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Report: Braga 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday

24 July 2015

Wednesday suffered their first defeat of pre-season, going down 2-1 to Braga in Portugal.

Rodrigo Pinho gave Braga an early lead and Caolan Lavery hit back in the second half. But with the Owls in dominant mood, they were punished against the run of play when Alan struck a late winner.

Overall, though, Wednesday turned in their most impressive pre-season display in a well contested friendly at The Estadio Da Nora.

They had to recover from a double early setback, though. After missing a good chance screwed wide from close range moments after the kick-off, Pinho made no mistake from his second opportunity on eight minutes.

The striker found room just inside the penalty area to finish a swift Braga move with some aplomb to give his side the lead.

Wednesday were hit with another blow five minutes later when Keiren Westwood left the field – new recruit Lewis Price came on for the Republic of Ireland international.

But prior to that, the Owls started brightly, with only a last-ditch tackle in the area by Boly denying Marco Matias a clean sight of goal.

The tackles flew in despite the game’s friendly billing and Vincent Sasso picked up a yellow card half an hour in for a late tackle on Buiano.

Boly then rescued Braga ten minutes before half time with another well-timed challenge, this time to thwart Lavery from a swift Wednesday counter.

Still there was time for another talking point in the first half when, moments before the whistle, Alex Lopez went down in the box after tussling with Buiano but the referee waved away the Owls’ penalty appeals.

The steady pace continued after the break and Goiano went into the book for a foul on Matias, before the Owls came within a whisker of equalising on 53 minutes through Lewis McGugan, whose delicate chip struck the angle of the upright.

Wednesday were in the driving seat and Melo burst goalwards only to be blocked by Battiglia, who was duly booked.

But the Owls persisted and deservedly levelled on 68 minutes. Stevie May sent Lavery scampering through and although keeper Stanislav Kritciuk got a hand to the ball, the Wednesday striker slotted home at the second attempt.

Lavery and Matias then had strong shots blocked as Carlos Carvalhal’s men went for the winner – only to hit on the break to concede the decider themselves with 12 minutes to go.

Braga won a corner from which Alan was perfectly placed to side-foot into the back of the net at the back post to seal victory.

Owls: Westwood (Price 13), Palmer (Hunt 79), Sasso (Loovens 46), Lees, Helan, Wallace (May 46), Semedo (Melo 46), Lopez (Lee 79), McGugan, Lavery (Nuhiu 79), Matias

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