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Luc's in for the Owls to peg back Rovers.

Byline: DERICK ALLSOP at Ewood Park


Akpan 5, Evans 44


Sougou 39, Lucas Joao 84

LUCAS JOAO is becoming the man to pull Sheffield Wednesday out of a scrape but he still can't be sure of a place in the starting line-up.

Fresh from his two-goal heroics in Wednesday's comeback win against Huddersfield, the Portuguese striker came off the bench again to salvage a point and spoil Paul Lambert's Ewood Park debut.

But his manager and countryman Carlos Carvalhal refused to give him any guarantees.

"It is not a question of whether Joao plays from the beginning or after," said Carvalhal. "It has to be the correct environment for him."

Carvalhal was equally unwilling to contemplate the prospect of a promotion push, insisting: "We are thinking about the next match all the time. There are strong teams in this competition."

Lambert was on course for a second victory in as many matches as Blackburn manager when Joao denied him six minutes from the end.

Blackburn central defender Grant Hanley was down injured at the time, but the referee allowed play to continue and Lambert had no complaint.

Realist Lambert said: "We have four points from our two matches at the club, so it's a decent start. If you can't win, make sure you don't lose."

Hope Akpan, with his first strike for the club, and Corry Evans twice put Rovers in front, but Modou Sougou and saviour Joao ensured Wednesday sustained their challenge for a play-off place.

The home crowd's reception for their new boss had barely subsided when they had a goal to acclaim with even greater relish.

Akpan met Craig Conway's corner delivery with the assured header it deserved and Keiren Westwood was beaten.

Blackburn failed to build on that advantage and their sloppy defending paved the way for Wednesday's first equaliser.

Kieran Lee was allowed to dance into the area, around the exposed goalkeeper Jason Steele, and although his shot hit a post, Sougou snaffled the rebound.

Blackburn, stung into a response, swiftly regained the lead. Wednesday only half-cleared another Conway corner and Evans' deflected shot found the bottom corner of the net.

Carvalhal introduced Gary Hooper and Joao at the start of the second half and Wednesday instantly threatened a second comeback. Joao's presence gave Blackburn's defence a stern examination and Hooper squandered the opportunity to capitalise, poking wide from close in.

Rovers' luck ran out when Lee's miscued effort turned into the perfect centre for Joao to head the equaliser.

Jordan Rhodes might have won it for Rovers deep into stoppage time, but that would have been an injustice.

We have four points from two matches it's a decent start PAUL LAMBERT


LEVELLY JOB: Lucas Joao equalises in the 84th minute for Sheffield Wednesday

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2015
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