Aron Gunnarsson Card was given for a foul
Kenneth Zohore Card was given for celebrating in an unsporting manner
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Assist by Tom Cairney
Assist by Tom Cairney
Lucas Piazon Card was given for a foul
Player was substituted due to an injury
Player was substituted due to an injury
Fulham and Cardiff City shared the spoils in a high-octane fixture in the Welsh capital on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts started the quicker of the two sides but fell behind to a classic counter attack when Stefan Johansen ran half the length of the pitch before finishing clinically.
Kenneth Zohore restored parity not long after when he capitalised on a rare Johansen slip and finished beyond David Button, and he made it 2-1 in the early stages of the second half with a thumping effort.
But the Whites claimed a point through substitute Neeskens Kebano when he was able to poke home after being played in by Tom Cairney, who had also assisted our opener.
Three changes were made to the team that beat Bristol City a mere 40 miles down the road earlier in the week. Ryan Fredericks and Scott Malone replaced Denis Odoi and Ryan Sessegnon in the full-back positions, while Sone Aluko took the place of Kebano.
There was a scare with three minutes played when Junior Hoilett, who seemed to be well offside, broke through on goal before blazing over under pressure from Kevin McDonald.
Another heavy spell of pressure followed when Kadeem Harris fizzed a dangerous ball across the face of goal that needed booting behind by Malone. The subsequent corner was nodded on by Sean Morrison to his central defensive partner Sol Bamba, but his shot was kept out by Button.
In the ninth minute Zohore showed great strength to hold off Tim Ream before finding Craig Noone on the edge of the box, with his well struck shot smartly saved by Button at full stretch.
Shortly after, Fulham were indebted to Button once more. Zohore again caused problems, this time getting in down the left and squaring to Hoilett whose point-blank strike was brilliantly kept out by the reactions of the Whites goalkeeper.
The visitors did then threaten for the first time immediately after when Aluko smashed a cross to the far post which Johansen met with a neat half volley that required a fine reflex stop from Allan McGregor.
And in the 17th minute the Norwegian gave his side the lead, albeit against the run of play. When the Whites cleared a Cardiff free-kick, Cairney was able to release Johansen on the halfway line and he bore down on goal at pace before opening his body up and coolly finishing beyond McGregor.
A few minutes later Lucas Piazon took one for the team when he was shown the game’s first yellow card for tactically bringing down Harris in a wide position. Unfortunately the attacker hurt himself in the process and had to be replaced by Kebano, with it later confirmed that he had broken his jaw.
The equaliser for the Bluebirds came out of nothing 24 minutes in when Johansen’s miscontrol allowed Zohore to burst clean through, and he was just about able to squeeze his shot under Button.
The big striker threatened again shortly after when he connected firmly with a cross from the left, only to miss the target with his header.
Fulham went agonisingly close to restoring their lead on the half hour mark when McDonald’s header from a Johansen free-kick was cleared off the line by Jazz Richards, before McGregor beat away Floyd Ayité’s follow-up.
The game had really opened up now and two minutes later Zohore’s cute pass presented Hoilett with a shooting opportunity, but the angle was against him and Button was able to turn it behind. Morrison’s header was then comfortable for Button from the corner.
Another lack of an offside flag meant Zohore had a chance momentarily only to place his shot too close to Button, before Harris sent a low strike marginally wide as City kept the pressure on.
Some confusion in the Cardiff area saw the ball fall to Aluko five minutes before the break. He dropped a shoulder to take three defenders out of the game, but lost his footing as he went to connect and it fell tamely to McGregor.
Aron Gunnarsson then had his name taken for trying to rip the shirt off Aluko’s back 25 yards from goal. Johansen sent his free-kick into the wall, before lashing the rebound over.
Neat interplay between Johansen and Malone ended with the left-back bursting beyond a challenge and into the box, but he slammed his effort just wide of the far post.
Fulham were finishing the half on top and Ayité’s flick from a Malone cross gave Johansen a half chance 20 yards out, but couldn’t control his first time shot and sent it over.
Stoppage time saw another chance come our way when Cairney held the ball up before slipping in Fredericks, but his cross-shot evaded everyone and went out for a goal kick, before Cairney himself sent a bending shot over the bar.
Fulham fashioned the first opening of the second half six minutes after the restart when Kebano got beyond Bamba and fed Ayité, but the Togo international leant back and skied his snap-shot.
The hosts squandered a glorious chance in the 55th minute, with Zohore again at the heart of things. He broke into the area before beating Tomas Kalas and squaring a pass to Noone who smashed his strike a yard over.
Zohore did put the Bluebirds in front a minute later, though, easily shrugging off his marker before thundering a venomous shot beyond Button who was had no chance. He was then booked for taking his shirt off in celebration.
In the 64th minute Ayité had to be replaced by Cyriac after a nasty foul by Joe Ralls, for which the Cardiff man was fortunate to escape a yellow card.
Moments later Fulham found their equaliser when Kebano latched onto an exquisite Cairney pass before giving McGregor the eyes and poking the ball inside the post.
That understandably gave the lads a boost and Cyriac then showed Bamba a clean set of heels to create space for a shot which Malone wasn’t quite able to bundle in.
The home side were not without their threat, though, and Morrison should have done better when he glanced a free header from a corner wide.
As we entered the last 10 minutes Aluko thought he should have won a penalty when he was felled by Richards in the box, before Bamba made a crucial sliding tackle at the last moment to rob Johansen of the ball after he’d rolled his way into a dangerous position.
Aluko went desperately close to a stunning goal in the 83rd minute when he wrapped his left foot around the ball from 20 yards, but McGregor was able to tip it over.
It was all Fulham and so Cardiff tried to shore things up by replacing winger Noone with defender Declan John. The left-back almost had a telling impact in the final minute of normal time when he was picked out in the area, but thankfully he prodded his shot against the base of the post and behind.
In the fourth minute of time added on a dazzling Aluko run saw him skip beyond two blue shirts and switch the play to Johansen who drilled a powerful effort wide of the near post in what proved to be the final chance of an eventful afternoon.
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Date: Saturday 25 February 2017
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Scott Duncan
Line-up: McGregor; Connolly, Morrison, Sol Bamba, Jazz Richards; Noone (John 86'), Gunnarsson, Ralls, Harris; Hoilett, Zohore
Unused substitutes: Murphy, Joe Bennett, Halford, Whittingham, Pilkington, Harris
Manager: Neil Warnock
Line-up: Button; Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Malone; McDonald, Johansen; Sone Aluko, Cairney, Lucas Piazon (Kebano 25'); Floyd Ayité (Cyriac 65')
Unused substitutes: Bettinelli, Odoi, Madl, Ryan Sessegnon, Adeniran
Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic
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