Cardiff City 1-0 Middlesbrough

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Sean Morrison scored the only goal of the game to give Cardiff the victory over Middlesbrough, as City climbed to second place in the championship.

Most of the first half lacked any quality. Junior Hoilett had an effort saved by Darren Randolph for City and Adama Traore forced Neil Etheridge into a save for Boro.

It was always going to be a physical battle between two teams managed by Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis. As the game wasn’t fluent, it was predictable that the deadlock was broken from a set-piece.

In the 33rd minute, Morrison headed in a Hoilett free-kick to put City in front. That was the only exciting action of the first half.

Cardiff were the better team for most of the second half. But, Middlesbrough did come close through Stewart Downing, who fired narrowly wide from a counter-attack.

Hoilett had a close-range effort saved following a Callum Paterson long throw-in. Substitute Loïc Damour had a volley saved from outside the box, as Cardiff didn’t really look like losing the lead, only adding to it.

This was a very important win for City, especially as Aston Villa lost to Fulham. We are now second, two points above third-placed Villa and 11 points above seventh-placed Preston. We are six Championship games unbeaten. Middlesbrough remain ninth, four points outside the play-offs.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Ipswich next Wednesday the 21 February. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

On the day an earthquake struck south Wales, Cardiff City Stadium was an epicentre of inactivity until Sean Morrison headed the hosts in front.

Cardiff are now two points clear of third-placed Aston Villa, who lost at Fulham.

A sixth Championship match without defeat for the Bluebirds also means they are now 11 points clear of Preston in seventh outside the play-offs.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, remain ninth, four points adrift of the top six.

A meeting between teams managed by Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis was always likely to produce a rugged, physical encounter, and so it proved.

Predictably, it was a set-piece which led to the goal.

Hoilett whipped in a deep, in-swinging free-kick towards the back post, where Morrison rose above Ben Gibson to glance in his second headed goal in a week.

Cardiff had beaten Bolton here four days earlier with two goals from set-pieces and this was another functional, professional display.

They had to withstand pressure late on as Boro launched a series of long balls into their penalty area, but Pulis’ side were unable to fashion any genuine scoring opportunities against Cardiff’s resolute defence.

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Millwall 1-1 Cardiff City

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Cardiff missed the chance to move level with second-placed Derby as Sol Bamba was a denied a clear goal in a close-fought game.

Cardiff started strongly and opened the scoring in the third minute through Junior Hoilett. After dispossessing Mahlon Romeo, Hoilett carried the ball before drilling the ball into the back of the net.

But, after that Millwall rallied and came close through Steve Morison, who volleyed against the bar. They did score in the 40th minute through Lee Gregory. After a Millwall goal-kick, the ball came to Jed Wallace, who crossed for Gregory, who smashed the ball in.

During the second half, Neil Etheridge had to make a few saves to deny Millwall. Ben Marshall had an effort from outside the box which Etheridge had to get down to push away.

Wallace also had an effort which Etheridge had to push away before grabbing the rebound. Millwall probably edged the second half on a whole.

But, then in the final 10 minutes was the controversy. Joe Bennett was caught late on the edge of the box, with the referee playing advantage while the ball went into the box, but blew for the free-kick just as Sol Bamba was about to shoot. It was a shocking decision which cost us the victory.

There was more controversy with a penalty appeal for a handball by Shaun Hutchinson. Paterson fired the ball, with the ball striking Hutchinson’s arm, but the referee didn’t give it.

In stoppage time, Callum Paterson ran past the Millwall defenders through on goal, but he put his effort wide with pressure from a defender.

Before the game I would’ve taken a point as a lot of big teams have dropped points at the Den. But, after the disallowed goal and the penalty not given, its quite frustrating we didn’t win, especially as Derby and Bristol City drew.

Cardiff remain fourth, four points off second-placed Aston Villa and three points off third-placed Derby but, we have a game in hand on both teams.

