Diogo Jota bags brace as Wolves ease past lowly Norwich

On-fire Diogo Jota bagged a brace as Wolves comfortably crushed Norwich 3-0 at Molineux to maintain their push for European football again next season.

After scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 Europa League thumping of Espanyol on Thursday night, Jota took his tally to 14 for the season with both goals in the first half.

Raul Jimenez then poached his 21st of the campaign early in the second period to leave Nuno Espirito Santo’s side two points behind fifth-placed Manchester United, and woeful City propping up the Premier League, seven points from safety.

For the opening 15 minutes, though, Wolves appeared to be suffering a post-Europa League hangover following the win over Espanyol as they were sluggish and off the pace.

The opening two chances fell the way of the visitors, initially with Teemu Pukki’s flick to a low ball in from the left from Kenny McLean saved by the feet of Rui Patricio in the seventh minute.

Four minutes later Pukki turned provider for McLean, laying a ball back to the midfielder who unleashed a first-time strike from the edge of the area that had Patricio just holding on due to the swerve on the ball.

But from Wolves’ opening goal in the 18th minute there was then only one team in the game as a Norwich side clearly lacking in confidence fell away.

From Leander Dendocker’s cross from the right, Matt Doherty collected, spun and played in Jota, who followed up with a spin away of his own from his marker before firing a low shot underneath Tim Krul from eight yards.

The goal eventually stood despite a typically-lengthy VAR check for a potential handball against Doherty in the build-up.

After Alexander Tettey had cleared off the toes of Jimenez a byline ball from Jota into the six-yard box, the latter made it 2-0 on the half-hour.

From a left-wing cross from Jonny that was flicked on by Dendoncker and turned back into the six-yard box by Romain Saiss, Jota tapped home from two yards. Another VAR check ruled out offside.

Only the brilliance of Krul then prevented Wolves from adding a third before the break, with two superb Ruben Neves free-kicks turned aside, with the second particularly spectacular as the Holland goalkeeper tipped a 20-yarder on to the crossbar.

The game was over as a contest five minutes into the second half, with Dendoncker sending Jimenez forward before a lay-off to Jota who unleashed a stunning right-foot drive that cannoned off a post.

Jimenez, though, had followed through with his run to be in the right place to bundle home from close range with Krul stranded.

After Norwich finally created another chance in the 55th minute, with Patricio saving from Max Aarons at his near post, Jota was then substituted nine minutes later to a standing ovation from the home faithful.

Wolves then comfortably saw the game out, keeping a fourth-consecutive clean sheet in all competitions for the first time since September/October 2018, while Norwich have failed to score in their last three league matches.

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