Snapshot: Cardiff City’s final pre-season run-out at CCS ended in a more than credible 3-3 draw with Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg, in front of over 8,000 supporters.
Die Wölfe had stormed into a first half lead through Marcel Schafer’s header and Kevin De Bruyne’s 25-yard strike. But City responded with two quick-fire goals just before the half time whistle. First Peter Whittingham curled a fine free kick into the bottom corner, before Nicky Maynard stabbed home a Fábio cross on 45 minutes.
Into the second half, Kim Bo-Kyung rounded off the comeback after Kenwyne Jones had nodded Le Fondre’s cross against the post. But the impressive Ivica Olić struck late on to level the scores up, as all eyes now turn to City’s Championship opener away to Blackburn on Friday evening.
Chronological report:Cardiff City took to the field against a strong Wolfsburg side hoping for some ideal preparation for Friday’s televised Championship clash away to Blackburn Rovers.
They were coming up against some strong opposition here though, with the likes of Ivica Olić and Kevin De Bruyne spraying the ball around confidently in attack, and the Bluebirds were to fall behind in under five minutes. When a low cross came in from the right, Matthew Connolly swung his leg, but could only divert the ball to Wolfsburg’s Marcel Schafer who headed home at the back post.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 0 – 1 VfL WOLFSBURG (Schafer 4 mins)
Just a few minutes later, the City defence had to scramble to prevent a second as De Bruyne broke down the left flank before squaring to Croatian forward Olić. The Bluebirds did enough though, and nearly equalised on the subsequent break. Le Fondre controlled in the air just inside the box before sending a dipping cross over to Nicky Maynard, whose effort struck the outside of the woodwork and nestled in the stand.
Die Wölfereally should have made City pay for that miss on 15 minutes, as Junior Malanda could only head wide with the goal gaping after the tricky Vieirinha had won a free kick on the right wing.
Cardiff soon settled into the game though, with Peter Whittingham and Le Fondre looking most likely to create something. And the best chance yet fell to Alfie before the half hour mark. As Burgstaller broke free on the wing, he swung the ball in to an unmarked Le Fondre, who turned the ball just over.
As the visitors broke, City were soon to find out that top class international players only need half a chance to score a goal, and Kevin De Bruyne is certainly one of those. After finding some space 25 yards out, the young Belgian midfielder effortlessly smashed the ball in to the top corner to make it two.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 0 – 2 VfL WOLFSBURG (De Bruyne 26 mins)
A few minutes later the Bluebirds had to rely on David Marshall to prevent De Bruyne doing exactly the same thing again. The former Chelsea man drove the ball towards the top left corner from outside the box, but Scotland’s number 1 stretched his finger tips to divert the ball out for a corner.
The home side nearly responded to De Bruyne’s strike with a pearler of their own on 40 minutes. After Le Fondre and Nicky Maynard combined beautifully outside the box, the ball was laid off to Whittingham whose powerful effort cannoned back off the crossbar.
But City’s number seven did not have to wait long to get on the score sheet, as his side won a free kick 25 yards out in the same move. The stage was set for Whitts, and he did what he does best, guiding the ball past the Wolfsburg wall and into the bottom corner.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1 – 2 VfL WOLFSBURG (Whittingham 42 mins)
Incredibly, City then managed to round off the comeback and equalise just before the half time whistle. The marauding Fábio was able to squirm into the box with a determined run on the left, before squaring to Nicky Maynard to turn it home in classic poacher style.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2 – 2 VfL WOLFSBURG (Maynard 45 mins)
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2 – 2 VfL WOLFSBURG
Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought on Kenwyne Jones and Magnus Eikrem for his side at the break, while he would have been pleased to see De Bruyne, a thorn in City’s side until then, rested by the opposition.
The new man Jones played a part in another Cardiff City goal after ten second half minutes. Le Fondre showed good strength to claim the ball before dinking it over to his new strike partner. Jones’ header struck the post from point blank range, but Kim Bo-Kyung was on hand to turn the rebound into the empty net.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 3 – 2 VfL WOLFSBURG (Kim 57 mins)
With the home team now in the lead, several changes were made by both sides, slightly slowing down the course of the game. Substitute ‘keeper Max Grün did well to keep out Jones’ low drive, however, as City looked to extend their lead.
Spanish striker Javi Guerra had come on for the Bluebirds and was showing some nice touches, but the substitutions had disrupted the match at this point and there was little action in either goalmouth with fifteen minutes left.
Another substitute to impress was reserve ‘keeper Simon Moore. The former Brentford man did superbly to pounce on a bouncing ball at Olić’s feet to prevent the battling forward from scoring.
However, he could do nothing to stop the impressive Croatian’s next effort moments later. Daniel Caligiuri delivered a low cross in from the left wing and Olić swept the ball imperiously into the far corner to level the scores late on.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 3 – 3 VfL WOLFSBURG (Olić 84 mins)
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3 – 3 VfL WOLFSBURG
Cardiff City: Marshall (Moore 70), Brayford, Fábio (John 61), Gunnarsson, Cala, Connolly, Whittingham, Burgstaller (Eikrem 46), Le Fondre (Guerra 61) (Mason 85), Maynard (Jones 46), Kim (Harris 74).
Subs not used: Kiss, Daehli.
VfL Wolfsburg: Benaglio (Grün 63), Schäfer (Klose 46), Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez (Medojevic 46), Arnold (Klich 65), Malanda, Vieirinha, Hunt, De Bruyne (Caligiuri 46), Olić.
Subs not used: Grün, Scheidhauer, Sprenger.