Match Report | Watford 1-3 Cardiff City
Three excellent first half goals gave the Bluebirds a superb away victory against Watford on Wednesday evening.
Sabri Lamouchi made two changes to the side that faced Sheffield United last time out, with Mahlon Romeo and Callum O'Dowda replacing Jaden Philogene and Jack Simpson.
The Hornets, chasing a Play-Off spot, made an early impact through Ismaïla Sarr, who netted after 11 minutes. Some patient build-up allowed the Senegal international to tap home from close range.
After twenty minutes without any goalmouth action, City had a flurry of chances around the half-hour mark. Kion Etete came close to latching onto a dangerous long ball, whilst Sory Kaba saw a lobbed effort nestle onto the roof of the net.
The Bluebirds got back on level terms after 31 minutes, with Etete netting his second in a City shirt. The striker kept his composure to roll the ball past a defender from a tight angle inside the box, creating space before finding the net with ease.
And four minutes later, City found themselves ahead. From Joe Ralls' free-kick, the ball dropped inside the box at the feet of Cédric Kipré, who made no mistake.
Making it two from two against the Hornets after netting in the reverse fixture at CCS, the defender smashed the ball past Daniel Bachmann to put the Bluebirds in front.
Minutes before the break, Sory Kaba unleashed a Goal of the Season contender to extend City's advantage. The striker juggled the ball before firing a bicycle kick into the far corner to hand the Bluebirds a 3-1 lead at the interval.
The hosts pushed to get back into the game in the opening stages of the second half, but could not find a way through the City backline. A superb sliding challenge from Mark McGuinness denied Keinan Davis from close range.
City weathered the Watford storm, and started to create second half opportunities of their own. Substitutes Romaine Sawyers and Connor Wickham almost combined perfectly moments after coming on, but the latter was stretching to reach the clipped ball.
After Joe Ralls was fouled to earn a free-kick in a dangerous area, set-piece specialist Perry Ng delivered a pacy cross to the back post, which was once again met by McGuinness. However, Bachmann in the Watford goal was able to hold.
The introduction of Wickham and Mark Harris gave Sabri's side fresh legs up front, enabling some respite for the boys at the back. Mahlon Romeo continued to make excellent stretching tackles, whilst Ryan Allsop was called into action to make a low stop from a powerful drive.
After four minutes of stoppage time, the sound of the final whistle secured three huge points for the Bluebirds, who face Stoke City at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, April 22nd, 3pm kick-off.
Full Time: Watford 1-3 Cardiff City
Watford: Bachmann, Andrews (Ngakia 65'), Porteous, Hoedt, Kamara (Asprilla 65'), Choudhury, Louza, Koné (Sema 46'), Sarr, Pedro, Davis.
Subs not used: Hamer, Kabasele, Araújo, Bacuna.
Cardiff City: Allsop, Romeo, Ng, Kipré, McGuinness, O'Dowda, Wintle, Ralls (C), Rinomhota (Sawyers 68'), Etete (Wickham 68'), Kaba (Harris 82').
Subs not used: Alnwick, Sang, Ojo, Davies.