Match Report | Leeds United 2–2 Cardiff City
Cardiff City began their 2023/24 Sky Bet Championship campaign with a 2-2 draw at Leeds United’s Elland Road on Sunday afternoon.
Debutants Josh Bowler and Iké Ugbo found the net to give City a two-goal lead at the break. Liam Cooper pulled a goal back for the hosts, before Crysencio Summerville equalised in second half stoppage time.
Manager Erol Bulut named five summer signings in the starting XI, including Dimitrios Goutas, Aaron Ramsey, Karlan Grant, Bowler and Ugbo.
After a competitive opening 15 minutes, the hosts forced the first chance, as Wilfried Gnonto raced in-behind, only to be denied by a fantastic save from Jak Alnwick.
From the follow-up, midfielder Archie Gray had two efforts well-blocked by Callum O’Dowda. In another attack for the Whites, Gnonto was found in space, before firing just wide of the post with a dangerous effort.
Italy international Gnonto then linked up with Summerville, who had a chance to open the scoring, but City centre-back Mark McGuinness made a remarkable intervention.
After sustaining the hosts’ pressure, City took the lead with 23 minutes on the clock. A fantastic move saw Joe Ralls pick out O’Dowda on the left, whose cross found its way to Bowler in the box. The loanee's composed finish into the bottom corner put the Bluebirds ahead.
Having taken the lead, Bulut’s side were disciplined and resolute in defence. However, an intricate move from the hosts led to a chance before the break, as Summerville found space on the edge of the area, only to be denied by a brilliant save from Alnwick.
With 39 minutes on the clock, City continued to be clinical and doubled the lead. A fine piece of interplay from Ryan Wintle and Bowler led to Ramsey having an effort at goal, which deflected into the path of Ugbo. The Bluebirds debutant was on-hand to fire home from close-range to send City into the break with a 2-0 lead.
At the start of the second period, the hosts had a chance to halve the deficit, as Luke Ayling crossed dangerously towards Gnonto. City defender McGuinness made a fantastic challenge to clear the ball out for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece, Leeds United captain Cooper headed into the net, as the Whites pulled a goal back.
City responded well, with Perry Ng’s defence-cutting pass finding Ugbo, who fired just over the bar after racing through.
With the Whites searching for a leveller, Wales international Daniel James cut in from the left, but Alnwick made another fantastic save. With 20 minutes left on the clock, Ayling squared for James to tap home, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The Whites were again denied by some fine defending from the Bluebirds, as Gnonto slipped through Luis Sinisterra, only for O’Dowda to make a brilliant intervention.
In added-time, the ball dropped kindly to Summerville in the box, who found the bottom corner to equalise for the hosts.
FINAL SCORE: LEEDS UNITED 2–2 CARDIFF CITY
Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Struijk, Cooper (C) (Cresswell 53’), Hjelde (Byram 46’), Gray (Perkins 90+3'), Ampadu, Summerville, Sinisterra, James (Poveda 82’), Gnonto (Gelhardt 82’). Subs not used: Darlow, Shackleton, Gyabi, Bate.
Cardiff City: Alnwick, Ng (Romeo 78’), Goutas, McGuinness, O’Dowda, Wintle, Ralls (C) (Adams 30’), Ramsey (Rinomhota 78’), Bowler, Ugbo (Etete 78’), Grant (Méïté 65’). Subs not used: Luthra, Collins, Simpson, Robinson.