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Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Crystal Palace. Premier League.

Molineux.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

  • D Podence (41st minute)
  • J Otto (68th minute)

Crystal Palace 0

    Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace: Daniel Podence, Jonny goals close hosts in on top-seven finish

    Report and free highlights as Daniel Podence nets first goal in Wolves colours to leave them able to seal sixth in final game

    Tuesday 21 July 2020 07:35, UK

    preview image 2:49
    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Wolves' win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

    Goals from Daniel Podence and Jonny put Wolves on the brink of a European spot with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Molineux.

    Podence's first goal in Wolves colours minutes before the interval set the hosts on their way, crafted by a Joao Moutinho lofted pass into Matt Doherty, who squared for the January signing to nod home unmarked from four yards.

    Palace's chances were few and far between while Wolves tested Vicente Guaita after the break through Adama Traore, who fired straight at the goalkeeper when well-placed.

    Player ratings

    Wolves: Patricio (7), Doherty (7), Dendoncker (7), Coady (7), Boly (6), Jonny (7), Podence (8), Neves (6), Moutinho (6), Traore (9), Jimenez (7)

    Subs: Neto (6), Jota (6)

    Palace: Guaita (7), Ward (6), Dann (6), Sakho (6), Mitchell (6), Townsend (6), McArthur (6), McCarthy (7), Schlupp (6), Zaha (7), Ayew (6)

    Subs: Kouyate (6), Riedewald (6)

    Man of the match: Adama Traore

    But they did find a way through again when the Portuguese winger's excellent run and cross was turned in by Jonny (68).

    After a comfortable closing period, Wolves moved up to sixth position, meaning they need only a point to secure themselves at least seventh - a position which will be enough for Europa League qualification if Arsenal do not win the FA Cup, while Palace were left lamenting a seventh straight defeat.

    Wolves continue exceptional restart form to close on Europe

    Wolves' level of consistency since the restart, bar a minor blip at the start of the month, had made life simple for Nuno Espirito Santo and his men - keep winning, and Europa League football would follow.

    Daniel Podence scored his first goal for Wolves to put them ahead
    Image: Daniel Podence scored his first goal for Wolves to put them ahead

    It was Crystal Palace who forged the first chance, however, in a laboured first period at Molineux as Willy Boly's error allowed Wilfried Zaha to slip through Jeffrey Schlupp, but he missed the far post by a matter of inches.

    More on this story

    Such chances would have to be put away if Palace had genuine hopes of ending their losing streak, and so it proved four minutes before the break when that miss was punished.

    Moutinho showed his usual deft touch and vision to lift a ball over the static visiting backline to meet Doherty's run, and his cross left Podence the easiest of headers to open the scoring.

    The vast majority of Wolves' goals since the restart have come after the interval, so a first-half lead was a bonus - and it was little surprise they improved their attacking intent after the break, with Traore shooting straight at Guaita when either side would have doubled the lead.

    Team news

    Nuno Espirito Santo recalled Leander Dendoncker, Matt Doherty and Jonny, while Daniel Podence got the nod in attack. However, Pedro Neto had to settle for a place on the subs' bench.

    Palace were without left-back Patrick van Aanholt, with 20-year-old Tyrick Mitchell taking his place in defence on his first-ever Premier League start. The visitors were also missing defensive duo Gary Cahill and James Tomkins, as well as skipper Luka Milivojevic with injury, while striker Christian Benteke was suspended.

    It would not take long to build themselves a cushion, though, with a typically surging Traore run to the byline picking out Raul Jimenez, who in turn found Jonny to turn and finish smartly for his first Molineux goal in almost two years.

    Traore and Zaha exchanged efforts with time running out while the Palace forward should perhaps have cut the deficit in injury time, but by then it was too little, too late - to leave Wolves able to secure Europa League football with a win at Chelsea on Sunday, while Crystal Palace will look to finally curb their losing run against Tottenham.

    Opta facts

    • Wolves have now had 12 different goal scorers in this season's Premier League without any being English; only Arsenal (13 in 2006-07) have had more in a campaign in the competition without having an English scorer (excluding own goals)
    • Crystal Palace have lost seven league games in succession, failing to score in six of those defeats. They have earned just three points since the Premier League resumed in June (P8 W1 D0 L7); only bottom-placed Norwich City (none) have fewer in this time.
    • Wolves have won back-to-back home league games for the first time this season having last done so in May 2019; they have done so without conceding in both victories for the first time since September 2018.
    • Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has lost seven consecutive league games for the first time in his managerial career in England.

    What the managers said...

    Nuno: "Progress season-on-season is the idea. We are improving, building and looking for the next challenge. We embrace that.

    "It pleases me a lot. The credit is all for the players. It has been a long season, one calendar year. I think surpassing last season's points is a fair reward for us.

    "The idea of improvement and the building process makes sense. We have achieved two more points than last season with one game to go. A lot of credit goes to the players in such a complicated season with all these issues and the
    pandemic. The belief of the players is incredible.

    "It always feels good to win but it was two different halves. We played much better in the second. In the first half we should have moved the ball faster.

    "Talent comes after the organisation, it's much easier when you are solid in the game."

    Hodgson: "It was a bit of a groundhog day for us. We lose Mamadou Sakho (to injury after 23 minutes) and I thought in the first half the team played very well.

    "Conceding just before half-time was a blow and in the second half we did the best we could do. We just have to keep picking ourselves off the floor.

    "It's pretty obvious we have to try to dust ourselves down and try to get freshened up because there are a lot of tired legs.

    "Even with all of our best players available we would be looking at a match against Tottenham as a very difficult one to win.

    "It's going to be a tough one, we'll do our level best to get a result but you don't get it just by saying how important it is to get one."

    Man of the Match - Adama Traore

    The forward was at his unplayable best against Palace, giving the visitors' young left-back Tyrick Mitchell a tough examination on his first-ever Premier League start.

    Palace opted to double up on the Spaniard for most of the match, with the returning Jeffrey Schlupp in effect operating as a second left back, not that it stopped the paceman.

    In the end, Traore just had too much trickery and speed for his opponents, as seen with his buccaneering run and cross for the hosts' decisive second goal.

    And the only thing missing from the 24-year-old's man-of-the-match performance was a goal, which he would have got had he not shot straight at Vicente Guaita following another breathtaking solo run in the second half.

    What's next?

    Wolves finish their Premier League season with a game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, Palace conclude their league campaign by hosting Tottenham at Selhurst Park on Sunday, with both matches kicking off at 4pm.

    Super 6: Who makes play-offs? Who goes down?

    Super 6: Who makes play-offs? Who goes down?

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