Leeds United end long wait for win in Cardiff

Goals in each half from strikers Souleymane Doukara and Mirco Antenucci and a string of saves by Marco Silvestri gave Leeds United a surprise 2-0 victory on a night of firsts at Cardiff City.

The Whites had not won a game in the Welsh capital for 32 years and had never previously won at the Cardiff City Stadium, but they put all that behind them to back up the hard fought victory at home to Bolton last Saturday.

For Cardiff it was their first home loss since September and it was a big blow to their hopes of reaching the play-offs.

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United head coach Steve Evans made four changes from the previous match, with Gaetano Berardi and Sol Bamba starting in the back four in the injury absence of Lewie Coyle and Liam Cooper and Luke Murphy and Alex Mowatt recalled in midfield in place of Toumani Diagouraga and Mustapha Carayol.

Leeds had their first half-chance with the back to form Antenucci curling a shot over. Captain Sol Bamba then sent the ball over the bar when well placed to meet Giuseppe Bellusci’s flick on from Mowatt’s free-kick.

Cardiff showed their attacking intent as Anthony Pilkington and Stuart O’Keefe went close and United keeper Silvestri was called upon to make his first save to keep out Peter Whittingham’s free-kick.

Silvestri saved his side again soon after with a flying stop to deny Tom Lawrence.

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But it was Leeds who came up with the opening goal from the resulting corner when they broke out to devastating effect.

Antenucci collected the ball just inside the home half and raced towards goal before setting up Doukara who beat keeper David Marshall with a low finish that took a slight deflection on its way into the net.

Cardiff looked to hit back, but Pilkington was denied by Silvestri and the Whites led at the interval.

Leeds should have doubled their advantage early in the second half when Antenucci appeared to have the goal at his mercy, but he under-hit his shot and Bruno Ecuele Manga got back to clear off his line.

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Marshall was then forced to save a Liam Bridcutt shot and dropped on the ball as Antenucci threatened from the rebound.

At the other end, Silvestri saved from Lex Immers with the action hotting up.

Cardiff went down to 10 men when full-back Fabio Da Silva, having already been booked, was red carded for a cynical foul on Charlie Taylor.

But despite their man disadvantage, it was the hosts who made the running for the remainder of the match.

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Silvestri had to save from Pilkington, substitute Craig Noone and Joe Ralls and Immers hit the woodwork as Leeds found themselves forced back and were struggling to see the game out.

Diagouraga and Stuart Dallas were brought on to add energy to United’s cause, but still it was Silvestri in the thick of the action as he superbly kept out Noone’s curling free-kick.

When he was finally beaten the woodwork came to Leeds’ rescue as Kenneth Zohore got on the end of a dangerous low cross only to hit the crossbar.

The board showing an incredible six minutes of injury-time was met with groans by the travelling supporters, but this turned to cheers when four minutes in their side made it 2-0.

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Antenucci made it three goals from two games and eight for the season when he came up with a calm finish after racing clear.

Match facts

Cardiff City 0

(Doukara 37, Antenucci 90+4)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 15,273

Cardiff: Marshall, Fabio, Manga, Connolly, Malone, Ralls, O’Keefe (Zohore 82), Whittingham (Noone 63), Lawrence (Ameobi 76), Immers, Pilkington.

Leeds: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Bellusci, Taylor, Bridcutt (Diagouraga 71), Murphy, Mowatt (Dallas 76), Cook, Doukara (Erwin 86), Antenucci.

Referee: Darren Deadman.