Next up for the Bluebirds is Bolton at home next Tuesday, the 13 February. Hopefully, we can get back to winning ways.

Millwall battled to a point on the night veteran Tim Cahill made his second Lions debut.

Australia international Cahill came off the bench in second-half stoppage time, but the veteran forward was unable to make an impact in his first appearance for Millwall since the 2004 FA Cup final.

Leeds United 1-4 Cardiff City

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Cardiff maintained their challenge for promotion with a comfortable victory over 10-man Leeds.

Cardiff started on the front foot and took the lead in the 9th minute through Callum Paterson. After Leeds failed to clear, debutant Armand Traore recycled the ball and crossed in to Paterson who headed in.

Yanic Wildschut then headed just over as Cardiff were all over Leeds. But, soon after that, Leeds should’ve scored as Pierre-Michel Lasogga headed against the bar from point-blank range and Ezgjan Alioski was denied from the rebound by a. Superb reaction save by Neil Etheridge.

In the 41st minute, Junior Hoilett doubled the lead. From a City counter-attack, Paterson ran through, with his scuffed shot ending up being a perfect pass for Hoilett to tap in.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half it went from bad to worse for Leeds as Gaetano Berardi was sent off as he was given a second yellow card for a foul on debutant Gary Madine.

From the resulting free-kick, Sean Morrison headed in Hoilett’s cross to put City three goals up and in full control of the game.

Cardiff were so comfortable at half-time that they became complacent in the second half. Sol Bamba poked into his own net to give Leeds some hope.

But, Leeds could not find a way back and in the 87th minute, Leeds gave the ball way to Hoilett who passed to Paterson who crossed into Anthony Pilkington who tapped home to finish it off.

In the end it was a comfortable result with the game all but won at half-time. Things are looking positive for City, with more players added to the squad in January. Four of those players started against Leeds.

City remain fourth but have a game in hand on all the teams above them. We are three points off second-placed Derby and two points off third-placed Aston Villa. Leeds drop to 10th and are now seven points off the play-offs.

Next up for City is a trip to Millwall next Friday, the 9 February. Hopefully we can continue our winning form and our push for promotion.

Manchester United 2-0 Huddersfield

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Man United comfortably beat Huddersfield, as Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for the club.

Jose Mourinho made some big changes to the team for this game. Paul Pogba was replaced by Scott McTominay and dropped to the bench for the first time since he returned to United in August 2016. Phil Jones, who scored an own goal at Spurs on Wednesday, wasn’t even in the match day squad. Anthony Martial was also dropped to the bench.

It was an uneventful first half, as United failed to break down Huddersfield. Jesse Lingard had an effort early on which was saved by Jonas Lössl.

After 20 minutes, United should’ve had a penalty when Scott McTominay was flattered in the box by Terence Kongolo. McTominay had to have treatment but he was able to continue.

Sanchez had a long-range effort saved by Lössl as United were restricted to half chances during the first half. Despite enjoying more than 76% possession, the home side lacked fluidity and creativity in the first half.

It was more eventful in the second half, and in the 55th minute United took the lead through Romelu Lukaku as he volleyed a Juan Mata cross into the back of the net for his 19th goal this season.

In the 67th minute, United were awarded a penalty as Sanchez was fouled in the box. Sanchez stepped up to take it, with his low shot being saved but, he tapped in the rebound to score his first goal for the club after his transfer from Arsenal in January.

In the end it was a comfortable victory on an emotional day with the Munich air disaster being remembered 60 years since it happened. There was a minute silence before the game.

Players wore black armbands, while fans also received a commemorative book and pin. Before the game, supporters were invited to pay their respects under the Munich plaque at the south-east corner of Old Trafford.

On the actual day of the anniversary on Tuesday, there will be a service inside the stadium, with a minute’s silence at 15:04 GMT, which is the precise time of the crash.

United remain second in the league, with the gap to leaders Man City narrowed down to 13 points, as they drew 1-1 at Burnley in the early kick-off.

