Football Features

Cardiff City 2-0 Leeds Utd: Bluebirds boost promotion hopes by beating one of their favourite opponents

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:23, 21 June 2020

Cardiff City inflicted a 2-0 defeat on promotion-chasers Leeds United in the Championship this afternoon.

Neil Harris’ men went into the game as underdogs but produced one of their best results this season with a goal in each half from Junior Hoilett and Robert-Nesta Glatzel.

Leeds, meanwhile, were chasing a piece of history and with eight matches remaining they’ve squarened top spot to West Brom whilst sitting just seven points ahead of third-place Fulham.

As for the victors, they are back in the hunt for Premier League football next season, this win takes Cardiff to within one place of the play-off spots, level on points with Preston who occupy sixth.

As the dust beings to settle, here are five things we learned from this encounter.

1. Hoilett goes back-to-back

Today’s showdown at the Cardiff City Stadium was the 60th meeting between these sides, ten of which have come in England’s top division. Today also happened to be their first in the Welsh capital since December 2017, when Neil Warnock’s men ran out 3-1 winners.

A number of survivors on both sides from that meeting featured this afternoon, including Canadian winger Junior Hoilett, who put his side in front with a sweet long-range effort, the 30-year-old was also on song in the aforementioned victory. His strike back then doubled the Bluebirds lead, too.

2. History passes Leeds by

Just when it seemed Leeds were going to squander another promotion opportunity, they rediscovered their mojo under Bielsa, going on a five-match winning streak before the Championship was temporarily halted. It propelled them into a commanding position as well as putting this current incarnation on the cusp of making history. Never before have Leeds won six straight league games without conceding.

Few were betting against them, given form and where the respective teams lie (a 17-point gap separated them heading into matchday 38). The three-month break always threatened to play a significant role, as we’ve already seen, though at first it didn’t seem too much of a factor as Leeds picked up from where they left off and controlled proceedings, regularly finding themselves in the final third.

However one moment of lapsed concentration ultimately saw this potential milestone evaporate.

3. Three valuable points

To say Cardiff City have been draw specialists this season would be an understatement. No team heading into this weekend had more statemates at home (8) and overall (15) than Harris’ team.

Since their win over Barnsley last December, they could only muster one win at home (against high-flying West Brom) drawing six of the other seven outings, which included a 0-1 win for Nottingham Forest.

So this was an unexpected, but much-needed, result for the side pushing for a return to Premier League football via the play-offs.

4. Bamford’s bad day

Patrick Bamford was cruising midway through this campaign. The former Chelsea man at one point registered six goals across eight league games, putting him in the hunt for the Golden Boot. After scoring Leeds’ consolation effort in their 2-1 defeat at Fulham, he’d find the net on three more occasions across 13 games, including last time out against Huddersfield.

His confidence no doubt renewed, Bamford as much as anyone could have done without the enforced break. It came nevertheless and he seems to have regressed. He’d enjoy just one shot on goal and it didn’t hit the target, but more damaging was his role in Leeds’ would-be equaliser, when Bamford inadvertently found himself in an offside position, on Cardiff’s goal line, and subsequently blocked Jack Harrison’s shot.

5. Peacocks kryptonite

Form is one thing, but history is another beast altogether. Leeds defender Luke Ayling said as much before the game when he described visiting Cardiff as a hard place to go. He should know. Recent games between these sides have often been a one-sided affair; this win is Cardiff’s fourth across their last five meetings with Leeds; the other was an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Even if their performance wasn’t outstanding, Leeds doubled Cardiff’s attempted shots on goal and were still capable of pulling three points from the hat. It could very well be psychological. Certain teams just struggle against certain opponents, regardless of differing levels of quality. It’s what makes the beautiful game that more unpredictable and fun.

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