Premier League
Wolves2Cardiff0

Wolves 2-0 Cardiff: Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez on target in comfortable win

Diogo Jota, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Diogo Jota opened the scoring from Wolves' first real attack of the game

Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez were on target as Wolves ended a three-match winless run in the league with victory over struggling Cardiff.

Jota broke the deadlock in the 16th minute, finishing confidently past Neil Etheridge following a free-flowing move.

Wolves doubled their lead just two minutes later when Jota teed up Jimenez, who fired low into the corner for his 11th league goal of the campaign.

Leander Dendoncker nearly made it 3-0 in the first half but struck the post from point-blank range before being denied by Etheridge on the follow-up.

Cardiff's woes were compounded by an injury to Sol Bamba, who was carried off on a stretcher before half-time with what appeared to be a knee injury.

The win lifts seventh-placed Wolves onto 43 points - more than they have previously amassed in the Premier League - while Cardiff remain 18th, two points off safety following a third consecutive defeat.

Wolves recover from dismal Huddersfield showing

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Nuno 'wishes' Wolves had scored more against Cardiff

Wolves produced one of their worst displays of the season in Tuesday's surprise 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield, with Nuno Espirito Santo's side failing to register a single shot on target.

The Portuguese said afterwards that such a performance "cannot happen again", while calling on his players to "bounce back" at the earliest opportunity.

The hosts did so in some style against Cardiff, producing the kind of slick, attacking football we have come to expect from them this season.

An intricate passing move involving Willy Boly, Morgan Gibbs-White and Jimenez set up Jota for the opener, which came against the run of play following a bright opening by the visitors.

Wolves dominated thereafter, going 2-0 up through Jimenez two minutes after Jota had scored.

Only a combination of wayward finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Etheridge prevented the hosts from extending their advantage after the restart, with Adama Traore particularly profligate in front of goal.

The former Middlesbrough man sliced a right-footed effort wide from the edge of the penalty area before firing low past Etheridge's left-hand post soon afterwards.

Jimenez thought he had scored another from Matt Doherty's pass, but Etheridge somehow got a hand to the ball to deflect the effort off target.

The 29-year-old produced a smart reflex save to deny Ruben Vinagre late on but it was still a highly satisfactory afternoon for Wolves, who remain in pole position to clinch seventh spot.

They have now won 12 league games this season, their highest total of victories in a top-flight campaign since 1980-81 when they managed 13.

Cardiff sweating on Bamba injury

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Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Cardiff City: Neil Warnock disappointed with goals conceded

Back-to-back victories at the beginning of February had propelled Cardiff out of the relegation places, but three defeats on the bounce have dented the Bluebirds' hopes of safeguarding their top-flight status.

Manager Neil Warnock had called on his players to "look in the mirror" following Tuesday's 3-0 defeat by Everton, but the visitors had no one but themselves to blame in the first 20 minutes at Molineux.

Jimenez and Jota were given far too much space for the two goals, while Vinagre and Traore will feel they should have added to the scoreline in the second half after escaping the attentions of the Cardiff defence.

To be fair to Warnock's side, they endured their fair share of misfortune.

Bamba was in considerable discomfort after appearing to twist his knee while challenging Traore in first-half stoppage time. Cardiff will hope the injury isn't as serious as first feared.

Warnock will also feel Wolves' defender Ryan Bennett - who will serve a two-match suspension after picking up his 10th booking of the season - should have been shown a second yellow card following a challenge on his namesake Joe.

On this evidence, though, it is hard to see Cardiff hauling themselves out of trouble.

The Bluebirds face Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in their next five games, before ending the campaign with a trip to Old Trafford.

Man of the match - Raul Jimenez (Wolves)

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Raul Jimenez not only netted his 13th goal of the campaign in all competitions, he also registered more attempts (three) and played more key passes (four) than any other Wolves player.

Bennett 'should have been sent off' - what the managers said

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo told Match of the Day: "The first half was very good, but not so good in the second half.

"Cardiff unbalanced themselves with their direct game and we had superiority and could have done better. A 2-0 scoreline is not a comfortable result ever, especially against Cardiff because they are so tough. I am always afraid something will happen."

