Bluebirds held after another sending off
Huddersfield Town captain Jonathan Hogg’s red card against Cardiff was a “game-changer”, said the Terriers’ manager David Wagner.
After enjoying the best of the possession and chances in the first hour, the Terriers were forced into a rearguard action to defend a point following Hogg’s sending-off for a clash with Harry Arter.
“The incident with the red card was soft but, to make it totally clear, Hoggy has to solve the situation better,” said Wagner.
“It was two aggressive players. One was much more clever than the other and unfortunately the clever one was not my player.”
After Hogg had been dismissed for thrusting his forehead toward Arter, his team came under heavy pressure.
Bluebirds captain Sean Morrison headed into the hoardings from six yards before substitute Bobby Reid’s glancing effort drifted narrowly wide as the breakthrough refused to arrive for the visitors.
Laurent Depoitre could have stolen all three points at the end for Huddersfield, however, with Sol Bamba doing just enough to deny the Belgian a clear sight of goal at the end of a swift counter-attack.
Both sets of players slumped to the turf at the final whistle, exhausted and frustrated at failing to take three points against opposition who may well be rivals in the fight against relegation come May.
Huddersfield had 72% possession before Hogg’s sending-off and just 30% in the wake of his red card.
It was the pivotal point in the game, with the midfielder needlessly putting himself at the mercy of referee Michael Oliver’s discretion.
The Terriers’ captain’s tussle with Arter at a corner seemed initially innocuous, with Cardiff’s on-loan Bournemouth midfielder appealing half-heartedly for a penalty as they jostled for position.
But Hogg reacted angrily as Arter regained his feet after the corner had been cleared and, as the pair exchanged words, pushed him back to the floor with a combination of a headbutt and a shove.
After picking up nine yellow cards and a red last season, it was an early and almost costly blemish on his record for this season.
It may be a lack of attacking quality that limits both sides this season.
Cardiff had failed to hit the target despite taking 23 shots in their opening two Premier League games. Huddersfield, meanwhile, had scored only once in their previous seven matches at the John Smith’s Stadium despite a total of 98 efforts.
For most of the match, with the two sides both still with 11 players, that trend continued.
The willing Steve Mounie brought a good save out of Neil Etheridge with a header but, as the hosts’ lone striker, he was often short of support and supply.
Kenneth Zohore was a less obvious presence in the Cardiff attack before he was replaced by Danny Ward.
Josh Murphy – signed from Norwich for about £11m in the summer – had some bright moments for the visitors, but the wait for his side’s first goal back in the top flight continues.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner: “I think, the first hour, we controlled the game. There was one team who wanted to do something in the offence and create opportunities and this was my team. We have known that in the last 10-15 minutes if we keep the tempo high, we will get the space, but unfortunately this was not the case because we went one man down.
“In the end this was a good point for us, the lads fought.”
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock: “We have got to take chances. Even before they went down to 10 men I thought we started the second half better, we should have scored and should have won the game.
“If you’d have said a point away from home before the game you’d take it but I’m disappointed not to get all three.
“Overall I thought the lads did all right. The longer the game went on, the better we became.”