Cardiff City grabbed their first ever Premier League win as a Frazier Campbell double inspired them to a 3-2 victory over title-chasing Manchester City at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Edin Dzeko fired the away side in front with a 52nd minute strike but Aron Gunnarsson scored Cardiff’s first ever Premier League goal to level the score.
Campbell took advantage of sloppy City defending to score two late goals and it was enough to seal the three points, despite Alvaro Negredo’s injury time consolation.
It was the newly-promoted side who had the better of the first half and could have been in front after six minutes. Joleon Lescott brought down Kim-Bo Kyung on the edge of the box and Cardiff’s set-piece specialist Peter Whittingham stepped up to curl a shot at goal, but the ball flashed just wide with Joe Hart desperately diving across his goal. Just after, the former Aston Villa youngster smashed a low shot at goal from 30 yards but it was straight at Hart and the England international made a comfortable save.
The closest that Manchester City came to scoring a first half goal came after 31 minutes. Jesus Navas played it back for Sergio Aguero and the Argentine swung in a lovely cross, but Dzeko’s free header was straight down David Marshall’s throat and the Scottish goalkeeper made a comfortable save. It was a good opportunity that was wasted by a poor header.
Cardiff best chance of the opening 45 minutes came right on the verge of half-time. Gary Medel nicked the ball of Fernandinho and played in Campbell, but the former Manchester United forward saw his shot smothered from close range by the onrushing Hart. Despite the first half lacking action, the second period kicked into gear as Manuel Pellegrini’s side took the lead through a wonder strike.
Navas was instrumental in the build-up as he delivered a great back-heel which flummoxed the Cardiff midfield and Dzeko had a pop from close to 35 yards. The Bosnian’s strike flashed past Marshall on its way into the top corner and it was a spectacular way for Dzeko to score his first goal for the 2011/12 Premier League champions.
Cardiff responded quickly and pulled level in the 60th minute. Kim Bo-Kyung did well to race away from Gael Clichy on the right wing and fizz in a low cross to the near post where Campbell had escaped from Pablo Zabaleta’s marking. Hart denied the explosive striker with a fantastic save but Gunnarsson was following up to wrap in Cardiff’s first top flight goal since 1962.
The atmosphere inside the stadium was at fever pitch and Cardiff used their home fans’ support to race into a two-goal lead. The first strike was caused by a glaring goalkeeping error that will ramp up the critics’ pressure on the England number one. Whittingham swung in a corner and Hart should have cut it out, but the former Shrewsbury Town man missed his punch and Campbell was flying in to power home his header. It was a big mistake and it proved costly for Pellegrini’s team.
It went from worse to disaster for the away side with three minutes to go. It was Don Cowie’s corner this time that caused the problem and Zabaleta failed to pick up Campbell, and the striker sent his header low into the net from ten yards. It was a special moment for the Cardiff fans and they thoroughly deserved their 3-1 lead.
Unfortunately for Malkay Mackay’s team, they couldn’t hold on to their two-goal advantage. Pellegrini brought on Negredo who was a summer signing from Sevilla and the Spanish forward planted a perfect header in the top corner in the 92nd minute to make the score closer than the game proved to be.
The result will be a bitterly disappointing one for Pellegrini, especially considering Manchester City scored the opening goal. For Malkay Mackay and the Cardiff City fans, it was a day they will never forget.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)