TOO MUTCH TO HANDLE
Malky Mackay’s men picked up their first away win in the Barclays Premier League through a stunning late Jordon Mutch strike.
The 92nd minute goal was nothing short of what Cardiff deserved after putting in a herculean effort in a game of high intensity. Cardiff enjoyed a blistering first period where they dominated, and took the lead after 12 minutes through Steven Caulker.
Indeed, City had chances to double their lead and had many chances but Fulham cruelly notched on the stroke of half time through substitute Bryan Ruiz to send the sides into the break on level terms.
The Bluebirds weren’t to be denied though, with Mutch slamming home in the dying moments to send the visiting fans into delirium.
Malky Mackay made one change from the side that narrowly lost out to Tottenham last week with Odemwingie starting following his goal against West Ham United in the Capital Cup. City operated a 4-4-1-1 formation with Odemwingie operating on the wing with Andrew Taylor starting the game at left back, making his 100th appearance at the club.
After his heroics against Tottenham, Cardiff’s stopper, David Marshall returned between the sticks having been rested on Tuesday night. Fulham’s starting 11 was upset after just seven minutes when Karagounis replaced the injured Scott Parker.
Cardiff took the lead five minutes later when towering centre half and captain, Steven Caulker rose to head the away side into the lead. Mackay’s men were backed by up to 3,000 raucous Cardiff fans and they erupted into euphoria when the net bulged.
The goal galvanised the visiting side who hassled and harried Fulham who were restricted to few shots at goal.
After 26 minutes, a curling free kick from Whittingham was met by Ben Turner who forced Stockdale into action. Cardiff then had the ball in the net for a second time through Caulker but Gunnarsson was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper.
The visiting side looked composed on the ball, testing Fulham, with a number of ‘City players impressing. Gary Medel helped marshal the midfield with Theophile-Catherine also worked tirelessly on the flank.
After a string of fine performances between the sticks of late, Marshall was in form once again, pulling off a sublime stop from a stinging Karagounis drive.
After dominating the first half, Cardiff were dealt a blow on the stroke of half time when substitute Brian Ruiz unleashed a wicked drive which flew beyond the helpless David Marshall.
HALF TIME: Fulham 1-1 Cardiff City
At the start of the second half, Cardiff looked to build on their stunning first half performance and mounted early pressure with Gary Medel rifling the ball over the crossbar. City boss Malky Mackay making an early change soon after in the second half with Mutch replacing Kim.
The substitute made an immediate impact whipping a dangerous ball to Campbell who skewed his effort over the bar. Whittingham also saw a shot fly wide of the goal as Cardiff pushed for a second.
Fulham had a similar idea though, bursting forward on the counter attack with Bent going close through a diving header. In front of a noisy home support, they rampaged forward but Cardiff coped well with the pressure looking well organised.
Fulham looked desperate to secure the three points with Martin Jol pushing three players up front. Malky brought on Craig Bellamy but even he couldn’t help reignite Cardiff’s first half form, firing a long range free kick wide of the target.
Fulham went close as the final whistle neared with Richardson hammering the ball across the face of goal but no one was there to tap goalwards.
But with the game in the balance, in stoppage time, Cardiff took the lead through a wonder goal by substitute Jordon Mutch. He picked the ball up 30 yards from goal before unleashing a fierce drive which flew beyond Stockdale in front of the ‘City fans sparking pandemonium in the away end.
The final whistle blew shortly after the ball hit the net with the Cardiff supporters erupting into party mode.
FULL TIME: Fulham 1-2 Cardiff City
Fulham: Stockdale, Hangeland, Sidwell, Kasami, Berbatov, Kacaniklic (Ruiz), Richardson, Riether, Parker (Karagounis), Amorebieta, Bent (Taarabt). Subs not used: Etheridge, Senderos, Rodallega, Zverotic.
Goal: Ruiz (45)
Cardiff City: Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Turner, Caulker (C), Taylor; Medel, Gunnarsson, Odemwingie (Bellamy), Whittingham, Kim (Mutch), Campbell (Maynard). Subs not used: Lewis; Hudson, Noone, Cowie.
Goals: Caulker (12), Mutch (92)