REPORT: Owls 2-0 Leeds
Sheffield Wednesday moved into fifth place in the Sky Bet Championship after beating Yorkshire rivals Leeds 2-0 in this afternoon’s early kick-off.
After an even first half, two goals inside five second half minutes settled the affair with Gary Hooper grabbing his second brace of the week.
On the 47th minute Italian playmaker Fernando Forestieri edged past his man before chipping the ball towards the six-yard box, with Hooper on hand to poke home from close range.
And the on-loan Norwich forward made it six goals in six games three minutes later after capitalising on goalkeeper Marco Silvestri’s fumble of Forestieri’s shot before coolly slipping it past the Leeds number one.
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal made two changes to the side that beat Bolton 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Goalkeeper Lewis Price came in for the injured Joe Wildsmith between the posts, his fifth appearance of the campaign, while midfielder Sam Hutchinson returned to the starting XI in place of Atdhe Nuhiu.
Wednesday started the match brightly and came close to taking the lead inside eight minutes.
Hooper managed to get on the end of a fizzing cross by Jack Hunt but couldn’t direct his header on target from the edge of the six-yard box.
Leeds seemed to focus their energy on launching counter attacks after struggling to compete with the Owls’ dominance in possession.
Wednesday had keeper Price to thank after he produced a superb double stop to first get a hand to winger Stuart Dallas’ low strike, before recovering to make a fabulous reaction save from Souleymane Doukara.
The Whites grew into the game and started to find their feet, with Lewis Cook bursting into the penalty area before drilling just wide of Price’s right hand post.
Wednesday tried to capitalise on an advantage given by referee Anthony Taylor shortly after as Hooper and Forestieri charged at the Leeds backline, with the latter’s shot well held by Silvestri.
With the match goalless after 45 minutes, Wednesday flew out of the blocks after the break and netted twice in just five second half minutes.
Less than two minutes after the interval Hooper notched his third goal in four days after pouncing in a goalmouth scramble after Forestieri’s intelligent cut-back.
The second came just moments later on the 50th minute as Forestieri’s long range shot was spilled by Silvestri, with Hooper on hand to place the ball past the keeper to register his second brace in a row.
With the wind in their sails the home side looked to extend their advantage with Forestieri whistling one past the left hand post from distance.
Leeds needed to relieve some the pressure, with Doukara’s venomous drive from the right which flew inches wide their most notable chance of the half.
An incident for debate then ensued as the visitors thought they had pulled themselves back into the game as Liam Cooper fired in from close range. However, as Forestieri had not left the field to be replaced by substitute Lucas Joao the referee made the right call to retake the free kick and as a result chalked off the goal.
The Whites did threaten from the second free kick with defender Scott Wootton rising highest at the back post, but Daniel Pudil did splendidly to clear the former Manchester United man’s header off the line.
Jeremy Helan and Jose Semedo entered the fray as Carvalhal looked to see out the win with a clean sheet, a feat which they deserved given their excellent defensive play.
With the four minutes of added time up, Taylor blew his whistle to round off a first-rate performance all round for the Owls who moved into the play-off spots prior to the 3.00pm kick-offs.
Wednesday: Price, Hunt, Loovens, Sasso, Pudil, Wallace (Helan, 83), Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan, Forestieri (Joao, 78), Hooper (Semedo, 86)