Match ends, Cardiff City 0, Leicester City 2.
Cardiff City 0-2 Leicester City: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Justin strike as leaders triumph29 December 2023
James Justin's glorious long-range strike helped leaders Leicester City extend their unbeaten Championship run to nine games with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Cardiff City.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's sharp finish gave Leicester reward for their early dominance at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Though Cardiff competed for a spell after the opener, Leicester looked a cut above Erol Bulut's team and doubled their advantage after the break when Justin found the top corner from 25 yards.
Abdul Fatawu came close to matching Justin's effort late on, but his long-ranger crashed back off the post before Stephy Mavididi also hit the woodwork.
This was a seventh win in the last nine league outings for Leicester, who edge closer to an immediate Premier League return having looked too good for the second tier since being relegated from the top flight last season.
The Foxes' latest triumph means they are eight points ahead of second-placed Ipswich Town - and 11 clear of Southampton in the third - while Cardiff drop to 14th in the table having lost six of their last 10 games.
This was a second successive away trip for Leicester following their draw with Ipswich on 26 December.
Jannik Vestergaard's stoppage-time own goal had denied Enzo Maresca's team all three points at Portman Road, and they looked determined to make amends for that late disappointment from the outset in south Wales.
Cardiff struggled to get close to their opponents as they stroked the ball around in the opening stages, and the opening goal ought to have come when Abdul Fatawu's right-wing cross found Dewbsury-Hall unmarked and bearing down on goal.
Dewsbury-Hall made a firm connection with his header, but it flew too close to Jak Alnwick and he pawed the ball to safety.
Four minutes later, Leicester came again - and this time Alnwick could not save his team.
The goal came after home skipper Joe Ralls was dispossessed on the edge of his own box, with Fatawu applying the pressure initially before Dewsbury-Hall took the ball.
He finished with composure and quality, skipping beyond Dimitrios Goutas' sliding challenge before rifling a left-footed shot low into the net.
Cardiff improved as the first half wore on, with Ralls seeing a couple of efforts blocked before Kion Etete slashed wide from a difficult angle just before the break.
Any prospect of a Cardiff revival in the second half was all but wiped out thanks to Justin's brilliance.James Justin's goal was his second of the season
Fatawu was involved again, pulling the ball back to Justin, whose arcing, dipping effort sailed over Alnwick and high into the net.
Leicester might have scored a third when Wilfred Ndidi's goalbound shot was well blocked by the sliding Goutas, and then again when the lively Fatawu saw his curling 25-yard effort bounce back of the woodwork.
The rebound fell to Patson Daka, but he could only lift a first-time shot over the bar.
Still Leicester attacked, with Mavididi left holding head in hands when his low shot took a slight deflection off Perry Ng before hitting the base of the post.
Cardiff substitute Rubin Colwill had a late snapshot saved by Mads Hermansen, who otherwise had a quiet night in the Leicester goal.
Cardiff manager Erol Bulut:
"I can't compare us with Leicester. Their quality is different. They were relegated [last season], they want to get promoted immediately and they still have quality from the Premier League.
"Tonight I can say only positive things about my team. We did many positive things in the game, but the details change football.
"One example, they put pressure on us, we lose the ball and they score. Second half we had nearly the same situation when we won the ball, but the final pass wasn't good enough.
"We have to continue to work, but I think we are in a positive way. I said we want to be around the play-offs and we have a lot of games where we can push. Also I hope with a few transfers in January, we can push more."
Leicester manager Enzo Maresca:
"I am very happy for one reason, that in this moment with this amount of game, the effort from the players has been unbelievable.
"To play two games in a row away from home is very difficult, playing every three days.
"I think the club has to be happy. Me as a manager I am very happy and I am very proud. The fans need to be proud of these players - they are and showing the desire to win even in this period.
"To finish the year with more than 60 points. I don't think anybody expected this, me included. Now we need to continue, but for sure we are happy."
- 8RallsBooked at 47minsSubstituted forColwillat 60'minutes
- 14BowlerSubstituted forTannerat 60'minutes
- 9EteteSubstituted forRobinsonat 66'minutes
- 16GrantSubstituted forMéïtéat 40'minutes
- 25NdidiSubstituted forCasadeiat 69'minutes
- 20DakaSubstituted forCannonat 82'minutes
- 21Ricardo Pereira
- John Busby
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, Leicester City 2.
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67798412?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA