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Watford 1-2 Wolves: Diogo Jota strike sends visitors seventh

Diogo Jota, Wolevs
Diogo Jota's ninth league goal of the season earned Wolves all three points at Vicarage Road

Wolves moved four points clear of Watford in the race for seventh place in the Premier League as goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota helped Nuno Espirito Santo's side beat the Hornets at Vicarage Road.

Jimenez opened the scoring with his 13th league goal of the season, turning Jota's low cross past Ben Foster from point-blank range.

Andre Gray capitalised on an error from Ryan Bennett to equalise for Watford shortly after the restart, but a mistake from Foster allowed Wolves to retake the lead with 13 minutes remaining.

Foster misjudged Ruben Neves' long ball into the Watford penalty area, allowing Jota to tap into the unguarded net to seal the win for the visitors.

The result lifts Wolves on to 54 points, while Watford drop to ninth.

Seventh heaven for Wolves?

With two games remaining, Wolves are on course to finish as the 'best of the rest' in the Premier League table behind the current 'big six'.

It has been a magnificent campaign for Nuno's side and they will take the last available European spot if they hold on to seventh place and Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final next month.

The first half at Vicarage Road was a far cry from the drama of the FA Cup semi-final three weeks ago, with both teams struggling to create clear-cut chances in a pedestrian opening.

Jimenez nearly put the visitors in front shortly after the half-hour mark when he got on the end of Leander Dendoncker's low cross, but Etienne Capoue magnificently cleared the ball off the line.

The Mexican made no mistake moments later, though, heading Jota's teasing delivery into the net via Ben Foster's outstretched left leg to break the deadlock.

The goal was Jimenez's 13th in the league this term - no other Wolves player has ever scored more in a single Premier League season.

Watford started the second half with added urgency and deservedly drew level following Bennett's error, but the visitors continued to create the better openings and retook the lead when Jota took advantage of Foster's lapse in concentration to volley home the winner.

Wolves need one more win to become the first newly promoted side to finish in the top eight since Reading did so in 2005-06.

Toothless Watford fall short

Watford needed a superb comeback to defeat Wolves at Wembley earlier this month, but there was to be no late revival on this occasion as Javi Gracia's 50th Premier League game in charge of the Hornets ended in defeat.

The hosts took a while to get going but showed glimpses of their attacking potential as the first half wore on.

Gerard Deulofeu, who delivered a sensational display at Wembley three weeks ago, fired harmlessly wide after being played through by Roberto Pereyra, before Will Hughes headed Adrian Mariappa's delivery over the crossbar.

Gracia's side were gifted a route back into the game four minutes into the second half. Bennett's loose ball was intercepted by Deulofeu, who attempted to round Watford goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

The Portuguese custodian got a hand to the ball, but Gray was on hand to lash home the equaliser for his seventh league goal of the campaign.

Unfortunately for the hosts, that proved to be their only shot on target in the whole 90 minutes.

If the Hornets finish outside the top seven, they will have to beat Manchester City in next month's FA Cup final to qualify for Europe.

Man of the match - Diogo Jota (Wolves)

Diogo Jota, Wolves
Diogo Jota scored one and set up another at Vicarage Road to boost his team's European hopes. The 22-year-old also attempted more shots (four) than anyone else on the pitch.

No home comforts for Hornets - the stats

  • Watford have won just three of their last nine Premier League home games, drawing three and losing three.
  • Wolves ended a run of five Premier League away games without a win (D2 L3), after winning three of the five before that.
  • Raul Jimenez has been directly involved in 20 Premier League goals for Wolves this season (13 goals, 7 assists), the fourth-biggest haul in a campaign by a non-British player for a newly promoted side (Bryan Roy - 24 for Nottingham Forest in 94/95, Niall Quinn - 22 for Sunderland in 99/00 and Peter Odemwingie - 22 for West Brom in 10/11).
  • All five of Diogo Jota's assists for Wolves this season have been for Raul Jimenez, the most Premier League assists exclusively for one player by another.
  • Jota has had a hand in seven goals in his last eight Premier League games (4 goals, 3 assists), as many as he managed in his previous 23.
  • Andre Gray has scored five goals in his last seven home games for Watford in all competitions, having netted just three in his first 23 appearances at Vicarage Road for the Hornets.
  • Since the start of 2016/17, Watford's Jose Holebas has picked up 33 yellow cards in the Premier League, more than any other player.

