Match Report | Cardiff City 1-3 Middlesbrough
Cardiff City were defeated by a high-flying Middlesbrough at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Marcus Forss gave the visitors an early lead, with striker Sory Kaba equalising for the Bluebirds on his home debut.
Cameron Archer’s first-half strike saw Boro regain their advantage, before Riley McGree ensured the victory late-on.
Boss Sabri Lamouchi made three changes to the side that fell to a defeat to Hull City last time out, with Mahlon Romeo returning from injury to come into the starting XI, along with Joe Ralls and Kaba.
The visitors had an early chance, as the ball was cut back to striker Forss in the box, whose shot was charged down by the City defence. Despite a competitive start, Boro took the lead in the 17th minute, as Archer found Forss in space in the area, who struck powerfully into the net.
City immediately pushed forward in search of an equaliser and went close through Sheyi Ojo, whose dangerous free-kick was collected by goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The Bluebirds weren’t to be denied however, finding a leveller in the 25th minute, as Callum Robinson won the ball back high up the pitch and squared to Kaba, who turned home for his first City goal.
Michael Carrick’s side went close to regaining the lead through McGree, who won the ball inside the City box, only to fire wide of the post. With 38 minutes on the clock, Boro went back ahead, as Hayden Hackney slotted Archer through, who rounded Ryan Allsop and fired home.
Just before the break, City went close to equalising for a second time, with Romaine Sawyers finding Ralls free on the edge of the box, whose powerful effort forced a save from Steffen. At the other end, a dangerous cross from former Bluebird Ryan Giles found Forss in the area, whose header hit the post. After an end-to-end first-half, the visitors went into the interval with a 2-1 lead.
City started the second period brightly, forcing a chance through right-back Mahlon Romeo, who crossed into the area for Kaba, who struck over with an acrobatic effort. As the Bluebirds continued to push forward, an intricate move led to Robinson cutting inside and firing over the bar.
Lamouchi’s men had a great chance to level through defender Cedric Kipré, who found space from a corner, but headed over the bar from close-range. In another positive attack, substitute Andy Rinomhota drove an effort from distance, which flew just wide of the post.
Fellow replacement Kion Etete almost played a part in City equalising, as he headed back across goal, but couldn’t quite find a teammate. Boro had a great chance to add a third goal through top scorer Chuba Akpom, who was found free on the right side of the box, but struck the post. The visitors ensured the victory in the 89th minute, as substitute Matt Crooks crossed for McGree, who fired home.
City return to action in midweek, travelling to Birmingham City on Tuesday evening (14/02), 7.45pm KO.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1-3 MIDDLESBROUGH
Cardiff City: Allsop, Romeo (Ng 70’), McGuinness, Kipré, O’Dowda, Ralls © (Rinomhota 57’), Sawyers, Ojo (Wintle 57’), Philogene (Davies 86’), Robinson, Kaba (Etete 69’). Subs not used: Alnwick, Simpson.
Middlesbrough: Steffen, Giles, McGree, Archer (Fry 79’), Smith, Howson ©, McNair, Forss (Jones 69’), Lenihan, Akpom (Crooks 89’), Hackney. Subs not used: Roberts, Mowatt, Barlaser, Bola.