Xavier Benjamin in action for Cardiff City

Carabao Cup Match Report | Cardiff City 2-2 Colchester United (3-0 on penalties)

Match Reports
Cardiff City progressed into the Second Round of the Carabao Cup with a 3–0 win on penalties against Colchester United on Wednesday evening, with the score 2-2 following 90 minutes of play.

The Bluebirds went ahead through Rubin Colwill’s smart finish, before Kion Etete was on-hand to fire home from close-range. A quick-fire double from the visitors through John Akinde and Joe Taylor saw the U’s level.

As the contest headed to a penalty shootout, goalkeeper Jak Alnwick made three fantastic saves, before Iké Ugbo scored the winning spot-kick.

Ollie Tanner in action for Cardiff City

In the starting XI, boss Erol Bulut handed a senior debut to defender Xavier Benjamin, who was named Academy Player of the Season at the end of the 2022/23 campaign.

City had an early chance, as a driving run from Ollie Tanner led to a free-kick in a promising position, which Colwill fired over the woodwork. The City Academy product was again involved, as the Bluebirds went close to taking the lead. Some shrewd build-up led to Colwill turning brilliantly in the area, before having an effort saved by goalkeeper Owen Goodman.

The visitors replied with a chance of their own, as midfielder Mauro Bandeira fired wide from the edge of the box. After threatening in the opening 20 minutes, playmaker Colwill gave City the lead, as he was found free in the box by Andy Rinomhota and fired clinically into the bottom corner.

With 35 minutes on the clock, the Bluebirds doubled their lead, as Tanner cut inside and fired a dangerous effort at goal. As Goodman parried the ball, striker Etete was on-hand to fire home. However, the visitors struck back five minutes later, as Akinde found the net from close-range.

Just before the break, Etete went close to netting a second, breaking into the area and firing a fierce effort at goal, which struck the woodwork. At the other end, the visitors levelled through Taylor, who found space in the area to fire into the net.

Kieron Evans in action for Cardiff City

In the second half, the Bluebirds pushed forward in search of a third goal, with Kieron Evans going close on the hour-mark. The winger picked up the ball on the edge of the area and fired towards goal, forcing a save from Goodman.

In another chance for the Bluebirds, some direct play from Tanner down the right saw the winger find space to shoot, but his effort was just over the woodwork. Boss Bulut continued to give opportunities to Academy graduates in the second-half, with midfielder Joel Colwill and exciting talent Cian Ashford making their senior debuts.

Late in proceedings, the visitors’ Samon Tovide was shown a straight red card, following a high knee on Jamilu Collins. In added-time, City went close to going back ahead, with Joel Bagan crossing to the back post, but striker Ugbo couldn’t quite turn the ball home.

With the contest heading to a penalty shootout, goalkeeper Alnwick made three fine saves, before Ugbo calmly netted the winning spot-kick. 


Cardiff City: Alnwick ©, Romeo, Benjamin (Bagan 76’), Simpson, Collins, Sawyers (J Colwill 60’), Rinomhota, Evans (Ojo 76’), Tanner (Ashford 87'), R Colwill, Etete (Ugbo 76’). Subs not used: Luthra, Semenyo, Adams, Wigley.

Colchester United: Goodman, Greenidge, Hall ©, Dallison (Iandolo 46’), Bandeira, Chilvers (Kazeem 76’), Read (Tovide 46’), Tchamadeu, Akinde (Hopper 46’), Taylor (Lawrence 46’), Fevrier. Subs not used: Hornby, Jay, Nelson, Cooper.