'Seventh doesn't guarantee anything' - what the managers said

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'Very soft goal' frustrates Gracia after Watford loss

Watford manager Javi Gracia, speaking to BBC's Match of the Day: "It was a close game like all the games against them. After we scored a goal in the second half we were playing better. We then conceded a soft goal.

"I think something about the team and not one player. In the last games we are conceding avoidable goals - we need to improve to get better results.

"We were improving but in our best moment we conceded a goal. We have two important games and then we have an FA Cup final.

"We want to achieve the best position. Before we had chances to qualify for Europe, and after this game it's the same."

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Nuno praises Jimenez and Jota partnership

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo: "It feels good because the boys worked hard. I think it was reward for the work of the boys against a very tough and difficult opponent.

"Jota and Jimenez have been working really hard. I truly believe the more time they spend together the more good things will happen.

"Maybe I'm the only one in the country that knows that seventh position doesn't guarantee anything. It's not about finishing as high as possible, but it's about finishing as well as possible."

What's next?

Wolves welcome already relegated Fulham to Molineux next Saturday (15:00 BST), while Watford travel to face top-four hopefuls Chelsea the following day (14:00 BST).

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15CathcartSubstituted forSuccessat 82'minutesBooked at 85mins
  • 25HolebasBooked at 62mins
  • 29CapoueBooked at 90mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 19HughesSubstituted forKabaseleat 74'minutes
  • 37Pereyra
  • 7Deulofeu
  • 18Gray

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Janmaat
  • 10Success
  • 11Masina
  • 12Sema
  • 14Chalobah
  • 27Kabasele

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5Bennett
  • 16Coady
  • 15Boly
  • 2Doherty
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 8Neves
  • 28João MoutinhoBooked at 61mins
  • 19Castro Otto
  • 9JiménezSubstituted forCavaleiroat 87'minutes
  • 18JotaBooked at 84minsSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 90+7'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Cavaleiro
  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 17Gibbs-White
  • 21Ruddy
  • 27Saïss
  • 29Vinagre
  • 37Traoré
Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
20,323

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamWolves
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Morgan Gibbs-White replaces Diogo Jota.

Booking

Etienne Capoue (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) because of an injury.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. João Moutinho tries a through ball, but Leander Dendoncker is caught offside.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ivan Cavaleiro replaces Raúl Jiménez.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers) because of an injury.

Booking

Isaac Success (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Isaac Success (Watford).

Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Matt Doherty tries a through ball, but Diogo Jota is caught offside.

Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Isaac Success replaces Craig Cathcart because of an injury.

Goal!

Goal! Watford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Rúben Neves.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Attempt blocked. João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Willy Boly.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Christian Kabasele replaces Will Hughes.

Attempt blocked. Will Hughes (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu.

Attempt missed. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by João Moutinho.

Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Offside, Watford. Roberto Pereyra tries a through ball, but Andre Gray is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Diogo Jota tries a through ball, but Raúl Jiménez is caught offside.

Roberto Pereyra (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Booking

José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool36287184206491
2Man City35292489226789
3Tottenham362311265362970
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal35206969462366
6Man Utd35197963501364
7Wolves36159124644254
8Everton36148145044650
9Watford36148145152-150
10Leicester35146154847148
11West Ham36137164554-946
12Crystal Palace36127174348-543
13Newcastle36119163645-942
14Bournemouth36126185265-1342
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton36911164461-1738
17Brighton3698193355-2235
18Cardiff3694233066-3631
19Fulham3675243476-4226
20Huddersfield3635282074-5414
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