Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg’s UEFA Europa League Group H fate remains in their own hands despite suffering a smash-and-grab 2-0 loss on home soil against a weakened Everton FC side.

Having dominated first-half proceedings the Wolves fell behind to Romelu Lukaku’s 43rd minute strike and it was much the same story after the break before Kevin Mirallas struck late to leave the Wolves needing a point from their final game to book a place in the Round of 32.

Hammer blow before half-time


Wolfsburg wasted little time in putting the visitors on the back foot with Nicklas Bendtner, in the starting line-up for Ivica Olic, inches away from getting on the end of a drilled cross from Ivan Perisic, who twice went close to an opener himself within 12 minutes. Everton almost struck against the run of play as Sylvain Distin rattled the bar with a header, but the Toffees mustered up little response to their hosts’ early pressure.

Perisic had the beating of Tony Hibbert for much of the first half and will have been disappointed to see his 25th-minute effort ruled out for offside. Kevin De Bruyne was then denied by both Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka either side of Vierinha’s stinging drive, yet it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on the cusp of half-time with Lukaku capitalising on a route-one counter to race clear and fire past Diego Benaglio.

One-way traffic in Wolfsburg


Keen to right the wrongs of their profligacy before the break, the Wolves immediately reasserted their control after the restart with De Bruyne flashing an early first-time shot off target. At times short of ideas in the final third, Wolfsburg again thought they had got on the score sheet shortly before the hour mark only for the assistant referee’s flag to cancel out Bendtner’s header.

At the other end, Aiden McGeady spurned a gilt-edged chance to put the game beyond doubt, firing wide with the goal at his mercy after Benaglio had denied Lukaku his brace. Perisic responded by hitting the outside of the post before drawing a strong save out of the seemingly unbeatable Howard, who was on hand again minutes later to deny Marcel Schäfer's from range.

Symptomatic of their entire performance though, the Wolves then fell further behind as Lukaku muscled his way through midfield to release Mirallas, who made no mistake in finding the bottom corner one-on-one with Benaglio. The second goal took the wind out of Wolfsburg’s sails and, though substitute Maximilian Arnold struck the woodwork late on, it just wasn’t to be for Dieter Hecking’s charges, who remain three points clear in second place.

Line-ups:

Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Vierinha, Naldo, Knoche, Schäfer - Gustavo, Malanda (Caligiuri 64') - De Bruyne, Hunt (Arnold 75'), Perisic - Bendtner (Olic 76')

Everton: Howard - Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Garbutt - Besic, McCarthy (Osman 31') - McGeady, Eto'o (Barkley 72'), Mirallas (Atsu 83') - Lukaku

Goals: 0-1 Lukaku (43'), 0-2 Mirallas (75')