- Sky Bet Championship
- Date: 11th February 2017 (3:00 KO)
- Opposition: Leeds United
- Location: Elland Road
- Score: 0-2 (Morrison and Zohore)
- Attendance: Around 31,516 (around 500 bluebirds)
One of the best City performances for some time. Leeds started brightly, having a lot of possession, but not really getting near the Cardiff goal. The Bluebirds were willing to sit back in the first half, and absorb the pressure. However, you could argue that City did have the better chances in the first half, despite all the Leeds United pressure. Gunnarrson came close during a scramble in the Leeds box, after a cross from Kareem Harris, however, the Icelandic midfielder was unable to get his shot away. City’s best opportunity to score in the first half was virtually the half’s last kick of the game, the ball was sprayed from right to left, and would have been cleaned up by the Leeds back line, if it wasn’t for a slip by Leeds Right Back Ayling. His slip allowed Kareem Harris the opportunity to pick up the ball and drive at a retreating, and stretched Leeds. Zohore made a run in behind the defender, however, Harris delayed the pass to play in Zohore, and by the time it was played, it was over hit and Rob Green cleaned up the danger. Warnock didn’t look impressed.
The second half had a totally different look, due to a relatively early goal for the away side. City won a free kick around 10 yards into the Leeds United half, on the right hand side. Craig Noone took the resulting free-kick, curling the ball into the home side’s box using his left foot. It was Sean Morrison who climbed highest and headed past a helpless Rob Green, around 8 yards out (if I recall correctly), and down to the Ex England International Goalkeeper’s left hand side. City took a shock lead, and their performance benefited for it too. City took great confidence from the goal, and seemed more composed on the ball, as they instantly looked for a second. All of a sudden, it was City who were taking control of the game, and looked the more likely side to get the second of the game. City’s second did come, and in the 71st minute of the game. It was Aaron Gunnarsson who somehow managed to wiggle his way past the Leeds backline on the left hand side, and as a result, drove into the penalty area. He was confronted by Rob Green, but the bluebirds mifielder managed to keep his cool, spotted Kenneth Zohore on the edge of the area, and the Danish striker managed to slot home into a practically empty net. City fans (including myself), went bezerk with joy, and in shock, in all honesty. Most fans would have taken a point before the game, and most expected us to lose before hand. The Leeds faithful went quiet, and their team started to run out ideas, as City were set-up with a 5 man midfield, with Greg Halford doing a fantastic job as a shield for Bamba and Morrison. Leeds never really looked like scoring in the second half, despite their increasing pressure as the game was heading to it’s latter stages. Liam Bridcutt got sent off for Leeds 85 minutes in, after picking up a second yellow for a foul on Halford. City saw the game out in relatively easy fashion, and could have even scored a third, due to the number of counter attacks they produced towards the end of the game. The home side were getting stretched at the back, as they searched for a goal.
My Man of the Match: Greg Halford (Unsung Hero)
Many fans will disagree with me, however, Halford carried out a lot of the ‘dirty work’ this afternoon at Elland Road. Pablo Hernandez did pick up space early on, but once Halford got to grips with him (after a chat with Warnock by the technicals area), the former Rotherham man made it difficult for Hernandez to carry on pulling the string. He sat back and protected the backline in fantastic fashion for the most part. All afternoon he tracked runners, made important tackles/interceptions, and got City playing by passing the ball to wide men (Harris and Noone). In possession, he was composed, and had a great calmeness about him, especially in the second half as the game went on. He could, and perhaps should of grabbed himself a goal in the first half. A free kick from far out left was played into the box, and Halord seemed unmarked as he headed straight at Green from around 10-12 yards out. I would give him a solid 8/10 for his performance this afternoon.
Thanks for reading. Safe trip home to all the fans who made the trip to Elland Road.
(Photo credit – Wales Online).