Thursday, April 25, 2024

Cardiff end winless home run with Championship victory over struggling Stoke

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024

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Cardiff ended their six-game winless run at home with a 2-1 Championship victory over relegation-threatened Stoke.

The Bluebirds started well and took the lead in the fifth minute as Kion Etete headed the ball beyond Daniel Iversen.

Karlan Grant doubled Cardiff’s lead after 32 minutes before Bae Jun-ho’s first goal for Stoke in the 41st minute gave the visitors hope in south Wales.

But the Potters were unable to find an equaliser after a strong second-half showing as they lost for the sixth time in seven outings to drop into the bottom three.

Erol Bulut’s hosts went into the contest having failed to score in any of their previous four home matches.

But the Bluebirds made a dream start as returning captain Joe Ralls’ corner was headed home by Etete via a flick by Jordan Thompson.

It was the striker’s sixth goal of the campaign, but his first since late September and it set the tone for what was a positive start from the hosts, who then saw Rubin Colwill fire a tame shot at Iversen.

Steven Schumacher’s side settled after a sloppy start though and came within a whisker of levelling from their first attack.

Million Manhoef split the Cardiff defence to put Niall Ennis through on goal, although the forward dragged his shot inches wide.

That slip-up aside, Cardiff looked solid at the back and following a brief flat period, they doubled their lead.

Colwill battled to retain possession on the deck before Ralls threaded the ball through to Grant, whose effort went across Iversen and into the net.

It was a far cry from Cardiff’s recent blunt home showings and the away supporters would have feared the worst when Iversen scrambled to keep out a Nat Phillips header.

But they were handed a lifeline just before half-time after Perry Ng fouled Bae on the edge of his own box.

Ethan Horvath could only push Lewis Baker’s drilled free-kick into the path of Bae, who tapped home from close range.

Ralls had a shot blocked in the dying moments of the first half which ensured the contest remained finely poised ahead of the second.

Lynden Gooch and Josh Laurent replaced Junior Tchamadeu and Luke Cundle for the second 45 and the Potters set out to find an equaliser.

Ennis prodded an effort straight at Horvath before the United States goalkeeper denied the frontman from an acute angle moments later.

Baker then headed wide from Thompson’s cross as Stoke piled on the pressure.

The home side barely laid a glove on their opponents in the second half, with Perry Ng lashing a free-kick into the Stoke wall and Yakou Meite heading wide.

Stoke continued to push for a late leveller, but they slumped to a third-successive away defeat, while victory was Cardiff’s first in five showings.

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