Next up for United is a trip to Newcastle next Sunday, the 11 February.

Cardiff City 0-2 Manchester City

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Cardiff failed to cause a shock by beating Premier League leaders Manchester City, as Man City comfortably won to progress into the FA Cup fifth round.

There was a record attendance of 32,339 watching at the Cardiff City Stadium but, the excitement that there was before the game was muted eight minutes in through Kevin De Bruyne. After Bernardo Silva had a shot saved and then Ilkay Gündogan was fouled, De Bruyne stepped up and fired under a jumping Cardiff wall.

Junior Hoilett was inches away from levelling the game as his long-range volley was spilt by Claudio Bravo, but he managed to get back before the ball did go over the line.

In the 25th minute, Bernardo Silva thought he had doubled the lead with a thunderous effort but, the assistant referee disallowed it as he thought that Leroy Sané was interfering from an offside position. He was interfering but it was hard to see whether he was offside or not. VAR probably would’ve sorted the decision.

In the 37th minute, Man City did double their lead. It was Raheem Sterling who scored it after a wonderful cross from Bernardo Silva found him and he headed in. There was some static defending by the Cardiff defence, which gave Sterling so much space.

Right at the end of the half, Leroy Sane was on the end of a challenge by Joe Bennett which injured him badly. There was no intention from Bennett of injuring Sane, he was just trying to stop him from getting into the box to create an opportunity to score. But, it was a poor studs-up challenge which means that Sane could be out for a month.

The second half was pretty comfortable for Man City, but Cardiff did have a couple of efforts. Hoilett had a brilliant effort which skimmed the top of the goal and Kenneth Zohore fired high and wide with a decent chance.

Man City also had more chances, with Sterling only being stopped from scoring by a well-timed tackle from Sean Morrison. Silva also had a good chance but, he didn’t place it right and Neil Etheridge was able to save.

Etheridge had to make another save, this time to deny Danilo. Cardiff ended the game with 10 men after a silly foul by Bennett got him a second yellow card and he is now suspended for the game against Leeds next Saturday.

This was a fixture which produced a memorable upset in 1994, as Nathan Blake’s spectacular curling effort gave Cardiff, who were then struggling in the third tier, a 1-0 win at Ninian Park. But, there was never really the prospect of a repeat of that upset as Man City eased to victory, despite Cardiff’s best efforts. Cardiff couldn’t deal with the quick movement and passing of Man City.

Cardiff’s attentions will turn back to the Championship, with a big game away at Leeds next Saturday, the 3 February. Hopefully we can keep our promotion push up.

Yeovil 0-4 Manchester United

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Alexis Sanchez impressed on his debut as Man United comfortably beat League Two Yeovil 4-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Early on, Jordan Green had an effort saved Yeovil by Sergio Romero with what was a good chance. Yeovil had another good chance through Omar Sownmi who had a header saved.

Scott McTominay had a very good chance for United, with his shot being well saved by Yeovil goalkeeper Artur Krysiak. Tom James had a decent effort from a free-kick which was unconvincingly saved by Romero.

In the 41st minute United took the lead through Marcus Rashford. Sanchez passed it to Rashford but, Yeovil got the ball off him, before some indecision at the back led to Rashford getting in front of the Yeovil defence to score. All Yeovil’s hard work in the first half had been undone.

In the 61st minute, Ander Herrera doubled the lead. From a Yeovil corner, United counter-attacked with Juan Mata passing the ball to Sanchez, who carried the ball before playing it through to Herrera who slotted in with his left foot to celebrate his 150th appearance for the club in style.

Substitutes Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku finished the scoring off. Lingard finished well from outside the box, while Lukaku volleyed in to an empty net.

Sanchez showed some very positive signs of what could be to come, as he set up two goals and was constantly looking to do something with the ball. He gave away the all repeatedly in the first half, but that shows he was trying to something which is something we need.

17 year old Angel Gomes came on late on and nearly scored as soon as he came on, as he fired into the side-netting after beating his man. He looks like an extremely talented player for the future.

