REPORT: Boro 3-0 Owls
Wednesday fell at the first hurdle of the FA Cup as Premier League Middlesbrough prevailed 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium.
A low key first half gave way to a much-improved second as goals from Grant Leadbitter, Alvaro Negredo and Martin de Roon sent the home team through.
The hosts also had Daniel Ayala sent off after the break but rode any hint of a storm to enter the fourth round draw.
The Owls overall were a match for Boro in terms of possession but fell short in the final third, where Aitor Karanka’s men made the most of their few opportunities.
Neither keeper was tested in the early part of the game as both sides cancelled each other out, with openings at a premium.
Indeed, almost half an hour was on the clock before the first chance of note when Ayala spooned over the crossbar following a Boro set piece.
More intense pressure followed and Adama Traore was thwarted near the goal line by Barry Bannan before George Friend fired the rebound against Liam Palmer.
The Owls were handed a scare just after the restart when Negredo sent de Roon in on goal but Joe Wildsmith was off his line swiftly to smother the danger.
Then the cup contest exploded into life with a goal and a red card – both to the Teessiders.
On 58 minutes, Leadbitter lined up a free kick from 25 yards and picked his spot to beat the diving Wildsmith to give Boro the lead.
Just two minutes later, though, the hosts were down to ten men when Ayala saw red for bringing down Fernando Forestieri when the Italian was sprinting goalwards.
But Boro brushed themselves down and doubled their lead on 68 minutes to all but seal victory.
Wildsmith was given little time to clear his lines as Negredo pounced and the ball cannoned off the striker into the back of the unguarded net.
Boro them put the game to bed in the last minute when de Roon converted from ten yards after Wildsmith did well to keep Cristhian Stuani at bay following a mazy run and shot inside the penalty area.
Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer (Joao 71), Lees, Loovens, Pudil, Reach, Bannan, Jones, Wallace, Forestieri, Fletcher (Nuhiu 71)