Leicester City & the Bluebirds | Three memorable performances
Cardiff City face off against Leicester City this weekend, the first time both have played against each other for almost five years.
As the Bluebirds prepare to travel to take on the Foxes, we take a look back at three City stars who have shone against Saturday’s opponents.
Chopra joined the club at the start of the 2006-07 season and he made an electric start to life in the capital, scoring seven times in his opening eleven games. His goalscoring hot streak started to dwindle in the winter months, but you always felt as if the marksman was only one game away from getting himself back on track.
A fixture against Leicester represented a good opportunity to do that. Leicester hadn’t won for over a month, while the Bluebirds had only lost one of their last six, but Chopra had only scored once in that period. The game at Ninian Park also marked Dave Jones’ 500th game in management, and it was certainly one to remember.
The Bluebirds started the game brightly and were ahead 20 minutes in; Chopra’s sumptuous free kick nestling in the top corner. While it was only 1-0 at the break, City had dominated the first period, and after the resumption, Chopra was on fire. Firstly, he found the bottom corner after a lovely pass by Joe Ledley, before tapping in Steve Thompson’s pass twelve minutes later. A hat-trick for Chopra. Leicester pulled two goals back through Paddy Kisnorbo and Elvis Hammond, but it was too little too late. Chopra’s prowess in front of goal sealed a 3-2 win.
It would be Chopra’s only hat-trick of the season, but the forward had a sublime first campaign with the Bluebirds. Scoring 22 goals in 42 games, he was the only City player to break double figures for goals, as he guided the team to a 13th placed finish in the Championship.
In any play-off game, you need your big players to step up and perform at the most important moments, and that’s exactly what David Marshall did in 2010.
In the two regular season games between the Bluebirds and the Foxes, both had won one game each, and the play-off tie on paper looked like an incredibly tough outcome to predict. The first leg would take place at the then called Walkers Stadium, a place where City narrowly lost only two months prior to the first leg. Leicester looked rampant and had numerous chances on goal, but Scotland’s number one stood tall. He made a cracking save to deny Matt Fryatt, before clawing a last-minute header from Alex Bruce away from danger. Marshall’s outstanding performance kept City in the game, and with Peter Whittingham scoring an outrageous free kick, City left the Midlands with a 1-0 lead.
The return leg at the Cardiff City Stadium was the total antithesis of the first leg. A goal fest with the game swinging one way to the next. Chopra had put City ahead, but an own goal from Mark Hudson coupled with goals from Fryatt and Andy King put the Foxes into a 3-2 lead on aggregate. But a Whittingham penalty levelled proceedings, and with no team able to find a winner, to penalties we went.
After six perfect penalties, Yann Kermorgant tried an audacious chip, but Marshall read it perfectly to make an easy save. With Mark Kennedy dispatching his spot kick, the pressure fell on Martyn Waghorn’s shoulders. The Scot once again got the better of the Fox to send the Bluebirds into the play-off final.
Whenever the Spaniard is mentioned, one moment instantly springs to mind.
Heading into the festive fixture at the King Power Stadium, Neil Warnock’s side had only won one of their last five games and were flirting with the relegation zone. They needed something to kickstart their push away from danger. Leicester, meanwhile, had just beaten Chelsea and Manchester City in successive games, and they knew a win against the Bluebirds could push them up the table towards a European place.
For most of the game, it went with form as Leicester took control. Chances fell to Demari Gray, James Maddison, and Ricardo Perreira, but Neil Etheridge in the City net was having a storming game. Bluebirds chances were at a premium, with Josh Murphy having a shot from close range, only for Kasper Schmeichel to make a good low save.
The home side were handed a golden opportunity to go ahead, as the referee awarded them a penalty after Maddison was bought down by Sean Morrison. Up stepped Jamie Vardy, but Etheridge made a superb save. As the game went into added time, it looked like City would leave with a point, only for the man on loan from Real Betis to pull out something special.
The Bluebirds robbed the ball away from Leicester high up field and pushed into the final third. Bobby De cordova-Reid took the ball into the box, before teeing up Camarasa, who unleashed a breathtaking curling effort away from Schmeichel and into the top corner. The travelling fans went into frenzy as they snatched all three points from the King Power. While he may have only been at the club for one year, Camarasa’s wonder goal will always make him a cult hero amongst City fans.