Sunderland’s equaliser sees Bluebirds respond well and gain a deserved victory
Cardiff City recorded their first victory in September as they returned to form at the Stadium of Light.
The Bluebirds ensured Sunderland remain without a win at home in 15 successive matches in a contest memorable for two penalty decisions.
On-loan midfielder Craig Bryson put Cardiff ahead before Lynden Gooch’s penalty made it 1-1 on 53 minutes.
However, Joe Ralls’ composed penalty after Lamine Kone’s infringement gave the Bluebirds all three points.
In the first Championship meeting at the Stadium of Light between the sides since October 2006, which Cardiff also won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Michael Chopra, Cardiff took advantage of a slow Sunderland start by stamping their authority.
Their opening goal was a picture of simplicity, a long ball from goalkeeper Neil Etheridge flicked-on by Kenneth Zohore to Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who freed Bryson to volley home with his side foot after only six minutes.
Aron Gunnarsson forced a smart save from Robbin Ruiter as Cardiff continued to press, but the visitors received a let-off just before the interval when Bryan Oviedo’s 30-yard effort struck the upright with Etheridge beaten.
Cardiff did not heed the warning, however, and Sunderland equalised within eight minutes of the restart, Gooch winning and converting a penalty after Sean Morrison clumsily hauled him down.
It was a blow to Cardiff as they had seemed in control, but Morrison was hauled over by Kone with 18 minutes remaining to give Neil Warnock’s side a reprieve.
Ralls made no mistake and Cardiff were comfortable in protecting their lead.
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock said:
“I thought we deserved it if I’m honest. We had a knockback when they scored the equaliser which was a silly goal to give away.
“But instead of going under we just got stronger and we really started playing again and it was just if we could get the goal.
“We had a great chance to win the game in the first half and their goalkeeper has made two great saves in the second half. I don’t know how he got down to one of them.”
Mendez Laing 6.5
Hoilett 6.5 (68 mins for Feeney)
Bogle 6.5 (85 mins for Zohore)
Bamba (90 mins for Gunnarsson)