Wednesday with one foot in the Wembley door after 2-0 victory over injury-plagued Brighton

Wednesday with one foot in the Wembley door after 2-0 victory over injury-plagued Brighton
Photo: VAVEL UK/Jonny Walsh
Sheffield Wednesday
2 0
Brighton & Hove Albion
Sheffield Wednesday: (4-4-2) Westwood, Hunt; Lees, Loovens, Pudil; Wallace (Matias 68'), Lee, Lopez (Nuhiu 63'), Bannan; Forestieri, Hooper (Joao 83').
Brighton & Hove Albion: (4-4-2) Stockdale; Bruno, Goldson (Rosenior 39'), Greer, Bong; Knockaert, Sidwell (Towell 50'), Kayal, Skalak; Baldock, Hemed (Wilson 39').
SCORE: 1-0, Wallace 45'. 2-0, Lee 73'.
REFEREE: Andre Marriner. Booked: Wallace 30', Bruno 51', Matias 90'+1, Kayal 90+2.

For now though, thank you and hopefully we will see you again soon!

Be sure to keep an eye on our coverage over the coming days for all of the play-off action; starting again tomorrow with Derby - Hull tomorrow lunchtime.

Thanks for joining us here at VAVEL to follow tonight's game. If you missed any of the match, you can read Jonathan Walsh's report of events right here.

And that's that! Wednesday will take a 2-0 lead to the South Coast on Monday for the return leg, with one foot firmly in London for a big promotion showdown at Wembley.

90+6 - Free-kick for Brighton in their own half after a push in the back. Final whistle sure to follow.

90+5 - It's cleared by Rosenior for another corner.

90+4 - Late corner for Wednesday as they seek a huge third goal...

90+2 - Kayal stops Joao from breaking forward and he picks up a yellow now too.

90+1 - Late yellow card for Matias and a free kick gives Brighton some respite.

90 - There will be five added minutes at the end of this second half.

88 - Wednesday desperate for a third goal to all but seal passage to Wembley, but Brighton are holding out.

83 - Joao comes on for Hooper in Wednesday's final sub of the day.

81 - Wednesday really pressing for a third now. Every Brighton player is in their own half as goalkeeper Westwood stands near the halfway line, pumping the ball forward.

78 - Skalak nearly scores a beauty! Brighton have a free-kick that's cleared, but the ball is recycled and put back in the box where he is waiting at the back post, only to fire his volley over with some venom.

76 - Shouts for a penalty as Matias goes down in Brighton's area, but the referee waves play on.

GOAL! Wednesday finally capitalise on their man advantage as Lee doubles their lead! The ball falls kindly for him and he bursts through on goal before producing a very cool finish.

70 - Skalak fires goalwards from the dead ball, but it's over the bar by a few yards.

69 - Yellow card for Pudil after bringing down Skalak. Brighton now have a free-kick in a good position.

68 - Wednesday now make another change as they pursue a second goal. Goal-scorer Wallace comes off for Matias. 

63 - A change for Wednesday sees Lopez replaced by Nuhiu.

60 - Or not. Knockaert is stretchered off and Brighton will have to play with 10 men for the last 30 minutes.

57 - Hooper looks to have played Forestieri through, but the former is offside. Meanwhile, Knockaert is struggling after rolling his ankle. If he has to come off, Brighton will be down to 10, but he looks to be soldiering on.

52 - The cross is inviting but no one commits to attack it as Bruno watches it out of play.

51 - Second yellow of the day goes to Bruno for a foul on Forestieri on the left wing. Well-positioned free-kick now for Wednesday, who will look to get this into the box now.

50 - Incredible. Sidwell is subbed off now through injury as Brighton make their final change. Richie Towell makes his league debut and just his second appearance for the club....

49 - Baldock stoops to head goalwards from a cross from the right, but his effort is well over the bar.

We're back underway!

Half time. Brighton end the half with a flurry but it's Wednesday who lead after Wallace's stunning effort.

45 - GOAAAAAL! WHAT A GOAL! Absolutely stunning from Wallace, whose 30 yard strike is driven low and hard into the bottom corner! Wednesday lead!

39 - A double change for Brighton sees Wilson and Rosenior replace Hemed and Goldson respectively. That's a huge blow for the visitors, especially considering the players they already have missing. Could be a defining moment in this promotion campaign.

38 - Hemed's problem has persisted, and Wilson is ready to replace him. Meanwhile, Goldson goes down and now it looks like Brighton amy have to make a double change due to injuries.

35 - Hemed goes down in need of treatment but is fine to continue as he's waved back onto the pitch now by the referee.

30 - Wallace is the first name of the day to go into the book for illegally thwarting a promising Brighton attack.

24 - And then Brighton nearly score! Westwood is waiting for the ball to come into his box to pick it up but it doesn't reach and an opponent nips in to intercept. Fortunately, there is a defender to cover.

Very strange one. Forestieri is offside when Westwood launches the ball forward, but moves onside as Hooper goes to flick it on. However, Hooper doesn't actually make contact with the ball as Forestieri bursts through and finishes. 

No goal! The referee consults his assistant and it's ruled out for offside!

GOAL! Forestieri breaks the deadlock with a superb finish!

19 - Chance for Brighton again as Hemed heads goalwards once more from another corner, but this one is blocked.

11 - Wallace with another fierce drive and Stockdale tips it around the post! Thrilling start.

10 - And then Wednesday are right back up the other end as Wallace's shot is blocked and sent behind for a corner!