This victory came on manager Jose Mourinho’s 55th birthday on his 100th game in charge of the club. He’s won 62 of those games.

United haven’t failed to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup since 2014 and this competition is probably United’s best chance of a trophy this season. Mourinho made some 10 changes to his starting 11 but it was still a strong side.

Next up for United is a trip to Tottenham next Tuesday, the 30 January. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Cardiff City

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Cardiff missed the chance to draw level on points with second-placed as we were held to a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Cardiff started brightly and could’ve gone ahead with a couple of decent chances. Kenneth Zohore should’ve had a goal but, the referee gave a foul against him for barging Jordan Thorniley to the floor, even though he was using his strength. It was a wonderful finish after though.

Yanic Wildschut, on his first start for City had an effort saved after being set up by Junior Hoilett. There were some efforts on goal during the first half between two teams, but not many chances.

Marko Grujic, on his debut for Cardiff after moving on loan from Liverpool, had a long-range effort, which had to be saved.

Jordan Rhodes had a couple of good chances in the first half. The first was a header from a free-kick which he should’ve done better with. The second was an even better chance. After being put through by Lucas Joao, his shot was saved by Neil Etheridge. From the rebound, Adam Reach put the ball over the bar.

Joao missed a couple of really good chances in the second half. The first, he fired narrowly wife after being put through by Rhodes. The second, he headed straight at Etheridge.

Wildschut came very close to putting City in front with an excellent effort on the turn, which went narrowly wide. Overall, the game lacked quality which lead to a goalless draw.

City now have one win in six Championship games, while Sheffield Wednesday have won just once in 12 league games.

City remain in third place, two points off second-placed Derby and 11 points off leaders Wolves. Sheffield Wednesday are 17th, seven points above the relegation zone.

Next up for the Bluebirds are Premier League leaders Manchester City in the FA Cup next Sunday, the 28 January. Next up in the league is a trip to Leeds on Saturday, the 3 February.

The result left Cardiff with one win in six Championship games, while the Owls have won just once in 12 league games.

The draw was Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay’s second in two league games since his appointment on 5 January, keeping him unbeaten as the Owls manager.

But his side look increasingly unlikely to repeat the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons’ play-off bids as they are 14 points and 11 places below the top six with 18 matches remaining.

A point did keep the hosts seven points above the relegation places, while third-placed Cardiff’s subdued form continued, as they failed to score for the fourth time in all competitions since 23 December.

Burnley 0-1 Manchester United

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Anthony Martial gave Man United the victory over Burley at Turf Moor with a well-taken goal but remain 12 points behind leaders Man City.

United only had two efforts on target all game. Paul Pogba had an effort early on which he flicked over. Jeff Hendricks had a shot for Burnley which went wide.

Ashley Young, who was returning from suspension, came very close to scoring, as he fired narrowly wide from an angle. At the end of the half, Martial came close with an effort from the edge of the box.

In the 54th minute, Martial scored the only goal of the game to give United the lead. Romelu Lukaku won the loose ball before sweeping it across to Martial, who finished off the underside of the bar.

A couple of minutes after the goal Burnley nearly equalised through a Johann Berg Gudmundsson free-kick which hit the bar.

Jesse Lingard had an effort blocked as United tried to put the game to bed. But in the end the one goal was enough. It wasn’t exciting, but it was effective.

United remain in second place, 12 points off leaders Man City and two points clear of third-placed Chelsea. The only real hope for United’s winning the league is that 20 years ago, United under Sir Alex Ferguson were 12 points off Newcastle after 23 games and still ended up winning the league.

With Alexis Sanchez on his way in things are looking positive for United, but the only real question is who would he replace in the team. It will probably be between Lingard and Juan Mata.

Next up for United is a trip to Yeovil in the FA Cup next Friday, the 26 January. Next up in the league is a trip to Spurs on Wednesday, the 31 January. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City

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15 December 2018

Paul Pogba was exceptional as Man United comfortably beat Stoke City, who had new boss Paul Lambert watching in the stands.

