Diego Costa on the scoresheet as Wolves boost survival hopes with Brentford win

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Diego Costa’s first Premier League goal for six years helped fire Wolves closer to survival.

The striker inspired the hosts to a 2-0 win over Brentford to end his wait for a goal after his September arrival.

Hwang Hee-Chan netted a crucial second, with Wolves now seven points clear of the relegation zone with seven games left after successive league wins for just the second time this season.

Julen Lopetegui’s side edged towards safety and another barnstorming Costa display sparked memories of his bullying best at Chelsea.

The relegation battle, which has enveloped half the league, has now started to provide more clarity amid the chaos and Wolves will fancy their chances.

Brentford have no such worries but their European hopes continue to fade after a damaging defeat.

They remain ninth but are four points behind Brighton having played two games more. Not that failing to reach Europe should be a criticism of what has been a fine season, but it is one which is threatening to drift into mid-table comfort.

At Molineux, the Bees rarely got going and needed David Raya to superbly turn Mario Lemina’s 20-yard effort over early on.

The goalkeeper was also equal to Matheus Cunha’s strike as Wolves, who had won four of their previous six league games at Molineux, looked for a quick advantage.

Four points clear of the drop zone at kick-off, the hosts knew survival was within reach, and with confidence from last week’s win over Chelsea they continued to press.

A leaner Costa forced Raya into a low stop as he threatened to end his Wolves drought having taken time to readjust to the Premier League.

The Bees initially looked to frustrate and 18-goal Ivan Toney was on the periphery until he had two quickfire glimpses of goal.

Bryan Mbeumo’s cross found Toney, his shot deflected into Josh Dasilva’s path but his instinctive lob dropped over the bar.

Two minutes later Toney’s drive was blocked by a sprawling Max Kilman but Wolves remained on top and opened the scoring after 27 minutes.

It was all down to Costa’s driving run from midfield as he charged forward to pick out Toti on the left.

The striker continued into the box to collect Toti’s cross, evade Christian Norgaard and stab past Raya from 12 yards for his first goal in English football since the 2017 FA Cup final.

Wolves were unbeaten in Lopetegui’s previous eight matches when they had taken the lead so the signs were ominous for Brentford.

Defeat leaves them with just two wins from their last 10 games to further dent any European hopes.

They needed a response but it never came and Raya’s sharp stop denied Costa a second four minutes after the break.

The goalkeeper, so reliable for the Bees this season, had kept them in touching distance but survived a scare soon after when Toti went down under his challenge following Mbeumo’s poor pass.

Wolves screamed for a penalty but a VAR check – by Stuart Attwell – rejected their claims, much to Molineux’s frustration.

Brentford did improve and Yoane Wissa’s tame effort was easy for Jose Sa but Wolves wrapped up victory with 21 minutes left.

It was created by Matheus Nunes – whose spectacular effort earned last week’s 1-0 win at Chelsea – as the midfielder darted down the left and skipped between Rico Henry and Vitaly Janelt.

His low cross was then blocked by Ethan Pinnock but it rolled straight into the path of Hwang to tap in.

Toney hit the bar in stoppage time but there was no way back for Brentford.

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