The Bluebirds slipped to an incredibly unfortunate defeat against Leeds United at Cardiff City Stadium. Doukara struck first before Antenucci hit home a second on the counter in injury time, after a flurry of chances for City, who had earlier seen Fábio sent off.
LEEDS HIT UNEXPECTED OPENER
In the opening exchanges, Anthony Pilkington had a few early opportunities and Stuart O’Keefe came close with a powerful volley that smashed into the side netting.
Midway through the period, Tom Lawrence made a penetrating run towards the Leeds penalty area, only to be brought down twenty-five yards from goal. Peter Whittingham sent in a vicious low effort that goalkeeper Marco Silvestri just managed to parry wide for a corner. City had their tails up now and were pressing intently for the game’s first goal.
However, as Cardiff pushed up field they were caught by a Leeds counter attack, Mirco Antenucci burst down the left flank and squared it to Souleymane Doukara who slotted the ball past David Marshall in the City goal.
Despite the set-back, the Bluebirds continued to put the Leeds back four under pressure, Lex Immers’ improvised looping effort fell just wide of the post. Minutes later, the lively O’Keefe forced another save that resulted in a corner. This led to a succession of City corners but they couldn’t force the breakthrough before the halftime whistle.
BLUEBIRDS PRESS FOR EQUALISER
Despite some promising early Cardiff play it was Leeds that had the first good chance of the second half. Some uncertainty at the back led to David Marshall being dispossessed near his goal by Doukara. The forward squared the ball to Antenucci whose weak shot was cleared off the line by Bruno Manga with the goal at his mercy.
Marshall more than made up for his mistake with a fine double save from the resulting scramble, denying Liam Bridcutt and Antenucci in quick succession.
From then on though, it was all City, as O’Keefe found Immers with a measured ball and the Dutchman let fly with a rasping drive that the ‘keeper could again only parry for a corner.
Shortly after, Russell Slade’s men had a very strong shout for a penalty when Matt Connolly’s dangerous cross appeared to strike a Leeds arm, but referee Darren Deadman waved away the vociferous protests from fans and players alike.
ALL CITY IN FRENZIED FINISH
A pivotal moment in the match arrived just after the hour mark, as Fábio mistimed a challenge on the advancing left back Charlie Taylor and was shown a second yellow card by the referee.
If anything the red card seemed to galvanise Cardiff and they were still fashioning chances to get back into the match. Immers showed excellent close control in the box before rattling a close range effort against the post with Silvestri beaten. Joe Ralls was next to come close, hitting an excellent long range strike that the Leeds ‘keeper did well to hold.
The Bluebirds were knocking on the door, as substitute Craig Noone brought another fine save with an effort from the edge of the area and Bruno Manga headed just over from close range in quick succession.
With the minutes ticking down, Noone came close again. The winger whipped a delightful free kick over the wall, only to be denied once more by Silvestri. It clearly wasn’t to be the Bluebirds night as Noone’s cross then found Zohore who crashed a header against the bar, shortly before Silvestri unbelievably tipped over another close-range effort from the big Dane.
With ten-man City throwing everything at their opponents, Leeds were able to break in the dying minutes and slot home a second through Antenucci. It was a defeat that the Bluebirds’ didn’t deserve, and the home supporters acknowledged that as they cheered their ill-fated heroes off the pitch.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 0-2 LEEDS UNITED
Scorers: Doukara 37’, Antenucci 90’+4,
Cardiff City: Marshall, Fábio, Malone, Manga, Connolly, Ralls, O’Keefe (Zohore, 82’), Whittingham (Noone 62’), Lawrence (Ameobi 76’), Immers, Pilkington.
Subs not used: Moore, Morrison, Dikgacoi, Saadi.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Beradi, Bamba, Bellusci, Taylor, Murphy, Bridcutt (Diagouraga 71’), Mowatt (Dallas 76’), Cook, Anetenucci, Doukara (Erwin 85’).
Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Wooton, Carayol, Botaka.