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Wolves 4-3 Leicester City: Diogo Jota hat-trick as hosts snatch win in thriller

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was sent to the stands for his part in celebrating the winner
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was sent to the stands for his part in celebrating the winner

Diogo Jota completed a hat-trick in injury time to snatch a thrilling victory for Wolves, who punished a dire Leicester defensive display to increase the pressure on Foxes boss Claude Puel.

A dramatic climax at Molineux produced scenes of stark contrast - with Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo being sent to the stands for racing to celebrate the winner with his players, as Puel put his hands over his face to show the strain of defeat.

Leicester attempted to play offside in the final added minute and Jota was left unmarked to turn in a Raul Jimenez cross, moving his side to eighth in the Premier League table, a place above their opponents.

The Portuguese forward had opened the scoring by prodding home at the back post, with Ryan Bennett heading a second to prompt chants of "sacked in the morning" being aimed at Puel.

Clearly angry in the opening 45 minutes, the Leicester boss saw his side hit back within six minutes of the restart - first through Demarai Gray's solo run and finish, and then a Conor Coady own goal.

But after digging themselves out of trouble, Leicester's defence was again undone by a Ruben Neves long ball for Jota to power in his second, only for Wes Morgan to head a late equaliser which appeared to have earned them a point that had seemed so unlikely for much of the game.

Wolves, who beat Leicester 4-3 the last time this fixture was played in the top flight at Molineux in 2003, had other ideas and, in a chaotic finish, Jota won it with Leicester again a mess at the back.

Questions for Puel and Leicester

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Puel blames 'naive' Leicester after 'incredible' defeat

Puel is the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post but his side came into the fixture with three wins from their past five league games.

Criticism from the Foxes fanbase suggests a dislike of a pragmatic style of play but his side were simply charitable on Saturday, with the Frenchman describing the display as "naive".

While Wolves were intense in their play early on, each time they came forward they seemed to have the visitors chasing shadows, with Morgan exposed at times and Danny Simpson punished as Jota stole in to prod the opener from six yards.

Leicester had been competitive in the opening 45 minutes - Jamie Vardy almost turning home after robbing Rui Patricio, while Gray tested the Wolves keeper.

But they have conceded the opening goal in a league-high 15 games this season - a habit of making life difficult for themselves that may have been behind Puel angrily screaming instructions on the sideline.

Whatever he said at half-time worked, though, and perhaps shows he still holds influence in the dressing room because within six minutes his side were level when Harvey Barnes - making his first Premier League start - fired in off Coady.

Again though, a lack of pressure on Neves and the ease with which Jota ran clear to make it 3-2 summed up the constant lack of defensive instinct, though their spirit in again coming back through Morgan's close-range header was a positive.

Centre-back Harry Maguire had to leave the field because of injury, which is another headache for Puel - but he has bigger problems and will again face questions about his future.

He could be forgiven for sitting on the team bus wondering how his side could be so slack time and again in this fixture.

Wolves overcome weaknesses in style

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was sent to the stands for his part in celebrating the winner
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo later said it was right he was sent off for his celebration

Jota's finish sent Molineux - and Nuno - wild as their season took another positive step.

The Portuguese manager may get over his dismissal quickly because he has cultivated a committed spirit in his side and no other team has scored more injury-time winners than Wolves' three this term.

However, there was plenty not to like about his side in what was a confused display in many ways.

Brilliant early on, notably Joao Moutinho's class in assisting the opening two goals, they were rewarded with a cushion - but they stopped playing for pockets of the first half, giving Leicester chances and hope.

Wolves have kept only one clean sheet in their past 15 league outings and Morgan's leveller means 11 of the past 19 goals they have conceded have come from set-plays.

But perhaps such moments of weakness can be expected from a side who have lost five of their past seven home league games and, crucially, they found a way to overcome them and win in the Premier League for the first time in 2019.

In Moutinho and Neves they have cultured gems, while Jota's endless energy and the selfless nature of Jimenez up front create a threat.

For all that was wrong with parts of this display, there is so much for Wolves fans to like in what is proving to be a superb season - not least the fact they witnessed one of their players score a top-flight hat-trick for the first time since John Richards netted three against Leicester in 1977.

