WOLVERHAMPTONWANDERERS 4 LEICESTERCITY 3
Jan 19 (Reuters) – Diogo Jota completed a hat-trick in stoppage time to earn Wolverhampton Wanderers an amazing 4-3 win over Leicester City on Saturday in one of the best games of the Premier League season so far.
The late winner for Wolves, after they had repelled two fightbacks from their Midlands rivals, sparked jubilation at Molineux that even saw victorious manager Nuno Espirito Santo sent off for celebrating on the pitch with his players.
The Wolves boss accepted he was wrong to get so carried away that he rushed onto the playing area after the winner, saying: “I was sent off — but rightly so. You cannot go on the pitch.”
Yet he could hardly be blamed for getting over-excited after Leicester twice come back, at 2-0 and 3-2 down, and must have felt they had won a point for under-pressure manager Claude Puel when captain Wes Morgan made it 3-3 with an 87th minute header.
Instead, Wolves, who got off to a quick start with two goals in 12 minutes through Jota and a Ryan Bennett header, would not be denied as Jota snatched his third in the 93rd after a final thrust by the hosts saw them leapfrog Leicester in mid-table.
“In a game like this when you win you feel the greatest man in the world,” said Jota, who scored more goals in one match than he had in the rest of the season so far. “This is the kind of game I watched as a kid and now I am a part of it.”
It was heartbreaking for the Foxes who, after their sluggish start to the game, provided a sparkling start to the second half when two down, with a fine individual effort from Demarai Gray and a Conor Coady own goal dragging them back to parity.
It was unfortunate for Coady, who also scored an own goal on Monday against Manchester City, although there was little he could do when a shot from Harvey Barnes, just recalled from a loan deal, deflected off him into the net.
Wolves went ahead again in the 64th when a world-class through ball from Ruben Neves set up Jota to fire his second goal and, despite Morgan’s late leveller, the Portuguese swept in again to strike home Raul Jimenez’s pass at the death.
He was the first Wolves player to score a top-flight hat-trick since John Richards in 1977 — also against Leicester.
Frenchman Puel was left crestfallen by a result which puts his position even more under the microscope.
“It was an unbelievable game. It was crazy, we came back into the game with good quality and good chances. It was a fantastic feeling to come back to 3-3 and, of course, it is a big disappointment at the end.”
For Nuno, though, delight at the victory, after Wolves had won only two of their previous seven league matches at Molineux, was mixed with some concern.
“It was a very good game, but a game we have to look at. Everyone enjoys the result, a fantastic game of football, but after our early advantage, we should manage the game better — but in football it is never finished.”
(Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris)