1-0, Jota, min. 21, 2-0, Afobe, min. 87
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Birmingham City: Premier League-bound Wolves cruise to comfortable victory

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Birmingham City: Premier League-bound Wolves cruise to comfortable victory

The hosts celebrated promotion in perfect style, handily taking their derby against their relegation-threatened rivals.

John Lupo

Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrated a return to the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Birmingham City at Molineux. Diogo Jota and Benfik Afobe scored either side of halftime to put Wolves on the edge of the league title, clinched with a victory over relegation-threatened Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Wolves were promoted to the Premier League for the first time since 2012 on Saturday after Fulham could only draw with Brentford while Garry Monk's Blues remain in relegation danger, two points clear of 22nd placed Barnsley, who have a game in hand, with three matches left.

Wolves take the lead after Birmingham's missed chances

Things might have been different for Birmingham if not for John Ruddy's superb early double save when Lukas Jutkiewicz fed Maxime Colin, who, free of the defense, just escaped the linesman's attention on the edge of the box.

Ruddy's first acrobatic block was followed by an even better stop on the second attempt when he quickly readjusted to turn away Colin's second effort.

That miss proved costly as the home side went in front when Romain Saiss sent Matt Doherty down the right-hand side and his hard, low cross curled wickedly out of Blues keeper David Stockdale's reach, allowing Jota to steer in from three yards.


Both teams squander opportunities as Blues are reduced to 10 men

Jota nearly doubled Wolves' lead when he was denied by Stockdale at the near post early in the second half. The game turned even further in the league leaders favor when Birmingham defender Harlee Dean was sent off against Wolves for the second time this season after taking down Helder Costa.

As well as Dean's red card, Blues also had Jonathan Grounds and Michael Morrison booked for heavy challenges on Jota as well as Wolves old boy David Davis, who was lucky to escape getting a yellow card as well, for his early challenge on Saiss.

Dean's second dismissal against Wolves this campaign means Birmingham have had a man sent off in four successive derbies following red cards for Jack Storer and Paul Robinson last season.


Wolves celebrate promotion in style as Afobe puts the game out of reach

Both teams continued to threaten the goal as Jutkiewicz went close to an equalizer when he had a left foot shot tipped over, before substitutes Leo Bonatini and Afobe were denied at the other end by Stockdale..

But Afobe brought the show down when he was fed into the box by Alfred N'Diaye and cheekily dinked the ball over the advancing Stockdale for his fifth goal since returning to Wolves in January on loan.