Wolves 2-0 Derby: Ruben Neves scores stunner as Wanderers edge closer to Premier League
Last Updated: 12/04/18 6:17am
Ruben Neves scored another stunning goal as Wolves edged closer to promotion with a 2-0 win over Derby at Molineux on Wednesday night.
The Portuguese midfielder, whose wonderful free-kick earned their victory at Cardiff last Friday, struck a staggering volley after 51 minutes to add to Diogo Jota's smart opener at Molineux.
Wolves are now 11 points clear of Fulham in second and 12 ahead of Cardiff in third. They could secure their return to the Premier League before playing again, when they face Birmingham on Sunday, if results go their way on Saturday.
Ivan Cavaleiro was the only change for Wolves as he replaced Leo Bonatini, who dropped to the bench. While Derby were unchanged.
Derby, meanwhile, stay fifth in the table, two points clear of Middlesbrough in seventh. They do, however, have a game in hand on all the sides chasing a play-off spot below them.
Derby had kept back-to-back clean sheets but it only took six minutes for Wolves to take the lead. Willy Boly looked up and played a fine pass in for Diogo Jota, who raced in behind before taking a touch and lifting the ball past Scott Carson.
If the first goal was good then the second was incredible. Neves appeared to be in a harmless position when the ball dropped to him 25 yards from goal, but he clearly had other ideas as he teed up a volley with his first touch, before thundering home ferociously into the top corner with his second. Carson's incredulous reaction as he sat on the floor after it went in summed up what an incredible effort it was.
Wolves: Ruddy (7), Bennett (7), Coady (7), Boly (8), Doherty (7), Douglas (7), Saiss (7), Neves (9), Jota (8), Cavaleiro (6), Afobe (6)
Subs: Costa (n/a), Gibbs-White (n/a), Bonatini (n/a)
Derby: Carson (), Wisdom (), Pearce (), Davies (), Baird (), Ledley (5), Huddlestone (), Weimann (), Vydra (6), Lawrence (), Nugent (4)
Subs: Palmer (n/a), Hanson (n/a), Jerome (n/a)
Man of the match: Ruben Neves
Derby had been passively throughout the game at Molineux, never really looking like they believed they could win the game. And even at two goals down that didn't change as Wolves ran out comfortable winners.
Man of the match - Ruben Neves
"He scored the goal of a lifetime," said Don Goodman in the commentary box when awarding Man of the Match to Neves. Even without the stunning effort the Portuguese midfielder was brilliant again throughout.
Nuno: "Perfection is impossible but it was a very good performance and the boys played really good football in every moment, controlled in defence and both goals were beautiful. It was a good night for us.
"It was a fantastic goal, no doubt about that. Pure talent. [Neves and Jota] are helping us a lot but it's all about the team and the squad. We have to stay humble because that is my interpretation of football. Stay humble, work hard, and things will come.
"They'll have tomorrow off but on Friday we're back to work ahead of Birmingham at home. It's very important and it's a derby. Today is not the moment to talk [about promotion] because we have to focus. We want to please our fans and we'll try our best on Sunday."
Gary Rowett: "You have to take your hat off to them. You can work for three days on what you're going to do and then you give away a first goal in that manner. It's a very poor goal [for us], there was no pressure on the ball and we allowed Jota to run in behind. There's no excuse and we cannot defend like that.
"For the second goal, I wondered whether it was wrong to applaud the opposition's goal, because it's probably the best goal I've seen for a long time. You're talking about a team with three or four Champions League players in truth, and that showed tonight.
"We had the ball at times and had good control, but we didn't really cause them massive problems and when you open up against them they're exceptional and they pick you off."
Derby are back in Sky Bet Championship action at 3pm on Saturday at Burton, while Wolves host Birmingham at midday on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football.