Leicester City 0:1 Cardiff City
City have a big job to do in Cardiff on Wednesday having lost the home leg of the play-offs 1-0 at Filbert Way…
Nigel Pearson made five changes to his side with Weale, Berner, Waghorn, King and Dyer returning to the starting line-up, with Waghorn ploughing a lone furrow up front.
Cardiff edged the first half. City’s plan to thread the ball through to Waghorn never bore fruit and the visitors created more clear cut chances.
Boothroyd sent a shot narrowly wide; as did Chopra when well placed. Chopra then turned a Burke cross onto the post from close in with the goal at his mercy five minutes before half time.
But for a five minute attacking spell and a series of corners City had not looked like the home side in the first half.
The second half saw City pressing forward more and Spearing fired a shot well over from a good position, but Cardiff still looked dangerous and Boothroyd sent a header just over the bar.
Wellens fired a long range effort inches wide of the post and then there were loud appeals for a penalty when McNaughton appeared to handle a Solano cross.
Cardiff then struck the first blow of the tie in the 77th minute. A free-kick out on the right was delayed after Whittingham had tried to steal ten yards. The ref sent him back, but he inched forward again while City failed to set up a wall. Whittingham’s low shot beat Weale and put the Bluebirds ahead, to the delight of their 3,000 followers.
Only now did City take the game by the scruff of its neck and begin to play like the side that had won its last five matches.
Fryatt, on for Dyer, chased a through ball and after McNaughton and Kennedy got in each other’s way the City striker was presented with a gilt-edged chance for an equaliser. With only Marshall to beat Fryatt lamely shot straight at the
keeper and the chance was gone.
There was another big shout for hand ball before Gallagher failed to convert a chance that fell to him of the left, curling the ball wide of the far post.
As the game entered five minutes of time added on there was more agony for City as Bruce’s firm, goalbound header was somehow clawed away by the flying Marshall.
Despite this late rally, inspired by a 15 minute cameo from Kermorgant, the final whistle sparked jubilant scenes in the visitors corner, and despite some poor refereeing decisions it was difficult to argue that they hadn’t deserved it.
Nigel Pearson refuted suggestions that City had sat back: “I don’t think we were cagey and we have tried to play on the front foot for the whole of the tie. It was disappointing to concede and not to have grabbed an equaliser, but there is lots of football still in this and Cardiff will know that as well.”
Leicester: Weale, Berner, Bruce, Hobbs, King, Dyer (Fryatt 62), Solano, Wellens (N’Guessan 85), Spearing, Gallagher, Waghorn (Kermorgant 76). Subs Not Used: Logan, Oakley, Adams, Morrison.
Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Blake, Hudson, Kennedy, Burke ( Etuhu, 75 ) , Whittingham, Ledley, McPhail, Chopra ( McCormack 89), Bothroyd. Subs Not Used: Quinn, Enckelman, Gyepes, Wildig, Capaldi.
Referee: A G Wiley (Staffordshire). Attendance: 29,165.