It was mostly comfortable for United, but Stoke did threaten a few times. United could’ve had a penalty early on when Anthony Martial fell in the penalty area but, the referee didn’t give it.

In the 9th minute, Antonio Valencia gave United the lead with a wonderful strike. After picking up the ball from Pogba, he cut inside onto his left foot, before curling the ball into the top left corner.

Cher dan Shaqiri tried a fantastic overhead kick which David de Gea comfortably saved. Stephen Ireland, who was starting his first game since April 2015, had two similar chances to score, but he fired both wide. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had a close range effort blocked by Phil Jones.

But, in the 38th minute, Anthony Martial doubled United’s lead with another brilliant goal. From another Pogba assist, as he found Martial with a neat pass, Martial curled a superb finish past Jack Butland from 20 yards.

Just before half-time Shaqiri had a really good chance to half the deficit but, de Gea got down to push away his low effort after finding space for a shot.

Juan Mata came close to extending the lead during the second half, as he fired narrowly wide after being set up by Jesse Lingard.

In the 72nd minute, Romelu Lukaku added a third. Lukaku had worked really hard during the game and his hold up play had been excellent, so he deserved a goal. He managed to make some space past two Stoke defenders in the box, before firing low and hard past Butland.

Butland had to prevent substitute Marcus Rashford from adding a third, before de Gea had to deny Mame Biram Diouf, who fired the rebound wide, to preserve his clean sheet.

As it looks like Alexis Sanchez could be heading to United, things are looking positive. Where Sanchez would fit in is a big question. All the attacking players worked well together in this game, so it would be interesting to see which player Sanchez would replace.

United remain in second place, but the gap to City has been cut to 12 points after they lost their unbeaten league record against Liverpool. Stoke remain in the relegation zone, a point adrift of fourth-bottom Southampton.

Next up for United is a tough away trip to Burnley next Saturday, the 20 January. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.

Cardiff City 4-0 Sunderland

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13 December 2017

Cardiff City ended a four-match Championship losing run with a comfortable win over 10-man Sunderland.

There wasn’t much action in the first half, with few chances in an even half. Joe Ralls had an effort from the edge of the box brilliantly saved by Robbin Ruiter and Hoilett curled a free-kick narrowly wide.

But, the first 10 minutes of he second half was full of action. In the first minute of the second half, Ralls’ corner found Callum Paterson who headed in via the underside of the crossbar.

It went from bad to worse for Sunderland, who had Didier Ndong sent off in the 49th minute for a challenge on Junior Hoilett. There wasn’t much hope for Sunderland as they were a goal down and a man down.

City went two goals up in the 55th minute through Ralls. From a Sunderland free-kick, Cardiff cleared the ball. The ball got to Kenneth Zohore, who shrugged off Jake Clarke-Salter, before squaring to Ralls, who emphatically swept the ball past Ruiter with a first-time finish.

Paterson added a third in the 80th minute as he slotted in with his weaker foot after Zohore’s free-kick had deflected into his path. And at the end of stoppage time, new loan signing Yanic Wildschut, who came on as a substitute, squared the ball for Anthony Pilkington to tap in from close range. This was City’s biggest winning margin since the 3-0 win over Aston Villa back in August.

Defeat made it a disappointing return for Chris Coleman to a stadium where he had managed Wales and had seen some great moments. But, the Cardiff fans saw the other side of him, which is that he is from Swansea, so they jeered him.

City were briefly in second after this game but, went back down to third after Derby’s win at Birmingham. Meanwhile, Sunderland remain bottom of the table, with a lot of work for Coleman to do.

Next up for City is the FA Cup replay at Mansfield next Tuesday, the 16 January, with a home tie against Manchester City at stake. Next up in the league is a trip to Sheffield Wednesday next Saturday, the 20 January. Hopefully we can continue our winning form and keep up our push for promotion.