The Bluebirds battled to a two-goal win over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex on Tuesday, April 16th.
Neil Warnock made three changes to the side that had faced Burnley on the weekend with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Oumar Niasse and Joe Ralls coming into the starting XI.
The hosts started in determined fashion with dangerous winger Solly March going close inside the first 90 seconds. His effort flew into the side netting, immediately in front of the 1,800 loud travelling Cardiff City supporters.
The Bluebirds grew into the match soon after with both teams trading possession and half chances, but nothing clear cut. The opening goal of the match wasn’t an obvious opportunity either - but Warnock’s men certainly made the most of it.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing broke at pace from his own half down the left before sharing a one-two with Junior Hoilett. Our Birmingham-born winger got the ball back, took aim, and curled a delightful effort from 25-yards into the top left corner, beyond Mat Ryan.
It was the away team who had the better of the chances for the remainder of the first half too with the battling Aron Gunnarsson going close with a header. He’d earlier tested his sights with a big effort from distance that went wide of goal.
The Seagulls continued their strong possession play after the break, but were unable to find a way through the defiant Bluebirds defence, led by Sean Morrison. The skipper, known throughout his time in South Wales for his goal-scoring threat, was still waiting for his first Premier League goal of the campaign. That wait came to an end much to the delight of the away fans on 50 minutes, as Warnock’s side took a two goal advantage.
Víctor Camarasa floated in a deep free kick - which evaded the home defence, but was met expertly by our #4, who headed past Ryan before celebrating his headed goal in front of the Cardiff City fans.
Talisman forward Glenn Murray showed his capabilities throughout the match with some great movement and footwork, but he was rarely found by team-mates. Murray’s powerful strike after 70 minutes looked threatening to Neil Etheridge, before drifting just over the crossbar. The striker went closest for his side in added time, but his luck was out even then, with a volley bouncing out off the post. While Murray will have felt frustrated seeing this effort miss the net, it would’ve been harsh on Etheridge and his defence to concede and lose their clean sheet after such a heart-filled performance.
FINAL SCORE: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 0-2 CARDIFF CITY
Brighton & Hove Albion: Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Stephens, Gross (Andone 54’), Jahanbakhsh (Izquierdo 69’), Murray, March, Propper, Bernardo. Subs Not Used: Button, Bong, Kayal, Locadia, Burn.
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett, Morrison, Manga, Ralls, Gunnarsson (Bacuna 55’), Camarasa, Niasse (Zohore 85’), Hoilett, Mendez-Laing (Harris 79’). Subs Not Used: B. Murphy, J. Murphy, Decordova-Reid, Healey.