Cardiff City 2-0 Leeds United: Leeds miss chance to go top of table – BBC Sport

Junior Hoilett’s goal against Leeds was his fifth of the Championship campaign

Cardiff City gave their promotion hopes a huge boost by beating Championship title hopefuls Leeds United 2-0 in a frenetic contest in the Welsh capital.

Junior Hoilett’s superb first-half goal after Kalvin Phillips lost the ball put Cardiff ahead before sub Robert Glatzel smashed home a second on 71 minutes.

Leeds were always in the contest and would have at least scored but for some excellent saves from Alex Smithies.

Leeds remain second in the Championship and Cardiff rise to seventh.

The Bluebirds are now level on points with sixth-placed Preston, who they visit next on Saturday, 27 June, while Leeds remain level with leaders West Bromwich Albion, seven points ahead of third-placed Fulham.

The contest between these two promotion-chasers began at a frenetic pace; far in excess of the tempo we have seen in most of the Premier League matches since football resumed after the coronavirus pandemic halted the campaign.

Indeed, but for the swathes of empty seats at the empty Cardiff City Stadium, you would never have known these teams had not played competitively for over three months as the visitors in particular started assuredly.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side had the better of the early running without making any clear-cut chances, though Leeds did appeal for a penalty when they felt Joe Bennett had impeded Helder Costa.

Defender Ben White headed over before Leeds’ big chance duly arrived on 32 minutes, but Will Vaulks did brilliantly to make a covering run and clear the ball off the line.

Peter Whittingham died in March after a fall. The midfielder established himself as a club legend with 459 appearances and 98 goals

That let-off sparked Cardiff and from their very first shot on target they took the lead on 36 minutes with Leeds contributing hugely to their own downfall when the normally reliable Phillips gave the ball straight to Hoillett who ran at the Leeds defence before smashing the ball home from outside the penalty area.

The goal sparked a poignant celebration with Cardiff’s players honouring former Bluebirds Peter Whittingham, who died aged 35 in March.

Leeds were unlucky to be behind and could have levelled in first-half stoppage time, but their misfortune was summed up when striker Patrick Bamford accidentally blocked Jack Harrison’s goalbound effort.

Bamford almost made amends on the hour mark when his clever header across goal was met firmly by Tyler Roberts, but goalkeeper Alex Smithies made a fantastic point-blank save as he got across his goal to repel what seemed a certain equaliser.

Leeds were pushing for a leveller and they paid the price for over-committing as substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing intercepted the ball and found fellow sub Glatzel who controlled and fired a volley in off the post.

Cardiff City manager Neil Harris told BBC Sport Wales:

“I am so pleased with today and very proud.

“I am delighted we have scored two quality goals to pay tribute to Peter Whittingham. It was a privilege to be part of it today and I am so pleased we played to the best of our ability.

“During lockdown we asked a lot of the players physically. The lads have been great and they got their reward today and we are really delighted to play in the manner we did.

“We’ve shown we can compete with the best teams in the division, because Leeds are the best team and we’ve beaten Leeds and West Brom here now.

The players are hungry to do more. The play-offs has to be our goal.”

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa:

“We could have won, we should have won. We created enough chances to score the necessary goals.

“They needed our mistakes to score, but we know we should have been clearer to finish the attacks. We lacked something in the match in the final third.

“Mistakes are part of the game. When we make a mistake we have to resolve it as a team.

“Of course everything is still in our hands. It’s the same situation as what we saw before today. The opportunity we had today was important and we couldn’t take advantage of it.

“Now we have eight matches left and we cannot think everything is set.”

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