From tears of despair to the joy of scoring against one of the top clubs in England.
Lucas Joao put the pain of breaking a tooth in the win at Rotherham United behind him to play a key role in Wednesday’s extraordinary Capital One Cup victory against Arsenal.
Strong and athletic, the Angolan-born player led the line intelligently on Tuesday just days after having his tooth fixed.
“Lucas has a new tooth and it is nicer than the old one,” quipped head coach Carlos Carvalhal prior to the Arsenal meeting.
Two goals in as many outings will have helped lift Joao’s mood. The workaholic forward, recruited from Nacional for a fee thought to be in the region of £2.8m, planted a bullet header past Petr Cech to hand the Owls a two-goal cuashion in midweek.
Midfielder Barry Bannan told The Star: “Lucas [Joao] is young and you can see he is betting better with every game. He is learning all the time and adapting to the Championship.
“It is different from where he played before. I thought he was brilliant against Arsenal, up there on his own. He put himself about and got a goal.”
Joao’s stellar performances have caught the eye of Portugal boss Fernando Santos, who sent one his trusted assistants to watch him in action at Rotherham. Bannan hopes his Owls teammate can force his way into Portugal’s plans for next summer’s European Championships.
He said: “I don’t know what strikers Portugal have but from watching Lucas he has a chance. He has time on his side. If he carries on like he is, he has a chance.”
Versatile midfielder Bannan said confidence is “sky high” in the dressing room following their surprise cup win.
“Everyone is buzzing,” he admitted. “To beat a big team like that at your home ground with the crowd behind us like that is one of the best feelings in football.
“We had a game-plan. As soon as Rotherham was over, we looked to the Arsenal game and how we should approach it.
“There was a little tweak with Jeremy [Helan] coming in and he caused all sorts of problems. I got put into the middle and I thought it worked.
“We worked our socks off. When you get in teams’ faces as much as we did, it doesn’t matter how good the player is, they just don’t like it. That is what we did against Arsenal.”