Sheffield Wednesday match report: Owls 0 Cardiff City 0

Sheffield Wednesday v Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday v Cardiff City
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Sheffield Wednesday missed a string of chances in their 0-0 draw with promotion-chasing Cardiff City as Jos Luhukay maintained his unbeaten start as Owls manager.

Strikers Jordan Rhodes (2) and Lucas Joao (2) fluffed their lines in front of goal at Hillsborough.

But Cardiff, the superior team for long periods in the first half, also had their fair share of opportunities and the Owls were indebted to Joe Wildsmith for making a number of good stops.

Nonetheless, Luhukay will be delighted with a fourth successive clean sheet and a third since his surprise appointment. The draw keeps Wednesday in 17th position, seven points above the drop zone.

Luhukay, taking charge of his first home Championship fixture, made one change from the team who drew with Sheffield United last week. With Glenn Loovens serving the final match of his two-game ban, Luhukay handed Jordan Thorniley a first Owls start. The youngster, who spent time on loan at Accrington Stanley earlier this season, making 17 appearances, partnered Frederico Venancio and Daniel Pudil in a three-man defence.

New signing Joey Pelupessy, captured from Dutch club Heracles Almelo on Thursday, was named on the substitutes bench.

It took a superb last-ditch challenge by Morgan Fox to prevent Jazz Richards from turning in Yanic Wildschut's delivery near the byline as the visitors made the early running.

Bluebirds debutant Marco Grujic, on loan from Liverpool, was cautioned after a late challenge on Adam Reach. Former Middlesbrough player Reach, winner of the Championship's goal of the month award for December, looked lively in the early stages.

Cardiff, chasing a third straight victory in all competitions, had a goal disallowed in the 14th minute. Kenneth Zohore shrugged off the attentions of Thorniley and curled a lovely left foot shot past Joe Wildsmith but the big striker was harshly adjudged to have fouled Thorniley. The decision infuriated Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock.

But the visitors continued to dominate and Joss Wildschut glided forward at pace before seeing his effort deflected over the top.

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Wildschut was a big thorn in Wednesday's side. After collecting Junior Hoilett's neat pass, he forced Wildsmith into action in the 21st minute but the Owls academy graduate comfortably kept it out and Daniel Pudil cleared the loose ball to safety.

It was a disjointed, sloppy performance by the Owls and Cardiff carved out another opportunity. Zohore beat the offside trap and his weak drive from an acute angle was well held by Wildsmith.

Moments after Hoilett blazed over for the Bluebirds, Lucas Joao found Ross Wallace, who's rasping left foot drive from 25 yards flew narrowly over.

Grujic almost capped his debut with a goal. His right foot piledriver was brilliantly turned away by Wildsmith as Cardiff continued to threaten.

But Joao was proving a real nuisance for the Bluebirds defence and Sol Bamba joined Grujic in the book after upending the talented striker.

Jordan Rhodes should have headed the Owls in front when he rose unchallenged to meet David Jones' fine free-kick but the striker nodded over from six yards. It was a guilt-edged chance.

Shortly before half-time, Rhodes had an opportunity to make amends. He latched on to Joao's deft reverse pass only for Etheridge to beat away his shot. The ball fell to Reach on the left and he sliced his volley over the bar.

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Bamba then produced an excellent block to foil Morgan Fox at the back post as Wednesday finished the half strongly.

After the break, Hoilett was the provider again, teeing up Joe Ralls, who dragged a left foot effort from the edge of the penalty area wide.

Rhodes seized on a mix up at the back by Cardiff and played in Joao but the forward fluffed his lines in front of goal, shooting wide of the far post.

The atmosphere inside Hillsborough ramped up a notch, with Wednesday starting to turn the screw. Rhodes wriggled his way to the byline and whipped in a teasing cross which Joao, from a couple of yards out, headed straight at Etheridge.

Things started to open up and Wildschut turned sharply before unleashing a rasping foot effort which went agonisingly off target.

Joao gave the ball inside the Owls' half and the visitors nearly punished them. Ralls exchanged passes with Zohore but his attempt from a narrow angle was expertly held by Wildsmith.

With 12 minutes remaining, Hoilett drilled a shot into the side-netting as Warnock's men pressed for a late winner. Luhukay threw on Marco Matias, Atdhe Nuhiu and George Boyd but they fired a third successive blank.

Owls: Wildsmith; Venancio, Thorniley, Pudil; Palmer, Jones, Wallace (Boyd 81), Reach, Fox; Joao (Nuhiu 81), Rhodes (Matias 72). Subtitutes: Dawson, Hunt, Pulupessy, Clare.

Cardiff: Etheridge; Richards, Bamba, Morrison, Bennett; Ralls, Manga, Grujic (Paterson 78); Wildschut (Mendez-Laing 71), Hoilett (Harris 83), Zohore. Substitutes: Murphy, Pilkington, Damour, Halford.

Attendance: 23,277

Referee: Roger East

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