Cardiff City ran out 3-2 winners in their first game of the day in Kirchbichl, Austria as they saw off 2.Bundesliga side TSV 1860 Munich.
It was Slovenian International Etien Velikonja who grabbed the all important goal, netting in the 86th minute having came on as a substitute. That goal proved to be the decider after an enthralling first period that saw 1860 Munich come back from behind twice.
Federico Macheda’s neat finish put the Bluebirds in front with 23 minutes on the clock before a Christopher Schindler equaliser for the German club. City were quickly back in front however as Peter Whittingham saw his free-kick beat former Crystal Palace stopper Gabor Kiraly from a tight angle, before Maximilian Wittek levelled once more seven minutes later.
Wearing black armbands in respect for the Malaysian Airlines tragedy earlier this week and in support of team-mate Kevin Theophile-Catherine who was forced to return home from the camp due to a family bereavement, the game got underway in a sweltering 35c heat in Kirchbichl.
Almost instantaneously, the Bluebirds had the ball in the net in the first minute as Macheda latched on to a neat through ball before beating ‘keeper Kiraly only to see the goal ruled out for offside.
A lively opening continued as Kiraly was called into action once more, this time thwarting Norwegian Mats Moller Daehli at the near post with just eight minutes on the lock. Two minutes later a carbon copy chance presented itself to Macheda only for 1860 Munich’s Hungarian stopper to be equal to it once more.
In the 23rd minute, City were ahead. Causing continuous threats by running in behind the German defence, Macheda raced onto a delightful pass from Daehli before guiding the ball home to claim his second goal of pre-season and give City the lead.
Five minutes later 1860 Munich were back on level terms as Schindler found just enough space in between the City defence to guide a pinpoint cross into the bottom corner of the net.
Just two minutes passed before City regained their lead however in this lively pre-season encounter. Whittingham this time sending a low cross in from the right only to see it beat Kiraly and hit the back of the net to make it 2-1.
City’s lead was once again short lived however as a Maximilian Wittek strike slightly glanced off the head of defender Mark Hudson before hitting the back of the net. An excellent late save from Joe Lewis prevented the Germans taking the lead just before the break.
HALF TIME: TSV 1860 Munich 2-2 Cardiff City
With no changes for either side at the interval, the second half got off to a quieter start as temperatures topped 38c in the immense Austrian heat.
Early second-half signs suggested it was Munich who were enjoying the conditions more as they controlled much of the play for the opening 15 minutes, however only having half chances to show for some good possession play.
On the hour mark the Bluebirds had ‘keeper Lewis to thank as he tipped a long range Wittek effort just over the crossbar. Rubin Okotie was next to try his luck only to send his shot just over Lewis’ goal.
With four minutes to go it was substitute Velikonja who stepped home to fire the winner for the Bluebirds as he found himself in the perfect position at the far post to guide the ball home and claim a late victory.
FULL TIME: TSV 1860 Munich 2-3 Cardiff City
Teams - Cardiff City: Lewis, Kiss, John, Eikrem, Hudson, Cala, Whittingham, Mason (Jones 80), Macheda (Velikonja 72), Daehli, Maynard (Kim 68). Subs not used: Marshall.
Goals: Macheda (23), Whittingham (30) and Velikonja (86)
1860 Munich: Kiraly, Steinhöfer, Stark (46 Bülow), Schindler, Wittek, Sanchez (80, Schwabl), Weigl, Bedia (66, Adlung) Tomasov (63, Claasen), Okotie, Wood.
Goals: Schindler (28), Wittek (37).