The curtain raiser to the new EFL 2016/17 Championship season was a tight affair only broken by a moment of brilliance from Owls playmaker Fernando Forestieri after a sliced clearance from Villa keeper Gollini.
The goal scored in the 85 minute handed a late win for Sheffield Wednesday as Roberto Di Matteo’s first game in charge of Aston Villa ended in a 1-0 defeat at Hillsborough. After the ball hit the net, Owls fans ended the game with a fine, load and long rendition of we`re on our way!
Given the failure to earn promotion last season despite reaching the playoff final, the atmosphere at the ground was one full of optimism from both sets of fans. Villa fans hoping for an immediate return to the Premier League they left without a fight last season and Wednesday hoping that there`d be no hangover from Wembley heartache last May.
The opening 45 minutes witnessed the Owls retain a large amount of the ball but failed to make a real impression on Villa`s goal. The main incident of note was a clash of heads between two debutants, Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher and Villa captain Tommy Elphick, which forced the Fletcher off early after several minutes of treatment to be replaced by Gary Hooper.
? Vital Wednesday (@VitalWednesday) 7 August 2016
In the second half, the action and goal scoring chances picked up in the second half, as Villa came to the party in front of over 30,000 at S6. Forestieri was at the heart of everything good in an attacking sense from Wednesday, and he forced an early save from Gollini to set the tone for the rest of the match. Villa slowly began to force the issue the game went on, but lacked conviction up front with new signing Ross McCormack and strike partner Rudy Gestede struggling to gel.
The Villa attacking duo did link up well to create the visitors best chance on 75 minutes, Gestede flicked on a long ball to Ross McCormack who broke clear into the box and Wednesday’s defensive star Tom Lees managed to get back at him to deny him a clear strike on goal.
As the game approached the latter stages Villa goalkeeper Gollini fluffed a clearance straight into the path of Forestieri and the Wednesday forward made no mistake in charging forward and slotting the ball home, muich to the delight of a packed Kop.
(Credit to the official Sheffield Wednesday YouTube channel)