Diego Costa was sent off for a head‑butt in stoppage time as Wolves battled to a draw at Brentford. A Rúben Neves cracker secured a point after Ben Mee had given the hosts the lead.
However the veteran striker Costa took exception to being marked by Mee and was shown a straight red card by Bobby Madley. The referee, officiating in the Premier League for the first time since he was sacked more than four years ago, checked his pitchside monitor before giving Costa his marching orders.
Costa will now serve a three‑match ban, meaning he will not feature again for Wolves until after the World Cup. “He’s apologised,” said Steve Davis, the club’s caretaker manager. “When emotions are high it is difficult to discuss things, but we’ll have a conversation with him next week. It will open up doors for other players or maybe we will play in a different way.”
It was an explosive end to a match that failed to ignite until the second half. Ivan Toney remains eager to impress the England manager, Gareth Southgate, before the World Cup. But the striker, who has scored six of Brentford’s last eight Premier League goals, passed up three decent chances in the opening period.
Toney missed his kick in front of goal after being teed up by Bryan Mbeumo and lost his footing racing on to Vitaly Janelt’s through ball. Mbeumo found his strike partner again late in the half but this time he trod on the ball and another opportunity went begging.
Thomas Frank explained that the striker had been ill during the week. “He was sick on Thursday, on Friday,” the Brentford manager said. “But it just shows his mentality that he still got on to the pitch.”
Josh Dasilva curled a shot narrowly wide for Brentford, who lost Mathias Jensen to a calf injury after half an hour. Wolves were also forced into a change when Matheus Nunes suffered a shoulder injury but his replacement, João Moutinho, immediately volleyed just off target from a corner.
Costa, passed fit despite suffering a knock in training on Wednesday, then got on the end of a Daniel Podence cross but his header flew over. With the forwards all misfiring it was centre-back Mee who took matters into his own hands at the start of the second half. From a short corner, he acrobatically turned in a cross from Mbeumo.
“He’s probably playing the best football of his life,” said Frank. “He looks like he found his second youth. He’s a giant in there at the back, he gets a head on everything, and today he scored like Ronaldo back in the day. He deserved three points today.”
Mee’s finish was a spectacular goal which Toney would have been proud to score, but it was cancelled out 110 seconds later. Nélson Semedo collected the ball from Adama Traoré and squared to Neves, who crashed a superb first‑time effort past David Raya from the edge of the box.
Costa had the best chances to win it for the visitors when he twice wriggled his way into shooting positions but Raya made two fine saves. The Wolves striker’s frustration got the better of him when he shoved his head into Mee’s and he was sent off following a VAR check.
“A point was fair,” said Davis. “Both teams wanted to win the game and it was quite equally balanced. … Rúben’s was a great finish and we’ve seen him do that many times. You know where it’s going to go.”