Bellusci earns Leeds derby draw

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:17

Bellusci earns Leeds derby draw

The Italian centre-half earned the Whites a draw with an excellent sidefoot finish (79) after Chris Maguire had opened the scoring for the visitors on 52.
Wednesday crushed Leeds 6-0 when the sides last met in January at Hillsborough, but were fortunate to take the lead at Elland Road and were grateful to goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who thwarted the home side on several occasions.
Leeds head coach Darko Milanic has still to taste victory after three games in charge, but there were signs of an enterprising team in the making.
The Owls’ impressive start to the season could easily have stalled after their recent Capital One Cup walloping at Manchester City, but, under popular manager Stuart Gray, they displayed a resilience that has been lacking in recent campaigns.
The hosts were the more effective side going forward in the first half, but had nothing to show for their dominance.
Alex Mowatt dispossessed Jose Semedo in midfield and threaded a fine pass into Souleymane Doukara’s path inside the penalty area, but the French striker dragged his low right-footed shot just wide.
Rudy Austin then lashed in a dipping 30-yard effort from out of the blue that Westwood tipped over the crossbar.
Leeds countered swiftly in the 26th minute and more incisive interplay ended in left-back Gaetano Berardi’s thumping drive ricocheting off Mowatt.
Striker Mirco Antenucci then looked to have put the home side ahead when he latched onto Austin’s slide-rule pass to slip the ball under Westwood, but he was deemed offside.
Wednesday’s best chance in the first period fell to striker Stevie May, who headed right-back Liam Palmer’s cross inches wide of Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri’s right-hand post in the 44th minute.
Leeds twice threatened early in the second half when Antenucci’s lob over Westwood was cleared by Palmer and the Wednesday goalkeeper made a fine save with his foot to deny the lively Italian again soon after.
But it was the visitors who stole the lead in the 52nd minute. Jacques Maghoma found Maguire on the right side of the penalty area and the winger arrowed a right-footed shot into the bottom-right corner of Silvestri’s net.
Westwood then denied Leeds again with another superb save from Antenucci’s rising shot after he had been played in by strike partner Doukara.
May spurned a golden chance to double Wednesday’s advantage when he pulled a low shot wide after a clever turn in the box.
Leeds built up a head of steam as they chased a late equaliser. Austin’s shot was blocked by Palmer, but, when Mowatt’s excellent free-kick bounced to Bellusci on the left edge of the area, the centre-half side-footed the ball cleanly on the half-volley into the bottom corner to haul his side level in the 79th minute.
Wednesday substitute Gary Madine’s low effort was saved by Silvestri and Austin fired off target at the other end before the sides settled for a point apiece.

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