Huddersfield frustrated in play-off stalemate
LONDON: Huddersfield were unable to turn their dominance into a priceless goal as gritty Sheffield Wednesday held on for a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Championship playoff semi-finals yesterday.
David Wagner’s side controlled possession for long periods at the John Smith’s Stadium, but couldn’t find a way past Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.
Huddersfield, who finished one place below Wednesday in the second tier table, saw Izzy Brown hit the crossbar in the first half, while Nahki Wells twice tested Westwood.
Cautious Wednesday failed to muster a shot on target, but the stalemate means they return to Hillsborough for the second leg next week as favourites to reach the Wembley final for a second successive year.
Meanwhile, free-scoring Fulham were kept quiet by the 10 men of Reading on Saturday.
No one scored more than Fulham in English football’s second tier this season and they thumped Reading 5-0 at Craven Cottage before Christmas.
Yet Slavisa Jokanovic’s side were unable to inflict any further misery on Jaap Stam’s Reading, who saw Paul McShane shown a straight red.
They will have to make do without their club captain for the second leg at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow after McShane stuck his studs into the knee of Kevin McDonald.
“We trust all our players,” Stam said. “McShane is an important piece of the puzzle but other players can do that job as well and we are still confident.
“I've seen plenty today to say we can still do it. I’m not talking about advantage Reading. We know what we can do.”
Reading, who finished third in the regular Championship season, took a surprise lead through Jordan Obita in the second half but Tom Cairney cancelled that out.
Fulham, though, left feeling frustrated.
“We cannot be complete satisfied,’ Jokanovic said. ‘We didn't win the game. I believe we deserved to score more and win the game but everything is now open for the game on Tuesday.”
The locals here hope the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will be the visitors to Craven Cottage next term. Agencies