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Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Blackburn: Sasso bags first brace

by 14/02/2017 19:24:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Vincent Sasso scored both goals in Championship victory over Blackburn
  • Hard-fought win ensured Carlos Carvalhal's men remain in the play-off places
  • Rovers had Akpan sent off late on following his protests over a disallowed goal

By Alan Biggs For The Daily Mail

Published: 16:48 EST, 14 February 2017 | Updated: 19:24 EST, 14 February 2017

Owen Coyle branded the officiating 'beyond belief' after a series of big calls left Blackburn in the bottom three.

The Rovers boss felt his side were denied two late goals and that Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson should have seen red, rather than yellow, for the first-half challenge that saw top scorer Sam Gallagher carried off for 12 stitches across a deep gash.

Gallagher misses Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round clash with Manchester United.

Sheffield Wednesday's Vincent Sasso scores his second goal against Blackburn Rovetrs Sheffield Wednesday's Vincent Sasso scores his second goal against Blackburn Rovetrs

Sheffield Wednesday's Vincent Sasso scores his second goal against Blackburn Rovetrs

Hope Akpan was shown a straight red card for appearing to push referee Scott Duncan Hope Akpan was shown a straight red card for appearing to push referee Scott Duncan

Hope Akpan was shown a straight red card for appearing to push referee Scott Duncan

MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE

Sheff Wed: Westwood, Hunt, Sasso, Loovens, Fox (Forestieri 46), Wallace, Hutchinson (Jones 73), Bannan, Reach, Winnall (Fletcher 56), Rhodes

Subs Not Used: Wildsmith, Abdi, McManaman, Palmer

Booked: Hutchinson, Bannan, Reach

Goals: Sasso 18, 44

Blackburn: Steele, Lowe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Williams, Mahoney (Feeney 72), Guthrie (Emnes 65), Akpan, Bennett, Graham

Gallagher (Conway 37)

Subs Not Used: Nyambe, Tomlinson, Brown, Raya

Sent Off: Akpan (86).

Booked: Bennett

Goals: Hutchinson 20 og

Att: 24,603

Ref: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear)

 

If the football's on, it's on

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Substitute Marvin Emnes saw a late shot bounce down from the bar and appear to cross the line.

'It's not even a debate,' said Coyle. 'I knew at the time and I've seen it back. It was over.'

Coyle also argued that Hope Akpan's late goal, ruled out for handball, should have been allowed because the ball hit him on the chest.

But he refused to take issue with Akpan's subsequent red card after he appeared to push referee Scott Duncan.

Sasso (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal with team-mate Barry Bannan Sasso (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal with team-mate Barry Bannan

Sasso (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal with team-mate Barry Bannan

Wednesday paraded more than £12m worth of striking talent in the matchday squad - but stand-in defender Vincent Sasso upstaged them all.

The 25-year-old Frenchman, filling in for the injured Tom Lees, struck a brilliant first-half brace to steady his side in a most unexpected fashion.

Keiren Westwood preserved Wednesday's lead with two great saves. Sasso's finishing was a good deal more convincing than Wednesday's overall performance in advancing their push for the play-offs and leaving Blackburn in trouble.

No striker could have scored with more aplomb than Sasso in registering his first goals for the club and doubling his career tally. Carlos Carvalhal has felt moved to defend his side against claims they are not as convincing as last season - and the formbook supports him.  

Darragh Lenihan (left) and Wednesday striker Jordan Rhodes battle for the ball Darragh Lenihan (left) and Wednesday striker Jordan Rhodes battle for the ball

Darragh Lenihan (left) and Wednesday striker Jordan Rhodes battle for the ball

Wednesday entered this game on an impressive 10-match run showing only one defeat as they close in on the play-offs for the second year running. 

Their home record is especially strong, having won 10 and lost only three of the previous 14 league matches at Hillsborough. With new strikers Jordan Rhodes and Sam Winnall both opening their account in last Friday's 3-0 victory over Birmingham, the mood around the club was buoyant. 

Here, Rhodes was facing former team Blackburn, for whom he hit 85 goals in a three-and-a-half year stay up to an ill-fated move to Middlesbrough last season. Blackburn remained in a perilous position despite proving hard to beat of late. 

Only a shock win was likely to lift Coyle's team out of the bottom three. Rovers went in with three changes from their 1-1 draw at Rotherham. Wednesday showed only one deviation from a 3-0 home win over Birmingham - but it was noteworthy.

Fernando Forestieri, once seen as the team's star player, has seen his status chipped away. Relegation to the bench presented a test of character as Adam Reach replaced him. Rovers had the first chance as Connor Mahoney fired wide from an angle after a mistake by home skipper Glenn Loovens. 

Rhodes and Ross Wallace combined at the other end to set up Winnall, whose shot was blocked. Then Wallace had a superb free-kick tipped onto the bar by Jason Steele. That was the cue for two goals inside two minutes, the first as good a strike from a centre back as you could wish to see. 

Barry Bannan flighted a free-kick beyond the far post and Sasso sent an angled volley fizzing into the roof of the net. It was the Frenchman's first goal for Wednesday and he won't score a better one. He deserved to bask in the glory a little longer. Danny Guthrie's corner was flicked on by Danny Graham and found its way into the net off Hutchinson.

Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson deflected Danny Graham's flick on into his own net Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson deflected Danny Graham's flick on into his own net

Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson deflected Danny Graham's flick on into his own net

It was the first goal Wednesday had conceded at Hillsborough in six games. Rovers suffered the blow of having 11-goal top-scorer Gallagher stretchered off after a challenge for which Hutchinson was cautioned.

Incredibly Sasso struck again before the break, this time a classic flashing near post header from a fine Wallace corner. The 25-year-old thereby equalled his previous career goal tally, comprising two for Portugal's Beira Mar. 

Nonetheless, they were poor goals for Rovers to concede. Substitute Forestieri threatened to extend Wednesday's lead but it took two superb stops by Keiren Westwood, from substitutes Emnes and Liam Feeney to preserve the lead.

Emnes then had an effort which hit the bar from 25 yards and appeared to cross the line and bounced out in an extraordinary finish.

Akpan had a Rovers goal disallowed for handball and was sent off for his protest in laying hands on referee Duncan.  

Blackburn equalised in the first-hald thanks to an own goal by midfielder Hutchinson Blackburn equalised in the first-hald thanks to an own goal by midfielder Hutchinson

Blackburn equalised in the first-hald thanks to an own goal by midfielder Hutchinson

Blackburn midfielder Elliot Bennett (left) challenges Ross Wallace during the match Blackburn midfielder Elliot Bennett (left) challenges Ross Wallace during the match

Blackburn midfielder Elliot Bennett (left) challenges Ross Wallace during the match

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