Match Report | Cardiff City 0-1 Birmingham City
Cardiff City were narrowly defeated by Birmingham City at Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday evening.
A goal late in the first half by Juninho Bacuna was enough to separate the sides in a closely contested affair.
Erol Bulut made three changes to the side that defeated Millwall on Saturday, as Rubin Colwill, Yakou Méïté and Kion Etete came in for Callum Robinson, Josh Bowler and Iké Ugbo.
It was the visitors who made the livelier start, with Alex Rúnarsson being called into action in the opening two minutes after a powerful strike from Siriki Dembélé. Rúnarsson reacted well with a smart stop to his right-hand side.
Just nine minutes later, the Blues came close once again. Following a quick counter-attack, Jay Stansfield dragged his shot just wide of the post.
City saw their early flow disrupted with key full-back Perry Ng clearly suffering. City's No.38 attempted to play on, but was unable to do so, with Mahlon Romeo replacing him 13 minutes in.
The Bluebirds responded well to the visitors’ early pressure. After positive wing-play from Meite his cross was scooped over the bar at close range by Etete.
Seven minutes later, John Ruddy made a fantastic save as Ryan Wintle’s free-kick was met by Dimitrios Goutas and his glanced header was clawed away from the bottom left corner.
From the resulting corner, Goutas continued to show his aerial prowess as he climbed highest again, however his flick-on was narrowly missed by Mark McGuinness who was arriving late at the far-post.
On the stroke of half-time, Birmingham took the lead after Bacuna was found inside the box, he then looped the ball over Rúnarsson and tapped into an empty net.
Bulut made a number of changes in the second half to try and change the encounter, with Robinson, Ugbo, Bowler and Ollie Tanner introduced.
In the 70th minute, Jamilu Collins prevented the away side from a second after Jordan James connected superbly with a volley from the edge of the box that looked destined for the bottom corner, however Collins was in the right position to clear, herioically.
After a first half full of positive moments of play, both teams struggled to create many meaningful chances in the second half. Colwill had a chance to level the encounter with a free kick in added time, however he couldn’t beat Ruddy to rescue a point for City.
The Bluebirds will be looking to bounce back on Saturday against Hull City at the MKM Stadium.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 0-1 BIRMINGHAM CITY
Cardiff City: Runarsson, Ng (Romeo 13’), McGuinness, Goutas, Collins, Siopis, Wintle © (Bowler 58’), Colwill, Meite (Ugbo 74’), Grant (Tanner 74’), Etete (Robinson 58’). Subs not used: Alnwick, Adams, Panzo, Rinomhota.
Birmingham City: Ruddy, Buchanan, Aiwu, Roberts, Sanderson ©, James, Sunjic, Dembele (Miyoshi 89’), Bielik, Bacuna (Donovan 90+4’), Stansfield (Jutkiewicz 85’). Subs not used: Emmanuel, Etheridge, Gardner, Hogan, Khela, Oakley.