By James Lloyd
Cardiff City missed the chance to move into the Championship play-off places following a shock 2-0 loss at home to Leeds United.
Souleymane Doukara’s goal late in the first half and Mirco Antenucci’s stoppage-time strike proved enough for the visitors who have now secured back-to-back wins for the first time since December.
The visitors had goalkeeper Marco Silvestri to thank after the Italian pulled off a number of impressive saves to deny the Bluebirds, who had Fabio sent off early in the second half.
Cardiff started the better of the two sides and forced Silvestri into a string of early saves. First Anthony Pilkington saw his header comfortably stopped following Fabio’s teasing cross.
And minutes later Stuart O’Keefe’s dipping volley was tipped wide by the Italian. The best chance of the half fell to Peter Whittingham but his curling free-kick was well saved by the inspiring Leeds number one.
The Bluebirds remained on top throughout the half and continued to test the sloppy Leeds defence with Tom Lawrence going close in the 36th minute.
Against the run of play Leeds took the lead. Following a Cardiff corner, the Whites countered through Antenucci who picked out Doukara with the Frenchman coolly slotting it past David Marshall.
After the break, the visitors almost doubled their lead. Doukara intercepted Marshall in the penalty area before finding Antenucci whose shot was cleared off the line by the alert Bruno Manga.
Seconds later, Cardiff captain Marshall redeemed his earlier error with an impressive double save from Antenucci.
In the 66th minute Cardiff went down to ten men. Full-back Fabio was dismissed following a second yellow card after a foul on Charlie Taylor. Leeds failed to capitalise on the man advantage as Cardiff looked the more likely to score.
Pilkington went close soon after the sending off and minutes later, Feyenoord loanee Lex Immers saw his shot hit the post. Silvestri continued to impress in the Leeds goal making numerous last-ditch stops. And the Italian was on hand in the dying minutes to deny Craig Noone and Kenneth Zohore late equalisers.
Leeds made Cardiff pay for their missed chances and sealed the game following Antenucci’s cool finish past Marshall.
Cardiff City: Marshall 5, