Manchester United 4-0 West Ham


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Man United started the Premier League season emphatically against West Ham, with Romelu Lukaku scoring two.

United started strongly and looked a constant threat. They had an extra pace in their play which they lacked last season. They had a couple of half-chances and Lukaku was a constant threat.

The breakthrough came in the 33th minute through Lukaku. Nemanja Matic, who was also making his Premier League debut for United, made an interception in the middle of the pitch, which fell to Marcus Rashford. Rashford ran at the West Ham defence, before playing Lukaku through, who scored off the post.

West Ham were poor throughout the game and offered little threat to United. But, in the first half they came close, with Edimilson Fernandes forcing David de Gea into a save from the edge of the box.

Lukaku doubled his tally and United's lead in the 52nd minute with a glancing header from a Henrick Mkhitaryan free-kick. It was almost inevitable that Lukaku would score against the Hammers, as he has scored 9 in 10 games
whilst playing for Everton.

He could've had a hat-trick, only for Pablo Zabaleta to slide in to block his effort. West Ham came close in the second half, but new signing Marko Arnautovic's header hit the bar. They offered little going forward.

Rashford, who played very well, came very close to scoring. He curled an excellent shot against the inside of the right-hand post, but it didn't go in. The victory was sealed in the 87th minute through substitute Anthony Martial, who slotted home after being played through by Henrick Mkhitaryan.

Paul Pogba added some gloss with a low finish from distance in the 90th minute. It was a very encouraging performance from United to start the new season.

United spent £150million in the summer on Lukaku, Matic and Victor Lindelof in a bid to sustain a stronger title challenge than last season. Lindelof didn't make the team for this game but, Matic and Lukaku very much impressed.

This new team was outclassed in the Super Cup final against Real Madrid but in this game they looked menacing. Lukaku scored in that game and in this game he looked like he could be a revelation this season.

He was fantastic in this game and will be looking to add goals to a team which has lacked goals in the past few seasons. Another striker making their debut for their team in this game was Chicharito, who was stupidly sold by Louis Van Gaal. He didn't make as much of an impact as Lukaku but he could be a good signing for West Ham. He was given a warm welcome from the United fans.

United have now lost only one of their 14 opening-day Premier League fixtures at Old Trafford. The fans will be demanding a better performance than last season, when although they won the League Cup and Europa League, they came sixth in the league. There is plenty of encouragement for them.

Next up they are at Swansea on Saturday, the 19 August at lunch time.

Cardiff City 3-0 Aston Villa


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A brilliant Cardiff City comfortably beat promotion favourites Aston Villa to maintain their perfect start to the Championship season.

Villa nearly scored inside five minutes, after a poor header by Sol Bamba gave Scott Hogan a chance, but Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge saved his one-on-one.

Moments later Junior Hoilett shot from long-range, with Villa keeper Sam Johnstone nearly having a howler failing to catch the ball first time, but he grasped it at the
second time of asking.

With about quarter of an hour gone, Kenneth Zohore had a chance, only for Johnstone to thwart him. In the 21st minute, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing opened the scoring for City. From Hoilett's cross, Mendez-Laing got above the Villa players to head past Johnstone.

Zohore had an effort, similar to his first, saved by Johnstone again and from the rebound, Loïc Damour's shot was blocked by Neil Taylor.

Right at the beginning of the second half, Mendez-Laing could've doubled his tally and City's lead, but Johnstone stopped the shot. Once again, Zohore had another shot, similar to the others, saved by Johnstone.

Villa's best chance came when, from a corner, James Chester's header bounced up onto the bar. Apart from that it was all Cardiff. The Bluebirds finally doubled their lead when, after taking the ball past Chester, Zohore delightfully chipped the ball over the keeper for Hoilett to head home.

And the Bluebirds finished the game off through Mendez-Laing's second off the game. He picked up the ball from Aron Gunnarsson, before wrong-footing Chester through some step-overs before curling the ball into the far corner.

It was a dominant display to put down a marker for this season. This win puts them top of the table on goal difference. Hopefully we can put up a serious promotion challenge.

Next up we are at home to Sheffield United on Tuesday, the 15 August. Hopefully we can maintain our perfect start.

Manchester United Season Review


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After a disappointing Premier League season in which United failed to finish in the top four, the season ended with silverware and Champions League qualification after winning the Europa League.

United had a new manager for this campaign, with Jose Mourinho joining straight after winning the FA Cup last season. He brought in four big signings in the summer. They were Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrick Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly. He broke the transfer record for Pogba, paying £89million.

Their season started before the Premier League had begun in the Community Shield. Ibrahimovic scored the winner in a 2-1 victory. The Premier League season began brightly, winning the first three games in the league. They won every game in August. 

There was a sense that Mourinho was bringing back the success from Sir Alex Ferguson’s time. Ibrahimovic scored three goals in his first three games. He scored against Man City in their first game in September but, they couldn’t carry on their winning run and lost 2-1.

They started their Europa League campaign in September, but they lost to Feyenoord 2-1. Also in September they beat Northampton 3-1 in the EFL Cup to progress to the next round. Their Premier League form dipped a bit, losing to Watford as well as City.

During this season United struggled a lot at scoring against smaller teams who came to Old Trafford, despite having a large amount of shots. In October this happened against Stoke, where they drew 1-1, and against Burnley, where they drew 0-0. Against Burnley they had 42 shots, with Ibrahimovic having 12 of them.

During November, they drew more games at home, letting a late goal to draw against Arsenal and drawing 1-1 against despite dominating. What was once thought of as the Theatre of Dreams, where teams would fear was now becoming a stadium where teams wouldn’t feel as scared.

In December another late goal cost them the three points against Everton. They needed to draw at Zorya Luhansk to progress to the last 32. They won the game 2-0 so they were through. They had an unbeaten December and after the Everton game won five league games in the league.

They extended their winning run in the league with a 2-0 win at West Ham at the beginning of January. That run ended in the following game with a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool. 

Wayne Rooney became joint all-time leading scorer with Sir Bobby Charlton through scoring in the 4-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup. Rooney did break the record, with a sensational stoppage-time free-kick. It was his 250th goal for United to overtake Charlton.

United made it through to the final of the EFL Cup with an aggregate win over Hull City. They won the first leg 2-0 at home. They scraped through in the second leg after losing the game 2-1, which ended their 17 match game unbeaten run in all competitions but, they won the tie 3-2.

Another draw at home against one of the smaller teams came at the beginning of February against Hull with a 0-0 draw. They stayed unbeaten in the league but were dropping valuable points in the race for the top four. But they could qualify for the Champions League through winning the Europa League. They progressed to the Last 16 with a 4-0 aggregate win over Saint Etienne.

At the end of February Mourinho won his first trophy as United manager in the EFL Cup against Southampton. They went 2-0 in the game through Jesse Lingard and Ibrahimovic but, Southampton pulled it back through two goals from Manolo Gabbiadini. It looked like Southampton were going to score another but in the 87th minute Ibrahimovic won the game for United. It was what United had bought him for.

In March once again they drew at home to a smaller team through drawing to Bournemouth 1-1. They were knocked out of the FA Cup against Chelsea in a 1-0 loss. Ander Herrera was sent off which made the task very difficult and N’Golo Kante scored the winner. Also in this month they progressed to the quarter-final of the Europa League with a 2-1 aggregate victory over FC Rostov.

April was a packed month with nine games. They drew three games at home in this month and it was looking like winning the Europa League was their only hope of qualifying for the Champions League. They scraped into the semi-final of the Europa League. After drawing against Anderlecht in the first leg, an extra-time goal from Marcus Rashford gave them a 3-2 aggregate victory.

United made it into the final of the Europa League with tense 2-1 aggregate victory over Celta Vigo. They survived a huge late scare with ex Man City player John Guidetti missing a tap-in right at the death. United also had to make do without Eric Bailly in the final, as he got sent-off for a little push on Guidetti, who made a meal out of it.

United’s unbeaten run in the league ended, with a 2-0 loss at Arsenal. By now Mourinho was concentrating on winning the Europa League. He was resting the players who would be playing in the final. 

In the final game of the Premier League season against Crystal Palace, Mourinho gave full Premier League debuts to four players: Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, and Josh Harrop. Also, 16 year-old Angel Gomes came on for Rooney. This game could be his last game at Old Trafford where he has scored plenty of goals over the years. During the first half Harrop had a dream debut, scoring an impressive goal.

United’s last game of the season was the Europa League final against Ajax. This was their biggest game of the season and a must-win otherwise the season would be deemed a failure. Goals from Pogba and Mkhitaryan gave them victory and there were big celebrations at the end, with Mourinho being thrown in the air.

Overall, I don’t believe this was a successful season, as they came sixth in the league and only qualified for the Champions League through winning the Europa League. They will definitely need to improve in the league next season.

They will need to sign players in the summer and they have already signed centre-back Victor Lindelof from Benfica, who could be good partnering Eric Bailly at the back. They are linked with Alvaro Morata, Ivan Perisic, Fabinho, James Rodriguez and more. They definitely need a striker after not offering a new contract to Ibrahimovic.

Cardiff City Season Review


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After a very poor start to the season under Paul Trollope, Cardiff ended the season safely in mid-table under Neil Warnock

It was a season that started with hope of a promotion back to the Premier League with the appointment of Trollope. After being part of the coaching team for the Welsh team who reached the semi-finals of the European Championships.

He brought in a couple of Welsh players and adopted the same formation to try and kindle some of that success. He was optimistic but, that optimism soon fell after a very poor start.

After 10 games, they only had eight points and after the 11th game, which was a 2-0 loss against Burton Albion, Trollope was sacked. Straight away Neil Warnock was appointed as the new manager. He seemed to be, unlike Trollope, the right man for the job.

He made his mark straight away, bringing in free agents Junior Hoilett, Sol Bamba, Marouane Chamakh and Kieran Richardson. When he came in the Bluebirds were in 23rd, looking like they would be in a relegation battle. But, he started well, unlike Trollope, with a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Bristol City in the Severnside derby. 

City were unbeaten in their first three games under Warnock. It was only in the fourth game against Wigan, that he lost his first game, in a 1-0 loss. They seemed to be going on comfortably after the arrival of Warnock. 

The main problem was late goals, with late goals against Brentford and Barnsley denying them a victory and a point respectively. They ended 2016 in 19th place after Warnock had helped them climb out of the relegation zone.

They started the new year well with three wins in a row. There was optimism around the club as they were doing a lot better than they were earlier in the season. They were starting to play a lot better as well. 

They went on another three game win streak during February, including a 5-0 win against bottom club Rotherham. It looked like they still had a chance of reaching the play-offs.

Warnock had said throughout the season that they needed some new signings to be able to fight at the top and has constantly said that he is looking at next season. They ended the season comfortably in mid-table. 

They finished the season strongly with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield, who were promoted through the play-offs. They finished in the top half of the table in 12th. They ended the season comfortably, as Warnock has vastly improved the side.

Overall, they were mainly looking at next season for most of the second half of the season. As Warnock is staying next year it looks like it could be a good season. He has already brought in goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, and full-back Callum Paterson and wants to sign more players.

Next season is looking like a bright season and there is real cause for optimism. Hopefully they can mount a strong promotion challenge to return to the Premier League.

Ajax 0-2 Manchester United


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Man United secured Champions League football next season and a second major trophy of the season, as they beat Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm.

It was an emotional night following the attack in Manchester which killed 22 people at Arianda Grande’s concert at the Manchester Aren on Monday. It gave the fans some comfort following that devastation, with United winning in comfort.
On an emotional night following the attack which killed 22 people at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday, United’s fans were allowed a measure of celebration as Jose Mourinho’s side won in comfort.

Ajax started fairly brightly, with Bertrand Traore, on loan from Chelsea, forcing Sergio Romero into a save. Ajax had 69% of possession on the night, but could not use it to good use, as they didn’t give United a tough test.

In the 18th minute, United took the lead through Paul Pogba. After being a allowed a little too much space by Ajax captain Davy Klassen, he fired into the back of the net via a huge deflection off Davinson Sanchez. 

Pogba’s had a lot of stick this season, but he scored a goal which put United on their way in this match. He’s struggled to justify his £89million price tag but, in this game he showed flashes of quality which caused Jose Mourinho to make him a high-priority signing.

Although United had less possession, they used it to good use. Antonio Valencia, captain for the night with Wayne Rooney on the bench, tested the keeper with an effort after bursting forward.

In the second half, in the 48th minute, United doubled their lead through Henrick Mkhitaryan. A corner was crossed in towards Chris Smalling, who headed it down and Mkhitaryan, who flicked it in. This goal gave United some breathing space. It was his sixth Europa League goal of the campaign. He struggled in the first half, but showed what a priceless poacher’s instinct he has.

Marouane Fellaini, who for once played well in the midfield, nearly added another goal but, his header was straight at Obama in the Ajax goal. Jesse Lingard also nearly scored but, Sanchez, who was excellent recovered to thwart him, with Lingard bearing down on goal.

Rooney came on with a few minutes to go in what could be his last game for United. He was handed the captain’s armband by Valencia in possibly his farewell appearance. He has been an incredible servant to the club and will be remembered as a legend.

This victory gives them automatic qualification into the Champions League. It also adds to EFL Cuo won against Southampton earlier this season. It means Mourinho can look at this season as a success. It was all regarding one match, as the season would’ve been seen as a failure with a loss.

Mourinho ran onto the field to celebrate with his players, thrown in the air by his coaches and hugged by his son. He’s had his frustrating times this season, especially with 15 Premier League draws which led to an unsatisfactory sixth-place finish. 

United have now won every trophy that they could possibly win. They are also the fifth team to claim the full quota of European trophies, joining an illustrious list with Ajax, Chelsea, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

There is still a lot to do before this team is the finished article, but for now they can enjoy Champions League qualification next year and a victory which lefties the spirits of Manchester. And at the final whistle, there were chants of “Manchester” around the Friends Arena in tribute to those who died and were injured in the attack which cast a shadoq over this showpiece occasion.

And as the final whistle sounded and United’s celebrations began, chants of “Manchester” rang around the Friends Arena in tribute to those who died and were injured in the attack which cast a shadow over this showpiece occasion.

United’s season has now finished after 64 games in a manic season. Their season can be regarded as success but, there will be much more expected for next season.

Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace


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United comfortably beat Crystal Palace, as 21 year-old Josh Harrop scored on his debut.

Harrop and left-back Demetri Mitchell were both making their United debuts, while Joel Pereira and Scott McTominay were making their full Premier League debuts. It shows how much youth talent United have and that there is a really bright future to look forward to.

Harrop found the net in the 15th minute. It was a sublime finish from inside the box and showed that he was brimming with confidence. He nearly doubled his tally, but he curled an effort narrowly wide. 

They doubled their lead in the 19th minute through Paul Pogba. It was a low finish into the back of the net. Pogba got subbed off at the end of the first half, with the Europa League final on Wednesday in mind. United were comfortably ahead so Jose Mourinho could afford to take his main midfielder off.

Palace’s best chance came in the second half when striker Christian Benteke headed against the foot of the post. Apart from that they hardly threatened and they didn’t really test United ahead of their huge final on Wednesday.

With two minutes to go Mourinho brought on Angel Gomes for his United debut. He became the club’s youngest ever player to play in the Premier League at 16 years and 263 days old. He is also the first player to be born in 2000 to appear in the the Premier League. He replaced captain Wayne Rooney, in what could prove to be his last ever game for United.

Rooney was given a standing ovation coming off the pitch, with the fans recognising that this could be the last time they see Rooney on their team. He has been a tremendous servant to the club but, his time may be over, as he doesn’t seem to be in Mourinho’s plans. If it was his last ever appearance, it was rather subdued.

For United their whole season depends on that Europa League Final on Wednesday against Ajax on Wednesday. Win and their season can be counted as a good season with the EFL Cup and a place in the Champions League next season. Lose and their season will be counted as a failure, with no Champions League for a successive season.

But, their league season has been a disappointment, with their least victories and most draws, with 11 of those coming at home. They will get £28.5million for coming sixth in the league. They’ve collected one more point on the road – 35, than at Old Trafford.

Their nex and final game of the season is on Wednesday, the 24 May in Stockholm in the Europa League final. It is the biggest game of their season and they must win.

Tottenham 2-1 Manchester United


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In Tottenham’s last game at White Hart Lane, they defeated Man United, who have nothing left to fight for in the Premier League.

Spurs opened the scoring in the 6th minute through Victor Wanyama. He headed in powerfully past David de Gea from a Ben Davies cross. Anthony Martial came close to scoring about 10 minutes, but is curling effort narrowly went wide.

Spurs could’ve doubled their lead, but Son Heung-Min’s effort was well saved by de Gea. Harry Kane hit the bar with a header, as Spurs looked to doubled their lead. Dele Alli and Kane both had shots well saved by de Gea before the interval. 

United could’ve gone into the break level but, Eric Bailly decided to pass instead of going for goal himself after being played in by Wayne Rooney. It was a really good chance, but he made the wrong decision.

Three minutes into the second half, Spurs doubled their lead through Kane. Christian Eriksen curled in a free-kick and Kane out-smarted Chris Smalling to poke home past de Gea to give Spurs breathing space. This gave United a mountain to climb for the rest of the match.

Tottenham’s performance dropped after that goal and United nearly got a goal back through Martial but, he fired narrowly wide again. United did get their goal though in the 71st minute through Rooney. Martial went past Kieran Trippier before picking out Rooney who tapped in from close range.

But, Spurs managed to hold on, although Marcus Rashford nearly got the equaliser right at the death. He was played through but he fired wide. United didn’t manage to spoil the leaving party for Spurs.

United’s focus is fully on the Europa League on the 24 May against Ajax, which they desperately need to win to qualify for the Champions League next season. Mourinho has said that they only have one game they are concentrating on for the rest of the season, which is that final. Because of this defeat, they can no longer make the top four.

Mourinho will have to settle for fifth or sixth in his first season at the club. Four out of United’s five losses have been in games played on the Sunday immediately after a European match. But, they will qualify for the Champions League if they win the Europa League, with the final against Ajax on May 24.

Tottenham on the other hand were playing their last game at Whit Hart Lane. They will play all their home games next season at Wembley, as their stadium will still be being built. There was a big send off at the end of the match, with their fans running on the pitch.

Next up for United they are playing Southampton away on Wednesday, the 17 May. Hopefully they can get back to winning ways.

Manchester United 1-1 (AGG 2-1)


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Man United survived a huge late scare to beat Celta Vigo and edge through to the Europa League final, where they will play Ajax.

After winning the first leg, United got off to the perfect start in the 17th minute. Marouane Fellaini headed home Marcus Rashford’s fantastic cross. That goal settled the nerves of the home fans, with a bit of breathing space over Celta Vigo.

Celta had made an attacking, so that goal was exactly what United needed. Apart from the goal, United created very few chances as they sought to frustrate Celta with an organised defensive performance.

Celta had the better chances, with Pione Sisto, Daniel Wass and John Guidetti all threatening. Henrick Mkhitaryan, who had a very good game had a shot, but he fired it high and wide.

In the second half, Celta continued to have efforts on goal. Rashford came close to scoring after going past a defender but, the keeper came out and saved his shot. Mkhitaryan and Fellaini also forced saves from the keeper.

It looked like United were going to comfortably win the game, but then in the 85th minute Facundo Roncaglia made it interesting by heading in following a corner. If they would’ve scored one more goal after that goal, United would’ve been out on away goals.

That goal increased the tension and it led to a scuffle with almost all the players involved. United’s Eric Bailly was sent off for a swipe on John Guidetti, although Guidetti over-exaggerated it by falling on the floor and holding his face. Celta’s Roncaglia was also sent off for retaliating.

With six minutes of added time, Celta fancied their chances and it was a nervy time for United. Celta did create one chance, and it was a brilliant chance for Guidetti, but he scuffed his shot when it was basically a tap in.

Guidetti, who used to play for Man City, had said before the match that he wanted to make Manchester blue again. He had the perfect chance to knock out the red half of Manchester, but he somehow missed the chance. It would’ve also put Celta through to their first ever European final.

It was the last kick of the game and United hung on. United have never lost a European semi-final after winning he first leg and this victory extends that run. United greeted the final whistle with relief, while Celta slumped to their knees and Guidetti was in tears.

The aggregate victory took United a step closer the their first Europa League triumph and automatic qualification for the Champions League. Jose Mourinho has seemingly given up on finishing in the top four, with United four points off Man City in fourth.

He showed this in their 2-0 loss to Arsenal, as he made eight changes for his team, with the Europa League his priority. His season will be deemed as a success if they win the Europa League, but a failure if they don’t.

Mourinho’s ambitions were high when he first arrived, hoping to get top four at least and to end the bad times that have been since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. His decision to prioritise the Europa League will only be justified if they manage to beat Ajax, who edged past Lyon 5-4, in the final.

United have won 65 trophies in their illustrious history, but the Europa League is not in the trophy cabinet yet. They will have a really big chance of adding it on May 24, when they will face Ajax in the final in Stockholm.

United’s next game is at Tottenham on Sunday the 14 May. It will be a very tough game and even tougher if Mourinho once again rotates his team.

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United


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Man United’s 25-match unbeaten run in the Premier League against Arsenal, who gave themselves some hope of making the top four.

The game didn’t have the same passion that it has in the last and it took a while to get going. In the first half, David de Gea denied Aaron Ramsey’s effort with a good save and then made a brilliant save to deny Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-tame effort.

Wayne Rooney was starting for United, but he had a poor game and missed some decent chances. The best chance United had in the first half was when Anthony Martial’s shot was well saved by Arsenal keeper Petr Cech.

The second half burst alive in three minutes at the beginning of the half. First, Granit Xhaka opened the scoring in the 54th minute, with a deflected shot from distance, which looped over de Gea. United just got unlucky as de Gea would’ve saved it if it hadn’t gone off Herrera.

And three minutes later, they doubled their lead through Danny Welbeck. Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed it in, it went over Chris Smalling and Welbeck headed in with a bullet header. In three minutes, United had all but lost the game.

After the goal, Arsenal didn’t really threaten, but it didn’t matter. United offered little threat. Jose Mourinho introduced Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard to try and change the game, but they failed to bring United to life.

The only decent efforts United were through Rooney and substitute Scott McTominay, who tried to poke home late on. It was a very poor performance by United but Mourinho didn’t seem to care, as he has prioritised the Europa League and was even happy for Arsenal fans who could actually celebrate beating him for once. 

It is the first time that Arsene Wenger has beaten Mourinho in 15 attempts.  It is only Arsenal’s 13 league win in 50 outings against United. This fault means Arsenal remain in sixth place, two points off United and five points off Man City, with a game in hand on both teams.

Mourinho made eight changes for this game and that was because he is concentrating on the second leg of the Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo. Next up for United is that game on Thursday, the 10 May. Hopefully they can comfortably get through to the final in Stockholm.

Huddersfield 0-3 Cardiff City


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Cardiff eased to victory over 10-man Huddersfield, who had already secured a place in the play-offs.

The Bluebirds took the lead in the 7th minute through Kenneth Zohore, who scored his 12th goal of a very good season for him. He slotted past Danny Ward, after Anthony Pilkington had played him through. Ward did keep out a shot from Aron Gunnarsson just after that though.

But then disaster struck. Ward came out to meet Zohore who was running through, he tried to tap it past the keeper, but then Ward stuck his arm out to block it. It was outside the box so Ward got sent off. He will miss the first leg of their play-off clash against Sheffield Wednesday.

City scored their second in the 29th minute through Joe Bennett. Joe Ralls passed the ball out to Zohore, who took a touch before squaring it for Bennett who smashed into the roof of the net past substiute keeper Joel Coleman. Huddersfield came close to scoring but, Collin Quaner’s close range shot was saved by Brian Murphy.

Junior Hoilett could’ve and should’ve extended the lead but he fired over when played through by Zohore. In the 71st minute, Zohore once again was involved in a goal, when he got the ball on the left took it past a defender, before squaring for Bennett to slot away his second.

It was a very good end to the season for the Bluebirds, who can look forward to next season and hopefully a promotion challenge. They end the season in 12th. They were 23rd when Neil Warnock took over in October. He’s done a fantastic job in turning their season around.