Dendoncker strike steers Wolves past Aston Villa

Leander Dendoncker's winner took Wolves to the fifth place in the Premier League, while it left Aston Villa stuck in the relegation zone.

Leander Dendoncker

Leander Dendoncker celebrates scoring for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Wolverhampton Wanderers boosted its Champions League qualification hopes with a 1-0 West Midlands derby win at Aston Villa on Saturday as Leander Dendoncker grabbed a 62nd minute winner.

The victory lifts Wolves above Manchester United into fifth place, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, although it has played a game more than both teams.

MATCH CENTRE - AVL vs WOL

The loss is another blow for Villa in its battle against relegation and leaves it second from bottom on 27 points.

The decisive moment came when Raul Jimenez swung a ball in from the left flank and Jonny did well to set up Dendoncker, who opened up enough space to drill the ball into the bottom corner.

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Wolves had the better of the game throughout, keeping possession in midfield while Villa struggled to create openings against a well-drilled Wanderers back line.

Villa had a let-off, two minutes before the break, when its keeper Orjan Nyland threw the ball straight to Diogo Jota but the Wolves forward wasted the opportunity.

 

Wolves has now won all three of its games since the Premier League's restart.

“I think we performed well in terms of our organisation and in terms of staying in the game. We approached the game really well. We didn't settle down early on, but once we had a couple of opportunities we started to control the game and create more chances,” said Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

Villa has picked up just two points from its last six games and while it is level with Bournemouth and West Ham United, it has also played a game more. The side faces champion Liverpool in its next match.

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Dean Smith, Villa's manager, lamented his team's schedule and felt his team had deserved more. “We more than watched a top-six team today but they managed to get a goal from the edge of the box out of nothing and we didn't convert the chances we had,” said Smith.

“I thought today was about fatigue. It is crazy to play four games in 11 days, and you will get fatigued doing that,” he said.

FA Cup quarterfinals mean the match was the only Premier League fixture on Saturday. Watford hosts Southampton on Sunday.

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