Sheffield Wednesday 2 Fulham 1: We had to treat it like a final, says Carvalhal

Barry Bannan celebrates his spectacular goal with Ross Wallace.
Barry Bannan celebrates his spectacular goal with Ross Wallace.
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Barry Bannan and Atdhe Nuhiu scored as Sheffield Wednesday clinched a 2-1 victory over Fulham in the third round of the FA Cup.

Moussa Dembele netted for Fulham to swiftly equalise after Bannan’s 42nd-minute opener, but the Cottagers bowed out, with substitute Nuhiu making an impact off the bench.

The Austrian rifled home in the 73rd minute to settle the contest.

Wednesday dominated the early proceedings and had the game’s first major chance in the ninth minute when, after good work from the marauding Kieran Lee, the ball fell kindly to Glenn Loovens, who, with the goal at his mercy, snatched at the chance and ballooned his shot harmlessly over the bar.

Fulham responded with chances for Jamie O’Hara and Shaun Hutchinson, but it was Wednesday in the driving seat and, in the 24th minute, only a last-ditch interception by Hutchinson prevented Lucas Joao from tapping in an inviting cross from Modou Sougou.

After a series of half chances for both sides, Wednesday took the lead in spectacular fashion. Scotland international Bannan struck a dipping 20-yard half-volley in off the crossbar after a neat lay-off from Joao.

Just moments later, poor defending by Wednesday allowed the dangerous Ross McCormack in on goal.

His shot was cleared off the line by Liam Palmer but the ball fell generously into the path of substitute Dembele who needed no invitation to equalise. Dembele had come on early on to replace the injured Cauley Woodrow.

Wednesday’s defensive woes let the dangerous McCormack in again on the stroke of half-time but his tame effort was saved by goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.

In the second half, Fulham duo McCormack and Dembele continued to threaten. Only a reaction save from Wildsmith prevented the sought-after Dembele from heading in his and Fulham’s second goal.

Wednesday responded and, minutes later, a Ross Wallace corner was met at the near post by Vincent Sasso but, to the despair of the Wednesday faithful, his header went agonisingly over the bar.

Alexander Kacaniklic spurned a glorious chance to give his side the lead in the 57th minute, when, with Wildsmith beaten, he somehow failed to convert a Tom Cairney cross from six yards out.

And he was soon made to pay as the home side regained the lead through Nuhiu.

The striker volleyed in from the edge of the area after the ball was only half-cleared by the Fulham defence.

Joao should have put the game beyond any doubt in the 83rd minute but he could only put a pull-back from substitute Jeremy Helan wide of the target.

Fulham pushed on desperately to find an equaliser but it was Wednesday who held on to take their place in the fourth round.

Carvalhal said: “It was a typical Cup game. We knew we had to decide it in 90 minutes, we were aware of taking more risks in the last 20 minutes and we had to treat the game like a final.

“The strategy today was to give Fulham the ball. They are a team who like to play and we knew we could play on the counter. That’s why we put two players up front with pace.

“We are giving a lot of problems to our opponents. We have not just the team to thank for this but the Hillsborough fans. It’s very important to have the fans onside.

“We deserve to play the big teams at this stadium, with these fans. But at this moment we do not have a squad to play in two competitions.

“I wish to play with a big team and I hope we get our eight or nine players fit to fight in two directions.”