9 - And just like that Brighton hit the woodwork! Hemed's header from a corner is glanced towards goal but hits the foot of post!

8 - Wednesday have started the better and the possession is all theirs. Wallace strikes well over the bar at the end of this attack though.

2 - Half chance! Hooper feed Forestieri who turns into trouble in the box and is dispossessed.

And we're off!

19:43. Kick off is moments away at a very loud Hillsborough in what promises to be a thriller.

19:20. The two teams drew 0-0 in early November in a rather uneventful game at Hillsbrough. The second time the two met also ended 0-0 at the AMEX. At least there were more bookings in that one.

19:15. On the other hand, Brighton have opted for three alterations from their draw against Middlesbrough. Liam Rosenior, Dale Stephens and Jamie Murphy have been replaced by Gaëtan Bong, Steve Sidwell and Jiri Skalak.

19:10. Sheffield Wednesday have made a staggering 11 changes to their team that started against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. Joe Wildsmith, Liam Palmer, Michael Turner, Jeremy Helan, Vincent Sasso, Jose Semedo, Marco Matias, Lewis McGugan, Aiden McGeady, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao are the men to drop out.

19:05. And the Brighton & Hove Albion eleven: Stockdale; Bruno, Goldson, Greer, Bong; Knockaert, Sidwell, Kayal, Skalak; Baldock, Hemed.

19:00. Team news time! Starting with Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt; Lees, Loovens, Pudil; Wallace, Lee, Lopez, Bannan; Forestieri, Hooper.

It has the makings of a terrific affair, and it will be interesting to see how both managers go about things with the second leg only two days away.

The head-to-head is in favour of the hosts though, who have won six of the 16 meetings between these two, to Brighton's three. A win for the visitors tonight would be their first in eight against the South Yorkshire outfit, and their first since 2012.

The statistics show that this will be a tight game; goals or no goals. Wednesday have only lost one of their last 20 games at home, having made Hillsborough a fortress in their promotion charge, while Brighton haven't lost any of their last 14.

"We arrive here without pressure because we are the underdogs," Carvalhal said, adding that his side "likes big games" and that they have "shown" this already this year. ​"It can be a very good night for us," he believes.

The Portuguese coach also took the chance to "appeal" to the fans, asking them "to bring a positive vibe" to Hillsborough tonight and then see "what the players will give to them" in return.

Carvalhal too has had his say ahead of the fixture, and he chose to speak highly of the fans whose support he and the team will be counting on tonight. "We have [had] a lot of happiness with our fans through the season," he said, praising them for following the Owls "through the good and the bad moments."

"They are a very good side and certainly have goals in them," Hughton said. "I expect it to be a tight affair. We know their dangers and that we can't treat them lightly."

"It is a tough call between all four teams," he continued. Speaking about Wednesday, he believes their two games are also a 'tough call' given "the two results [Brighton] have had against them this season." 

Speaking to BBC Sussex, Hughton's comments suggest that this is the attitude he is drilling into his side too, with him saying: "When you get to a play-off, I don't think there are any favourites."

They will take comfort from the fact that six of the last 10 teams to finish third in the Championship have been promoted to the top flight, but cannot be complacent. 

The last time these two met at Hillsborough, the final score was goalless. (Photo: Rex Features)
The last time these two met at Hillsborough, the final score was goalless. (Photo: Rex Features)

Brighton, meanwhile, have the motivation given to them by previous heartaches in these situations, having suffered defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace in 2013 and Derby County in 2014. The fact that they were one goal away from automatic promotion on Teesside last week will only fuel their determination to succeed in the play-offs further as well.

Wednesday have only ever competed in a play-off campaign once before, and they were successful in it, defeating Hartlepool United to win promotion from League One back in 2005. 

A return to the top flight, from which they were relegated in 2000, is certainly possible for Sheffield then, or at least a place in the play-off final at Wembley - granted they capitalise on the key absences that Brighton will suffer from.

Striker Bobby Zamora is also missing for the South Coast side, with a hip injury ruling him out of both legs of this semi-final. 

Further positives come for Carlos Carvalhal's side in that Chris Hughton's team will be without a handful of key players. Brighton are missing both Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens, the latter of whom was dismissed in that 1-1 draw at the Riverside after a nasty challenge on Southampton loanee Gaston Ramirez

The hosts are boosted by the return of two attackers to support Hooper too. Winger Ross Wallace is back after three matches suspended, while regular impact substitute Atdhe Nuhiu will be fit to make the squad after struggling with a knee injury.

However, with goal-scorers in both sides, a lack of goals to occur once again seems unlikely. The last three meetings between these two have ended goalless, but no-one in the second-tier has scored more goals in 2016 than Wednesday's Gary Hooper or Brighton's Tomer Hemed, both of whom have 11 apiece.

Wednesday have matched Brighton in their two clashes this season, with both of their encounters ending goalless, and so one can expect this affair tonight to be just as tight - especially with so much at stake. 

After drawing with Middlesbrough, thus seeing Boro win promotion to the Premier League with Burnley, Brighton could not have more motivation coming into this game. However, they will have some task in taking an advantage in their home leg on Monday, as Hillsborough is sold out for this huge fixture.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage of tonight's Championship play-off semi-final between Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion. This is the first leg of the tie between these two, the hosts whom finished sixth in the final standings and the visitors who finished third. My name is Ameé Ruszkai and I'll be guiding you through tonight's events as they unfold at Hillsborough, with kick-off set for 19:45BST.