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock told Match of the Day: "It has been the story of our season. We never gave ourselves a chance. The lads made mistakes they shouldn't have done and they know that."

On Sol Bamba's injury: "It is disappointing and sums our season up. We will regroup, probably without Sol and go again next week."

On Ryan Bennett's foul: "He should have been sent off, that is a booking anywhere else."

Twelve wins and counting - the stats

  • Cardiff have lost five of their past seven Premier League matches (W2), conceding two or more goals in each defeat.
  • Wolves have lost just one of their past seven matches in the Premier League (W4 D2).
  • Diogo Jota has been directly involved in nine goals in his past seven games in all competitions at Molineux (five goals, four assists).
  • There were just 134 seconds between Wolves' first and second goals against Cardiff.
  • There were 17 passes leading up to Diogo Jota's goal, the most passes before a Wolves goal in the Premier League this season.
  • Ryan Bennett (10) is one of three players to hit double figures for yellow cards in a single Premier League season for Wolves - after Paul Ince and Alex Rae in 2003-04.
  • Wolves' goalkeeper John Ruddy made his first start in the Premier League since May 2016 for Norwich versus Everton, 1,021 days ago.

What's next?

Wolves travel to Chelsea in their next league fixture on Sunday, 10 March (14:05 GMT), while Cardiff host West Ham the day before (15:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 21Ruddy
  • 5BennettBooked at 34mins
  • 16Coady
  • 15Boly
  • 37TraoréSubstituted forCavaleiroat 75'minutes
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 27Saïss
  • 17Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forJoão Moutinhoat 64'minutes
  • 29Vinagre
  • 9Jiménez
  • 18JotaSubstituted forDohertyat 47'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Doherty
  • 7Cavaleiro
  • 8Neves
  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 19Castro Otto
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 31Norris

Cardiff

  • 1Etheridge
  • 2PeltierBooked at 62mins
  • 4Morrison
  • 22BambaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forEcuele Mangaat 45+2'minutes
  • 3Bennett
  • 17Gunnarsson
  • 21Camarasa
  • 8Ralls
  • 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forPatersonat 59'minutes
  • 10Zohore
  • 29NiasseSubstituted forHealeyat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Ecuele Manga
  • 7Arter
  • 12Smithies
  • 13Paterson
  • 15Bacuna
  • 23K Harris
  • 32Healey
Referee:
Andre Marriner
Attendance:
31,309

Match Stats

Home TeamWolvesAway TeamCardiff
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home13
Away12
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away8
Fouls
Home11
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Cardiff City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Cardiff City 0.

Attempt blocked. Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Ralls with a cross.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Conor Coady.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Joe Bennett.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Neil Etheridge.

Attempt saved. Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Romain Saïss.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Matt Doherty.

Foul by Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Joe Ralls with a cross.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Romain Saïss.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rúben Vinagre tries a through ball, but Ivan Cavaleiro is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Romain Saïss.

Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Rhys Healey replaces Oumar Niasse.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ivan Cavaleiro replaces Adama Traoré.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Neil Etheridge.

Attempt saved. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Doherty.

Foul by Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City).

Attempt blocked. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Leander Dendoncker.

Attempt missed. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by João Moutinho with a cross following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. João Moutinho replaces Morgan Gibbs-White.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Neil Etheridge.

Attempt saved. Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Raúl Jiménez.

Booking

Lee Peltier (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Lee Peltier (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Callum Paterson replaces Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Ralls (Cardiff City).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City29232476205671
2Liverpool28216164154969
3Tottenham29201856302661
4Man Utd29177558382058
5Arsenal29176661392257
6Chelsea27165647291853
7Wolves29127103735243
8Watford28117103940-140
9West Ham29116123741-439
10Everton28106123939036
11Leicester28105133439-535
12Bournemouth29104153954-1534
13Crystal Palace2996143539-433
14Newcastle2987142636-1031
15Brighton2886143041-1130
16Burnley2986153253-2130
17Southampton2969143249-1727
18Cardiff2974182557-3225
19Fulham2845192663-3717
20Huddersfield2935211551-3614
View full Premier League table

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