Ole Gunnar Solskjær saw his Bluebirds side secure safe passage into the second round of the Capital One Cup, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Coventry City on Wednesday evening.
Cardiff City started with purpose at Sixfields, finding early joy in the right hand attacking channel. Good play through midfield saw the ball find its way out to Kim Bo-Kyung, who in turn played it central to Nicky Maynard. Poor defending saw the ball bobble beyond the striker to the onrushing Guido Burgstaller, the Austrian composing himself before drilling low into the corner past Lee Burge.
COVENTRY CITY 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Burgstaller, 4)
The opening 15 minutes of this one were almost exclusively Cardiff City’s. Aron Gunnarsson was bossing midfield, allowing Joe Ralls to find space and dictate play from deep. Kim Bo-Kyung had two excellent opportunities from inside the penalty area having lost his marker with ease - though each time, the South-Korean placed his shot wide of Burge’s post.
Coventry’s opening first half threat came in the 24th minute, Danny Swanson momentarily finding space through the middle and breaking between City’s two centre halves. Fortunately, Matt Connolly retreated well to put in a fine tackle – no fears in his mind of disciplinary action despite having been shown a yellow card for a tackle higher up the field earlier in the half.
A minute later and City came close to extending their lead after fine link up play between Academy graduates Declan John and Joe Ralls. Ralls glided towards the penalty area before feeding the onrushing left-back inside the box. The Welsh international hit his left foot strike hard and true, though Burge did well to get a strong palm on the shot and turn it past the upright.
City still had gears, you felt, as the game drifted towards the half time whistle. The Bluebirds were dangerous down both flanks, while Coventry threatened nothing in the final third. Two minutes of injury time were played at the end of the first period at the Sixfields, after which City returned to the dressing room with a very comfortable advantage.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY CITY 0-1 CARDIFF CITY
The Bluebirds came out after the interval looking to immediately double their lead – their passing and movement too much for Coventry to handle. Kim was first to test Burge with a curling effort from outside the area; the goalkeeper pulled off a neat save, before denying a drilled Joe Ralls effort moments later.
Substitution, Coventry City: Danny Pugh replaced by Ryan Haynes (51 minutes)
Coventry’s first real shot in anger came 12 minutes into the second half. Josh McQuoid swivelled well on the edge of the area and struck first time, though his effort was wide and never really troubling Simon Moore.
Substitution, Coventry City: Billy Daniels replaced by Shaun Miller (62 minutes)
City were dominating possession, though it was the performance from right-back of young Jazzy Barnum-Bobb that was really catching the eye. The defender was establishing an excellent understanding with Kim Bo-Kyung, looking equally as comfortable going forward as he was in defence. A special evening for the youngster and exciting for Cardiff City.
Substitution, Cardiff City: Guido Burgstaller replaced by Mats Møller Dæhli (66 minutes)
Substitution, Cardiff City: Jazzy Barnum-Bobb replaced by Kadeem Harris (66 minutes)
Substitution, Coventry City: Josh McQuoid replaced James Maddison (69 minutes)
The substitutions allowed the game to open up more, and it began to look like it may suit Coventry. Despite almost total possession in the second half, striker Swanson found a direct route through to goal and should have done better with Moore staring him down, only to drag his effort wide of the ‘keeper’s far post.
Moments later and the Sky Blues had an even better chance to equalise. The City defence opened up to allow Shaun Miller a clean strike at the onrushing Moore. This time, the substitute’s strike was even less glamorous as it found its way to the back of the stand behind the goal.
But City eventually found the breakthrough they needed – and a goal that the exiting Coventry fans felt would kill off the game. Mats Møller Dæhli showed great judgment to pick up on the misjudgement of defender Jordan Willis down the right, breaking towards the left of the area, firing across goal and forcing substitute Haynes to put the ball into his own net under pressure from Kadeem Harris. A killer counter-attacking move.
GOAL: COVENTRY CITY 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Haynes OG, 81 minutes)
Those Sky Blues supporters who left the game early though, may have wished they’d stayed longer. From the kick-off, the home side broke down the right through Ryan Haynes – the midfielder finding a superb right-foot cross for Miller to head past Moore. Atonement, perhaps, for each player after earlier errors.
GOAL: COVENTRY CITY 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (Miller, 83 minutes)
Substitution, Cardiff City: Kim Bo-Kyung replaced by Tommy O’Sullivan (84 minutes)
Substitutions undoubtedly played their part in this game opening in up in the manner it did, though nonetheless it made for an intriguing closing 15 minutes. Coventry’s small but raucous home contingent pushed their side forward, though Cardiff remained comfortable and looked like a third goal for them would be more likely on the counter. It never came though and City would go into the second round hat as ball number 25.
COVENTRY CITY: Burge, Willis, Pugh (Haynes, 51), Webster ©, Fleck, McQuoid (Maddison, 69), Swanson, O’Brien, Daniels (Miller, 62), Clarke, Finch. Subs not used: Allsop, Thomas, Phillips, Lawton.
CARDIFF CITY: Moore, Barnum-Bobb (Harris, 66), John, Connolly, Théophile-Catherine, Ralls, Eikrem, Gunnarsson, Burgstaller (Dæhli, 66), Kim (O'Sullivan, 84), Maynard. Subs not used: Wilson, Owen, James, Velikonja.
Att: 1,382 (359)