Sheffield Wednesday comfortably defeated lower league opponents Mansfield Town 4-1 at Hillsborough to book their place in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
Headed goals from Portugese duo Lucas Joao and Jose Semedo put the hosts in a dominating position inside 20 minutes.
A late first half rally rewarded the Stags with a goal of their own from Ryan Tafazolli, but the outcome rarely looked in doubt and the Owls completed a comfortable evening with second half goals from Kieran Lee and debutant Modou Sougou.
With two divisions and 57 places currently separating these League Cup opponents, Sheffield Wednesday were obviously the hot favourites to advance from this evening’s contest.
But you only needed to look back to the same stage of last year’s competition, where three League 2 sides defeated Championship opposition and Dagenham & Redbridge held Brentford to a crazy 6-6 draw, to see that nothing is certain!
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal made a total of nine changes from their opening day victory over Bristol City, which included debuts for Rhoys Wiggins and Sougou, while Lewis McGugan dropped to bench after scoring at the weekend.
Mansfield Town were playing in Sheffield at this stage of the tournament for the second year running, losing out 2-1 to United last year. And with a defence that included a 17-year old debutant in Corbin Shires, the Steel City quickly became a place to forget once again for the Stags.
It took less than 20 minutes for the Championship outfit to put themselves firmly in the ascendancy, with two goals coming in a six minute spell.
13 minutes into the game, summer acquisition Joao opened the scoring. Celta Viga loanee Alex Lopez found Joao unmarked in the area, who buried his header from close range to notch up a goal on his full competitive debut for the Owls.
Six minutes later the dominant Owls furthered their advantage. Former Marseille man Sougou got the assist as his cross was met by fan-favourite Semedo, who duly nodded the ball past Scott Shearer to make it 2-0.
The Owls were far superior to their League 2 opposition at this stage and controlled the action for the majority of the first half, coming close to adding a third as Caolan Lavery’s low, powerful drive forced a quick save from Shearer.
It wasn’t until the additional minutes of the half that Mansfield suddenly burst into life.
A bullet header from Chris Beardsley forced a tremendous save out of debutant goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith. But the resulting corner saw the Stags reduce the deficit, as Tafazolli bundled the ball home from Adam Chapman’s corner to send his side in at the break with new-found belief.
The Stags started the second period strongly and Beardsley even came close to finding an equaliser for the visitors shortly after the restart.
But their hopes were quickly dashed as Wednesday regained a two-goal deficit eight minutes into the half. A magnificent piece of skill from Joao saw him cut the defence open to send Lee through on goal, and the 27 year old made no mistake.
Shortly after, Portugese Marco Matias came close to adding another but his powerful strike flew agonisingly wide of the post, causing a gasp from the Hillsborough crowd.
With the outcome in little doubt by now, the game began to slow somewhat as a number of substitutions from both sides appeared to affect to flow of the contest.
Mansfield did have a late push, Reggie Lambe forcing a save from Wildsmith before Beardsley’s once again came close – nodding the ball just wide of the far post.
However, Songou completed a generally comfortable evening for Wednesday by firing powerfully past Shearer from inside the area to make it 4-1.
The Owls now look ahead to the second round draw on Thursday with much anticipation as a number of Premier League clubs enter the fray, along with the possibility of a Sheffield derby after United scraped past Morecambe 1-0 this evening to advance.
Sheffield Wednesday (4)
Line-up: Wildsmith, Palmer, Lees, Sasso, Wiggins, Lopez (Hutchinson ’57), Semedo, Lee, Sougou, Joao (Helan ’75), Lavery (Matias ’51)
Scorers: Joao ’13, Semedo ’19, Lee ’53, Sougou ’84
Mansfield Town (1)
Line-up: Shearer, Hunt, Tafazolli, Shires, Benning, Chapman, J Thomas (Lambe ’58), Clements, N Thomas (Caton ’57), Westcarr (Yussuf ’58), Beardsley
Scorers: Tafazolli ‘45
Date: 11th August 2015
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