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Saturday, 30 March 2024 22:22

Diaby and Konsa goals keep Unai Emery on course for Champions League.

By Callum Matthews.

Aston Villa maintained their three-point lead over Tottenham in the race for Champions League football with a 2-0 win over Wolves at Villa Park.

After Spurs beat Luton earlier on Saturday to briefly go above Villa, Unai Emery's side rose to the pressure and found a way to win despite being far from their best.

Moussa Diaby's thunderbolt shot from the edge of the area, after a cross was half-cleared by Tommy Doyle, fizzed through a couple of Wolves defenders and goalkeeper Jose Sa to open the scoring.

Ezri Konsa sealed the points when his miscued cross from close to the right byeline drifted over Sa and in off the far post.

There was concern for Villa, though, with England striker Ollie Watkins withdrawn at half-time because of a hamstring injury and manager Emery said he would go for a scan on Sunday.

Tottenham have a game in hand on Villa and could yet take control of the race for fourth, but fifth spot may secure top-tier European football next season with the revamped tournament being introduced.

Villa find a way against exposed Wolves

Villa, who have now won as many Premier League games as they managed in the entirety of last season, were nowhere near their peak form.

However, results are key at this stage of the season and there may have to be more days like this.

They started slowly and missed the energy of the suspended John McGinn in midfield throughout.

Watkins had an early goal ruled out for offside, before Wolves wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri missed a gilt-edge chance.

A cross from the right was flicked into the unmarked Algerian by a Villa defender, but his strike from six yards was turned over the bar by Emi Martinez.

Wolves continued to dominate possession but were hampered. The absence of key forward players Pedro Neto, Hwang Hee-chan and Matheus Cunha meant there was a lack of quality and creativity in the final third.

Diaby's opener came almost out of the blue, stemming from a central free-kick chipped over to Alex Moreno on the left. His cross came off the outstretched leg of Doyle for Diaby to fire home first time.

Wolves manager Gary O'Neil may question his defenders, who were static and made no real attempt to block the shot.

Konsa's goal was extremely fortuitous at the end of a free-flowing move, but come the season's end on 19 May he and Villa may well look back on this as a key day.

Wolves, who had just one shot on target in the second half, have now lost three of their past four games in all competitions with their squad depth again being exposed at the highest level.

Premier League Results

Manchester United 1-1 Brentford.