Bobby Reid scored a brace on his 26th birthday to help Cardiff City end their four-game winless Premier League streak with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth as the club paid tribute to missing striker Emiliano Sala.
It was Cardiff’s first win of 2019 and one they thoroughly deserved after successfully shackling a Bournemouth side who put four past Chelsea in their previous outing.
Reid converted a fifth-minute penalty and was a constant menace to Bournemouth’s defenders, who failed to contain him when he doubled the Bluebirds’ lead just seconds into the second half.
The result was not enough to lift Cardiff out of the relegation zone – they are two points behind 17th-placed Burnley – but on an emotional night they pulled together and delivered a result and a performance that the whole club sorely needed. Sala became Cardiff’s record signing last month when he moved from Nantes, but while crossing the English Channel his plane subsequently disappeared.
Steve Cook handled a high ball in the penalty area to divert it away from Oumar Niasse after just five minutes and Reid sent the ensuing spot-kick straight down the middle to beat Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth grew into the game with Josh King and Andrew Surman pulling the strings and Ryan Fraser curled a shot around the post from 18 yards with Cardiff’s defenders backing away from him.
Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge made a superb save to turn Surman’s dipping 20-yard shot onto the crossbar and at the other end Adam Smith defended Josh Murphy’s cross superbly, sweeping the ball away from Callum Paterson when the winger would surely have scored at close range.
The second half was just 13 seconds old when Aron Gunnarsson’s long ball forward split the Bournemouth defence and Reid took a touch to guide it past Boruc before tucking it into the empty net.
Bournemouth pressed throughout the second half without giving Etheridge any real scares and Eddie Howe’s men certainly missed the creativity of David Brooks as they suffered a second defeat in four games.
2 – Bobby Reid is the first player to score a brace on his birthday in the Premier League since Christian Benteke vs Southampton in December 2016. Cake. #CARBOU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 2, 2019
What does it mean? Cherries picked off
Bournemouth were hopeful of claiming a third successive league win when they arrived in Cardiff, but the Bluebirds instead moved to within two points of safety.
Reid runs the show
Cardiff had hoped Sala would be the man to turn their season around and Reid rose to the occasion on a night when his absence was on peoples’ minds, scoring twice and providing the hosts with a constant attacking outlet.
Cook caught out
Bournemouth were still very much in the game at the start of the second half, but after Reid cruised past Cook with ease to score Cardiff’s second, the Cherries were left with a mountain to climb.
Cardiff head to Southampton for a clash that could have a significant bearing on this season’s Premier League relegation battle, while Bournemouth face a daunting trip to Anfield to face league leaders Liverpool.
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