Sheffield Wednesday verdict: Leeds 1 Owls 1 as Marco Matias hits wonder goal

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What a way to announce yourself to the Championship.

What a way to announce yourself to the Championship.

Marco Matias lit up a Yorkshire derby full of endeavour but low on quality with a breathtaking, extraordinary piece of individual brilliance which will be talked about for years to come.

You knew it was only a matter of time before the £1.14 million summer signing from Nacional bagged his first goal in Owls colours.

He will do well to top Saturday’s glorious effort in front of the Sky cameras.!

Everything about Matias’s goal was brilliant from the way he cleverly beat the offside trap to latch on to Liam Palmer’s long punt to the execution of the finish.

The 26-year-old underlined his confidence and class in deftly flicking the ball from right foot to left over Liam Cooper’s head before despatching a fearsome volley which flew in off the underside of the crossbar.

It showed incredible technique, and Leeds boss Uwe Rosler admitted: “How can I criticise my defenders? You have to applaud the player.”

For several hours, Matias, understandably, became an internet sensation.

I will never tire of watching replays of Matias’ beauty - I must have seen it 40 times across the weekend - and felt privileged to have witnessed an early candidate for goal of the season.

Marco Matias scores. Pictures: Steve Ellis

Marco Matias scores. Pictures: Steve Ellis

It was one of those moments where, as a football fan, you can say ‘I was there’.

It was a world-class goal which had shades of Gazza’s pearler versus the Scots in Euro 96 and drew comparisons with Tony Yeboah’s belter for Leeds United against Liverpool.

If Wayne Rooney or Eden Hazard had found the back of the net in such fashion, pundits and fans would have been waxing lyrical about it all weekend.

With Owls teammate Jose Semedo acting as translator, Matias, who speaks little English, said he was happy to score an “amazing goal”.

Marco Matias celebrates

Marco Matias celebrates

He said: “I’ve scored a lot of goals in my career, I scored a similar one last season, but this is the best.

“We kept the point and I hope to get more and more goals as the season goes on.

“I knew my first goal was coming. I am hoping to help the team as much as I can by scoring these goals.”

What took some of the gloss off Matias’ cracker was Wednesday’s inability to hang on to maximum points. In truth, a point was all they merited.

Head coach Carlos Carvalhal adopted a more pragmatic approach at Elland Road, ditching a bit of their creativity and attacking flair.

He made six changes - with a few alterations enforced through injury - adding extra bite and steel particularly to the middle of the park.

Owls keeper Lewis Price in control

Owls keeper Lewis Price in control

Their game-plan worked perfectly in the first period as they managed to stifle Leeds, forcing them into errors in possession. Semedo admirably performed his man-to-man marking mission on the dangerous Mirco Antenucci.

Clear scoring opportunities were at a premium and it did not make for the prettiest of spectacles.

After the restart, Wednesday showed a lack of adventure and ambition.

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Rather than press for a second, they sat on the one-goal lead, letting Leeds control possession and wrestle the initiative back.

Wednesday retreated deeper and deeper towards their own 18-yard line and were eventually punished by the home side.

Semedo, Lee and Sam Hutchinson dovetailed superbly together in the opening 45 minutes.

But the momentum swung Leeds’ way when Rosler threw on Luke Murphy and Alex Mowatt just before the hour mark, switching Stuart Dallas to the right flank.

New Zealand international Chris Wood, who failed to divert Dallas’s cross-shot into the net just before the interval, tapped in his second goal in as many outings after a fine centre by Dallas, who nutmegged Rhoys Wiggins.

Linked with a move to Hillsborough last year, Wood almost completed the turnaround, narrowly heading Charlie Taylor’s delivery off target while Marco Silvestri denied Liam Palmer.

Given Wednesday were missing several key players, including Keiren Westwood, Glenn Loovens, Lewis McGugan and Lucas Joao, Carvalhal’s men can take plenty of positives from their battling away performance.

The day will be remembered for Matias’s magic.

But if the Owls are to push on, they must shore things up defensively.

Wednesday have only recorded one clean sheet so far this season.

Leeds: Silvestri 6; Berardi 6, Cooper 6, Bamba 7, Taylor 7; Byram 6 (Mowatt 57, 6), Adeyemi 6, Phillips 6 (Murphy 57, 6), Dallas 7 (Doukara 86); Antenucci 6, Wood 7. Substitutes: Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Erwin.

Wednesday: Price 7; Palmer 7, Lees 7, Sasso 7, Wiggins 6; Lee 7, Semedo 7 (Lopez 85), Hutchinson 7; Sougou 6 (Hunt 62, 6), Matias 7 (Helan 77), Nuhiu 6. Substitutes: Bus, De Havilland, Wildsmith, Wallace.

Referee: Mike Jones (Chester).

Attendance: 22,597.

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