Bamford on target again as Leeds ease past Cardiff

13 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Leeds cured their away-day blues in the Sky Bet Championship with a polished 3-0 win at Cardiff.

Patrick Bamford and Daniel James scored first-half goals and Georginio Rutter added a late third with Leeds’ control over the 90 minutes almost absolute.

Leeds even had the luxury of missing a 79th-minute penalty as Crysencio Summerville, who had an off-day in front of goal, sent his effort against a post.

It was a welcome victory for Leeds – who remain fourth in the table – after costly league defeats at Sunderland, Preston and West Brom over the past month.

Cardiff entered the contest on the fringes of the play-off race and desperate to stay in the mix over the second half of the season.

But, just as against leaders Leicester in their last home game, the Bluebirds never looked like bridging the gap against opponents playing in the Premier League this time last year.

Cardiff have now won only one of their last six home games and appear in need of a strong January transfer window to revive their fortunes.

Ethan Ampadu swept over an early Summerville corner before the Wales midfielder, deployed at the back on familiar soil due to injuries, played a delightful ball into Bamford’s path.

Bamford took his time, perhaps too much, and fired wide from an angle.

Leeds did not have to wait long to break the deadlock as Summerville found space down the left after 13 minutes.

The Dutchman’s cross did not find its intended target but the ball bobbled back towards Bamford, who prodded home while on the floor for his third goal in as many games.

Leeds had chances to double that advantage as, much to their manager Daniel Farke’s annoyance, Cardiff goalkeeper Jak Alnwick denied Summerville and Bamford.

Cardiff briefly stirred as Kion Etete failed to chip the ball over the head of Illan Meslier with the Leeds goalkeeper out of his penalty area.

Karlan Grant’s drive from distance also lacked composure, but home hopes of some sort of recovery was soon snuffed out.

Glen Kamara dispossessed Manolis Siopis after 31 minutes and drove forward towards the Cardiff box.

Kamara slipped in Summerville and his deflected shot fell to James, who had the easy task of tapping home into an empty net.

Alnwick made another smart from Rutter and Cardiff’s growing frustration was reflected by Perry Ng’s boking for a wild challenge on Summerville.

It was more of the same at the start of the second period as Summerville twice drove wide and James looped a shot onto the Cardiff crossbar.

Alnwick pushed Rutter’s chip over the top and Summerville missed from 12 yards after Mark McGuinness had bundled over Rutter.

But Leeds added a third two minutes from time from a rapid breakaway as Rutter hammered home.

The managers

Cardiff’s Erol Bulut:

“I am not in a good mood, this team can give much much more.

“We didn’t expect to lose a game like that. We know Leeds are a strong team but my players respect them too much.”

Leeds’ Daniel Farke:

“We have had some electrifying performances in the home games with many goals, but this was our most mature performance of the whole season.

“Cardiff is always a difficult place to go, to be in so control of the game from the first to the last second makes me pretty happy.

“We kept them totally quiet in their possession and we dominated the ball in a fantastic manner.

“We probably should have scored a few more, but the win was never in doubt and I was especially pleased with the control we had.

“Sometimes when you are so dominant in the first half with a 2-0 lead you are too comfortable and sit back a bit too much.

“But it’s important we stayed with the foot on the gas and pressed them high.

“Cardiff is by far the best side in terms of set-pieces in this league, so it’s important you keep their game from your goal.

“You have to press them high and make sure the ball is in their half and that you are really accurate in your possession.

“I like the mentality. I’ve criticised them in the last away games when we’ve had setbacks – penalties denied and red cards – and found it difficult to grind out a result.

“But we were really on it and showed resilience. It was nice to watch our football, it was pleasing on the eye.”

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