Macheda double and Ralls strike secure City safe passage
Cardiff City sealed their spot in the third round of the Capital One Cup with a 3-2 victory away at Port Vale.
The Bluebirds took the lead after twenty-six minutes when captain Joe Ralls finished off a fine team move in style with a finesse finish from the edge of the penalty area.
The away side were pegged back though on thirty-four minutes as Michael O’Connor scored one of the goals of the round. The attacker’s thirty-five yard strike gave Simon Moore no chance of saving as the Capital One Cup clash entered the break level.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men took the lead for a second time on an hour when Federico Macheda slotted home a debut goal following some fine work on the left side by Declan John. Macheda added a third with eleven minutes remaining, running through on goal following Javi Guerra’s through ball, rounding Chris Neal and tapping home.
Macheda was unfortunate not to complete his hat-trick as a late strike crashed back off the bar - and this could have been important as Vale midfielder Michael Brown made it a nervy finish with an injury time goal. Nonetheless, Ole’s team held on to seal a spot in the third round.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær made eleven changes to the side that visited Wolves on Saturday with Federico Macheda and Kagisho Dikgacoi both starting their first competitive matches in Cardiff City shirts.
Simon Moore was the first keeper called into action after seven minutes when Louis Dodds somehow found a way through the City back line. Dodds low attempted volley was superbly pushed for a corner by Former Brentford shot-stopper Moore, who did his growing reputation no harm with a crucial early save on this occasion.
City controlled possession throughout the first half but were unable to find a way past the Vale defence until the twenty-sixth minute when captain for the evening Joe Ralls finesse finish put Cardiff ahead. Ralls beat Valiant keeper Chris Neal with a fantastic strike from distance to give Ole’s side a deserved lead. Former Yeovil Town loanee Ralls had controlled the flow of the match from midfield and this spectacular goal came as no surprise to those in attendance.
GOAL: PORT VALE 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Joe Ralls, 26 mins)
The home side went close to equalising after thirty-two minutes, Michael Brown's shot slipping wide of Moore’s goal. Micky Adams’ side leveled two minutes later though with an extravagant effort of their own; Michael O’Connor’s thunderous free kick from thirty-five yards would have left any goalkeeper standing as it flew into the top right corner of Cardiff’s net.
GOAL: PORT VALE 1-1 CARDIFF CITY (Michael O’Connor, 34 mins)
Former Real Valladolid striker Javi Guerra went close to opening his account for the Bluebirds just before the break with a turning shot from inside the box that just went over Valiant keeper Neal’s crossbar. It was a level cup-tie at the break with all to play for in the second period.
HALF TIME: PORT VALE 1-1 CARDIFF CITY
The away side pressured immediately following the restart and almost retook the lead after fifty-four minutes when striker Guerra’s shot stung the palms of Chris Neal with a powerful shot from twenty yards that the Vale goalie managed to push away from the oncoming City strike force.
The Bluebirds retook the lead on the hour mark when Federico Macheda marked his competitive debut in style with a first goal for Cardiff City. Welsh International Declan John with a superb driving run from the left full-back position, before crossing the ball to Macheda who added the finishing touches at the back post to give Ole’s men the advantage once more.
GOAL: PORT VALE 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (Federico Macheda, 60 mins)
Substitution, Cardiff City: Kim Bo-Kyung replaced by Kadeem Harris (62 minutes)
Substitutions, Port Vale: Steve Jennings, Michael O’Connor and Louis Dodds replaced by Ben Williamson, Chris Lines and Byron Moore (71 minutes)
Vale top scorer and last season’s player of the season Tom Pope’s acrobatic attempt after seventy-three minutes was well held by Moore as the home team tried to get back into this cup match. The feeling was, though, that the wind was disappearing from Vale's sails.
Substitution, Cardiff City: Magnus Wolff Eikrem replaced by Guido Burgstaller (73 minutes)
Federico Macheda was enjoying a fine first outing in a Cardiff City shirt and topped off his performance with a crucial third goal after seventy-nine minutes. The former Manchester United forward was played through on goal by strike partner Guerra and he showed superb technique in rounding Chris Neal before composedly hitting the back of the net while under pressure from the home defence.
GOAL: PORT VALE 1-3 CARDIFF CITY (Federico Macheda, 79 mins)
Substitution, Cardiff City: Javi Guerra replaced by Etien Velikonja (82 minutes)
Talisman forward Tom Pope’s glancing header with five minutes remaining went just wide of goal for the home team as they pushed to find a way back into the match. Kiko Macheda’s curling effort crashed back off the crossbar with two minutes to go as the forward searched for an illusive debut hat-trick.
Michael Brown’s goal in added time turned out to be nothing but a consolation, though the midfielder finished well to give his side hope. Cardiff held on to secure a spot in the third round draw though, which will be made after tomorrow evening's ties.
GOAL: PORT VALE 2-3 CARDIFF CITY (Michael Brown, 90 mins)
FULL TIME: PORT VALE 2-3 CARDIFF CITY
Port Vale: Johnson, Veseli, Duffy, Marshall.Subs not used:Neal, Yates, Dickinson, Robertson, McGivern, Jennings (Moore, 71), Brown, O’Connor (Lines, 71), Daniel, Dodds (Williamson, 71), Pope.
Cardiff City: Wilson, James, Owen, O’Sullivan.Subs not used:Moore, Barnum-Bobb, Oshilaja, Cala, John, Kim (Harris, 62), Dikgacoi, Eikrem (Burgstaller, 73), Ralls, Guerra (Velikonja, 82), Macheda.
Referee: David Webb
Attendance: 4,390 (313 away)