Championship - 2nd Leg
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion1Sheff WedSheffield Wednesday1

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday (1-3 agg)

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Sheffield Wednesday celebrate
Sheffield Wednesday will play either Hull or Derby in the play-off final at Wembley

Sheffield Wednesday held off a spirited Brighton side to reach the Championship play-off final at Wembley on 28 May.

Lewis Dunk put the hosts ahead when he volleyed in a set-piece from Anthony Knockaert, who also hit the post during a dominant first-half display.

But Ross Wallace, who scored in the Owls' 2-0 first-leg win, saw his cross drift in for the equaliser that secured a 3-1 aggregate win.

Wednesday, out of the top flight since 2000, will now face Derby or Hull.

The Tigers take a 3-0 lead into their home second leg of the semi-final on Tuesday.

Brighton's fast start comes to nothing

Liam Rosenior
Brighton, who finished third with 89 points, face a 34th consecutive season outside England's top flight

No team had previously overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit to reach the final of the second-tier play-offs - and Brighton made every attempt to create a bit of history.

Boosted by the availability of both Knockaert and Dunk after injury and suspension respectively, the Seagulls made a lightning start and could easily have been in front in the tie by the time Dunk netted from close range.

Knockaert struck the woodwork with a curling free-kick and also headed wide from five yards before crossing for Dunk to halve Brighton's deficit.

Any momentum from that opening goal quickly disappeared, however, as Wallace's cross beat everybody in the penalty area and nestled in David Stockdale's far corner.

The goal was allowed to stand, despite protests by Dunk that he had been pushed by Gary Hooper as the ball was played into the box.

Wednesday, undoubtedly second best in the first period, were rarely threatened after half-time as Brighton fell to a third Championship play-off semi-final defeat in four seasons.

Owls flying into the Premier League?

Ross Wallace
Ross Wallace scored for Sheffield Wednesday in both legs of their play-off semi-final

Wednesday - who finished sixth in the Championship table, 15 points behind Brighton - are one win away from returning to the top flight for the first time in 16 years.

Since their relegation in 2000, the Owls have spent four years in League One and had only registered two top-half finishes in the second tier before this season.

Dejphon Chansiri targeted Premier League football within two years when his consortium took control of the the South Yorkshire club in January 2015.

And, having supported head coach Carlos Carvalhal heavily in the transfer market this season, the Thai businessman could get his wish ahead of schedule.

Reaction - Carvalhal to 'wake up the giant'

Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal: "It's been a long time for Sheffield Wednesday and it's very important for the club. Now we can wake up the giant.

"Let me give a word to Brighton and their manager. They had a fantastic season, they fought until the last minute to get promotion. They deserve promotion.

"But that doesn't mean we don't deserve it. We have grown up together like a team."

Brighton manager Chris Hughton: "It's always difficult in the second leg to be 2-0 down, even at home, but we had great belief we could turn it around.

"We should have been at least one up before we got the goal. But things have gone against us in the last few weeks, and their goal was a foul on Dunk.

"That makes it tougher - at 1-1 they have motivation. That was really frustrating. The disappointment is massive."

Analysis

Chris Sutton, ex-Blackburn striker on BBC Radio 5 live

"I really feel for Brighton, but credit to Sheffield Wednesday for their second-half performance.

"They were extremely comfortable. They had the strokes of luck with Brighton missing chances and a couple off the line in the first half.

"Over the two legs, Brighton haven't had the luck and it's Sheffield Wednesday who are celebrating.

"Glenn Loovens and Tom Lees were terrific at centre-half for Sheffield Wednesday, Keiren Westwood was commanding in goal and they are one game away from the top flight."

Line-ups

Brighton

Formation 4-4-2

  • 13Stockdale
  • 2BrunoBooked at 82mins
  • 3GreerSubstituted forRoseniorat 77'minutes
  • 5Dunk
  • 12Bong
  • 27KnockaertBooked at 63mins
  • 36Sidwell
  • 7KayalBooked at 56mins
  • 38Skalak
  • 21Wilson
  • 9BaldockSubstituted forLua Luaat 61'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mäenpää
  • 8Crofts
  • 14Calderon
  • 15Murphy
  • 23Rosenior
  • 29Towell
  • 30Lua Lua

Sheff Wed

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Westwood
  • 32HuntBooked at 59mins
  • 15LeesBooked at 13mins
  • 5LoovensBooked at 9mins
  • 36Pudil
  • 33WallaceSubstituted forHelanat 66'minutes
  • 20Lee
  • 21LópezSubstituted forHutchinsonat 45'minutesBooked at 55mins
  • 41Bannan
  • 45Forestieri
  • 14HooperSubstituted forNuhiuat 71'minutesBooked at 85mins

Substitutes

  • 4Hutchinson
  • 7Matias
  • 9Nuhiu
  • 17Helan
  • 18Lucas João
  • 23Sasso
  • 28Wildsmith
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
27,272

Match Stats

Home TeamBrightonAway TeamSheff Wed
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home27
Away8
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home11
Away1
Fouls
Home17
Away19

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Sheffield Wednesday 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Sheffield Wednesday 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Wilson (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Kazenga Lua Lua.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  5. Post update

    Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Fernando Forestieri (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right following a fast break.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from more than 35 yards is blocked. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jeremy Helan.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Liam Rosenior (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  12. Post update

    Jack Hunt (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Lewis Dunk with a headed pass.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Lewis Dunk.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  16. Post update

    Glenn Loovens (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Tom Lees.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Barry Bannan.

  19. Booking

    Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Burnley462615572353793
2Middlesbrough462611963313289
3Brighton462417572423089
4Hull4624111169353483
5Derby4621151066432378
6Sheff Wed4619171066452174
7Ipswich461815135351269
8Cardiff461717125651568
9Brentford46198197267565
10Birmingham461615155349463
11Preston461517144545062
12QPR461418145454060
13Leeds461417155058-859
14Wolves461416165358-558
15Blackburn461316174646055
16Nottm Forest461316174347-455
17Reading461313205259-752
18Bristol City461313205471-1752
19Huddersfield461312215970-1151
20Fulham461215196679-1351
21Rotherham461310235371-1849
22Charlton46913244080-4040
23MK Dons46912253969-3039
24Bolton46515264181-4030
View full Championship table

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