

Norwich’s Nelson Oliveira equalised two minutes from full-time to salvage a 1-1 draw at Fulham.

Russell Martin’s own goal from Floyd Ayite’s cross had put the hosts ahead on 25 minutes.

But substitute Oliveira beat the offside trap after Wes Hoolahan’s superb through ball to earn the Canaries a point in new manager Daniel Farke’s first game in charge.

Posted by on Sunday, 25 February 2018

Daniel Johnson’s 79th minute penalty secured Preston’s first opening-day win since 2008 as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Deepdale.

Johnson’s spot-kick, awarded after Jordan Hugill was brought down by Tom Lees, ensured new Preston manager Alex Neil made a winning start after succeeding Simon Grayson.

Sheffield United marked their return to the second tier after a six-year absence with a 1-0 victory over Brentford.

Blades skipper Billy Sharp headed the winner in the 39th minute at Bramall Lane.

Danish forward Kenneth Zohore struck in the 87th minute to give Cardiff a 1-0 victory at Burton.

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© AFP 2017

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