Emirates FA Cup Match Report | Cardiff City 2-2 Leeds United
Cardiff City were denied victory by a late equaliser against Leeds United in the Emirates FA Cup at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In a terrific first-half performance, Jaden Philogene and Sheyi Ojo found the net to put City in the ascendancy at the break.
Substitute Rodrigo pulled a goal back for the visitors, before Jak Alnwick denied the Spaniard an equaliser with a brilliant penalty-save. Fellow replacement Sonny Perkins found the net in added-time to book a replay.
Manager Mark Hudson’s starting XI notably included Isaak Davies, who made his first Bluebirds start of the season.
The visitors started brightly and forced the first chance of the afternoon, as midfielder Darko Gyabi fired just wide of the post from the edge of the area. Jesse Marsch’s side created another opportunity through Gyabi, who worked his way into the area, but was denied by a fantastic challenge from Jack Simpson.
Winger Crysencio Summerville went close to giving the Whites the lead, finding space in the box, only to fire over the bar. The Bluebirds punished the visitors for not taking early chances, as City took the lead in the 24th minute. Wales’ Mark Harris broke the offside trap and was initially denied by goalkeeper Joel Robles, with the ball eventually finding Philogene in the box, who finished clinically into the net.
Having netted the opener, the Bluebirds found a second goal just seven minutes later, as Andy Rinomhota set Sheyi Ojo free with a brilliant ball in-behind, allowing the latter to finish and double City’s lead. Hudson’s side looked full of confidence and created another opportunity with a fine move, which resulted in left-back Joel Bagan firing over with an effort from distance.
After a clinical first-half performance, City went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
Despite a competitive start to the second period, the visitors had a spell of sustained pressure on the hour mark, creating a huge chance to halve the deficit, as Sam Greenwood’s corner was headed wide of the post by Dutch centre-back Pascal Struijk.
Marsch’s men pulled a goal back in the 65th minute through substitute Rodrigo, whose header from inside the box following a dangerous cross from Greenwood couldn’t quite be kept out by Alnwick. The Whites continued to apply pressure, with Greenwood finding space in the box to shoot, but couldn’t direct his effort on target.
The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 79th minute for handball against Bagan, who was shown a red card by the referee. Goalkeeper Alnwick stepped up and produced a fine save to deny Rodrigo and keep City in the lead. In another chance, Rodrigo found space on the right and crossed low into the box, with substitute Mateo Joseph firing over from close-range. In added-time, fellow substitute Perkins was on-hand to net from close-range to equalise and book a replay at Elland Road.
The Bluebirds return to league action next weekend, welcoming Wigan Athletic to Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday (14/01), 3pm KO.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2–2 LEEDS UNITED
Cardiff City: Alnwick, Sang, Nelson (C), Simpson, Bagan, Rinomhota, Sawyers (Wintle 77’), Ojo (Ralls 86’), Philogene (O’Dowda 77’), Harris (Ng 86’), Davies (Tanner 63’). Subs not used: Allsop, L. Benjamin, Nkounkou, Wigley.
Leeds United: Robles, Kristensen (Drameh 60’), Llorente, Struijk (C), Firpo, Gyabi (Wober 60’), Gnonto, Aaronson (Perkins 86’), Summerville (Rodrigo 60’), Greenwood, Gelhardt (Joseph 73’). Subs not used: Klaesson, Ayling, Roca, Harrison.