'An unbelievable game' - manager reaction

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'Lovely to finish this way' - Nuno on dramatic Wolves win

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo: "Very good game, but a game we have to look at. Everyone enjoys the result, a fantastic game of football with two teams playing to win the game.

"After our advantage, we should manage the game better - but in football it is never finished."

Leicester manager Claude Puel: "It was an unbelievable game. I think we have a lot of different feelings in this game.

"We started with poor intentions and conceded two early goals. We didn't manage the game at the end, we were naive in our goals and our management at the end of the game."

Man of the match - Diogo Jota (Wolves)

Diego Jota with the match ball after Wolves' win over Leicester
Even if Jota had not completed his hat-trick, he had still done enough to earn the man-of-the-match award for tireless running, chasing lost causes and generally being a nuisance. His three goals showed different qualities - the first an instinctive prod, the second a fine example of control and power and the third a cool finish when the points were on the line.

Jota joins Ronaldo - the stats

  • Wolves were two goals up at half-time for only the fourth time in the Premier League, and they have won all four of those games.
  • Leicester have lost five of their past eight league matches after going six games without defeat before that (W2 D4).
  • Wolves' Diogo Jota has had a hand in six goals in his past five league appearances (five goals, one assist).
  • Jota is the second Portuguese player to score a Premier League hat-trick after former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel conceded his 200th, 201st and 202nd Premier League goals in his 156th game in the competition. It took his father - Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel - 241 games to hit the 200 goals conceded mark in the English top flight.
  • Joao Moutinho is the first Wolves player to provide two assists in a Premier League game since Kevin Doyle against Swansea in April 2012.

Up next?

Wolves go to Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup next Saturday, while Leicester have a weekend off and next face Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on 30 January.

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5BennettBooked at 44mins
  • 16Coady
  • 27Saïss
  • 19Castro OttoBooked at 86mins
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 8Neves
  • 28João MoutinhoSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 81'minutes
  • 29VinagreSubstituted forDohertyat 73'minutes
  • 9Jiménez
  • 18JotaBooked at 45mins

Substitutes

  • 2Doherty
  • 7Cavaleiro
  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 17Gibbs-White
  • 21Ruddy
  • 23Giles
  • 37Traoré

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 2SimpsonSubstituted forIheanachoat 83'minutes
  • 5Morgan
  • 15MaguireSubstituted forEvansat 48'minutes
  • 3Chilwell
  • 24MendyBooked at 2mins
  • 25NdidiBooked at 58mins
  • 14Ricardo PereiraBooked at 45mins
  • 7Gray
  • 19BarnesSubstituted forMaddisonat 73'minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 6Evans
  • 8Iheanacho
  • 10Maddison
  • 11Albrighton
  • 12Ward
  • 28Fuchs
  • 38Choudhury
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh
Attendance:
31,278

Match Stats

Home TeamWolvesAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home12
Away16
Shots on Target
Home7
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away9
Fouls
Home11
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 4, Leicester City 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 4, Leicester City 3.

Goal!

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 4, Leicester City 3. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raúl Jiménez.

Attempt missed. Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Raúl Jiménez with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by James Maddison.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Ryan Bennett.

Goal!

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 3, Leicester City 3. Wes Morgan (Leicester City) header from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by James Maddison with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Foul by Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City).

Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Danny Simpson.

Attempt missed. James Maddison (Leicester City) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ricardo Pereira.

Substitution

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

Jonny Evans (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Attempt missed. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. James Maddison replaces Harvey Barnes.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Matt Doherty replaces Rúben Vinagre.

Attempt missed. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Jonny Evans.

Goal!

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 3, Leicester City 2. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Rúben Neves with a through ball following a fast break.

Dangerous play by Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City).

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

Booking

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Jonny.

Foul by Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City).

João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Own Goal by Conor Coady, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Leicester City 2.

Attempt missed. Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Rui Patrício.

Attempt saved. Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jamie Vardy.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Jonny Evans replaces Harry Maguire because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Harry Maguire (Leicester City) because of an injury.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Man City22172359174253
3Tottenham22160646222448
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Man Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolves239592731-432
9Leicester2394102929031
10West Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield2225151337-2411
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