Sheffield Wednesday seized the advantage in their Championship play-off semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion, winning the first leg 2-0 at Hillsborough as the visitors finished with 10 men.
Brighton were denied automatic promotion on the final day of the regular season with a 1-1 draw away at Middlesbrough, and their hopes of going up via the play-offs suffered an immediate blow amid a string of injuries on Friday.
Fernando Forestieri thought he had put Wednesday ahead midway through the first half when he fired beyond visiting goalkeeper David Stockdale, but referee Andre Marriner eventually pulled play back for an offside decision which proved to be correct.
Brighton lost Connor Goldson and Tomer Hemed to injury and their troubles heightened when Ross Wallace fired a brilliant 25-yard effort into the bottom left corner on the stroke of half-time.
A knock forced Steve Sidwell off soon after the restart and Chris Hughton’s side were forced to play the final 30 minutes with 10 men after Anthony Knockaert was taken off on a stretcher.
The extra player enabled Wednesday to add to their tally, with Kieran Lee slotting home a fine finish to complete the scoring 17 minutes from time.
Brighton now have it all to do in the second leg at the Amex Stadium on Monday if they are to secure a place in the play-off final at Wembley.
100% – Sheffield Wednesday have a 100% win record in play-off games, winning all four of their games. Bouncing.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 13, 2016
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