Wolves 2 (Jota 6, Neves 51) Derby 0
Wolves can almost taste the Premier League with an impressive victory over Derby County, courtesy of two brilliant goals by Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves, meaning promotion can be sealed this weekend.
The tone for the evening was set after just six minutes when Willy Boly picked out the run of Jota, who took the ball in his stride and stroked into the top corner.
While that goal was an eye-catching move, the second was sheer individual brilliance. Neves chipped up a cleared corner and unleashed a stunning volley, which flew past Scott Carson and into the top corner.
Now on 92 points, promotion to the top flight could be sealed on Sunday with victory over Birmingham City, if results on Saturday don’t seal it for Nuno’s men without them playing.
It took a matter of minutes for the visitors to force the first corner, however their clever set piece came to nothing when Andreas Weimann blazed over from the edge of the box.
However, it didn’t take long for Wolves to take the lead. Boly spotted the clever run of Jota in behind the Derby backline, the defender’s ball was perfect, as was Jota’s control, and the calm, side-footed finished gave Carson no chance.
After his exploits on Friday night, Neves was urged to shoot at every opportunity by the home support and he duly obliged on 14 minutes, with Carson beating away his effort and Curtis Davies clearing the rebound before Jota arrived.
The Barry Douglas corner which followed inevitably caused carnage, but neither Benik Afobe nor Jota could find the desired finish. At the other end, Tom Huddlestone’s effort from range forced a comfortable save out of John Ruddy.
It was Wolves creating the lion’s share of chances and Afobe should have kept his header on target when meeting Ivan Cavaleiro’s cross. The next shot on goal came from Neves’, whose free-kick was pushed over, before Ryan Bennett headed over from the resulting corner.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Derby 0
Wolves continued where they’d left off before the break and when the second arrived it was worth the wait. Neves produced one of the finest goals Molineux has surely ever seen. When a corner was cleared to the Portuguese maestro, he teed himself up and hit an unbelievably sumptuous volley which flew beyond Carson and into the top corner. Truly unbelievable.
The Molineux crowd were lapping up everything in front of them and Wolves were responding, with Neves playing brilliant pass out of brilliant pass and Jota testing Carson with a powerful strike.
Nuno’s first substitution saw Helder Costa take the place of Afobe, before Leo Bonatini followed soon after in place of Jota, who’d moved up to 16 goals for the season early on.
With Wolves enjoying the closing stages, Morgan Gibbs-White replaced Cavaleiro and, although there’d be no further goals, the hosts had the points in the bag and can look forward to the weekend with excitement.
Full-Time: Wolves 2 Derby 0
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Douglas, Bennett, Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 82), Neves, Boly, Coady ©, Jota (Bonatini 73), Afobe (Costa 66), Saiss.
Unused Subs: Norris, N’Diaye, Batth, Hause.
Booked: Bennett 61
Derby: Carson, Lawrence, Baird, Wisdom, Pearce, Weimann, Vydra (Hanson 85), Nugent (Jerome 82), Davies ©, Ledley (Palmer 73), Huddlestone.
Unused Subs: Roos, Forsyth, Keogh, Thomas.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Attendance: 28,503 (Away: 1,115)
NEXT UP: Wolves vs Birmingham City, Sunday 15th April, 12pm.