Days Gone By | Bluebirds vs. Black Cats
As we prepare for our Easter Monday fixture against Sunderland, we take a look back at three standout games between the two sides.
1972 FA Cup madness
The 1971/72 was a remarkable season for the Bluebirds and the Black Cats, as both dipped their toe into the pool of European football.
City were yet again involved in the European Cup Winners’ Cup; having faced Real Madrid in the quarter-final stages the year before, they bowed out in the first round in '71/72, with a heartbreaking defeat on penalties to Dynamo Berlin.
Meanwhile, Sunderland were involved in the Anglo-Italian Cup. They were drawn into a group with Leicester City, Atalanta and Cagliari and picked up five points from their six group games, including an impressive 3-1 win away to Cagliari, but it wasn’t enough for them to progress into the final stage of the tournament.
Back on home soil, the two sides were drawn together in the Third Round of the FA Cup. With both being in Division Two at the time, it promised to be a close game.
At Ninian Park, Peter King put the hosts in front, but Brian Chambers equalised from the penalty spot and the scores remained level, leading to a replay at Roker Park.
City took the lead once again in the North East, this time through Brian Clark, but an 88th minute leveller from Sunderland’s Bobby Kerr meant that, once again, the scores were level, and a second replay was required.
The third meeting in eight days would take place at a neutral ground, with Maine Road being selected as the venue. This time, Jimmy Scoular’s side got the job done with a 3-1 win, with goals from Clark, Bobby Woodruff, and Billy Kellock. City would succumb in the next round to Leeds United, but the battle with Sunderland will not be forgotten.
A meeting 24 years in the making
Having not met in any competition since 1980, the 2003/04 season would see the rivalry between City and Sunderland rekindled.
Having played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light, the return fixture at Ninian Park was full of entertainment, as the Bluebirds ran out 4-0 winners, their biggest win in the fixture between the two.
The game changed 17 minutes into the first half, as Black Cats defender Joachim Björklund bought down Richard Langley and received a red card, a moment that well and truly flipped the game on its head.
Graham Kavanagh scored from the resulting free kick to put City ahead, before Langley doubled the lead nine minutes later, converting a Rhys Weston cross.
In the second half, the Bluebirds picked up where they left off as Danny Gabbidon added a third, before Alan Lee finished off the rout with ten minutes remaining.
The season saw City finish in 13th place in their first campaign back in the Championship, while Mick McCarthy's Sunderland finished in third position, but were knocked out of the Play-Off Semi-Finals on penalties by Crystal Palace.
A big step to the Premier League
After spending a decade in the Premier League, Sunderland returned to the Championship and met Cardiff City in 2018, and, just like they did 14 years previously, the Bluebirds matched their biggest win against the Black Cats with another 4-0 victory.
After a goalless first half, the game burst into life at the beginning of the second period. Callum Paterson headed home a corner from Joe Ralls to kick things off, before the red mist descended on Black Cats midfielder Didier Ndong a minute later.
He received a straight red card for a rash challenge on Junior Hoilett, which saw Chris Coleman’s Sunderland go down to ten men.
With the Bluebirds enjoying a numerical advantage, they took the game to their visitors. Kenneth Zohore strode through the defence before squaring to Ralls who doubled City's lead with a powerful finish.
Paterson would score his second soon afterwards after the Sunderland keeper parried the ball straight towards him, before Anthony Pilkington’s late tap-in sealed a comfortable win for Neil Warnock’s men.
City would go on to finish the season in second place and gain promotion to the Premier League for the second time, while Sunderland suffered relegation to League One.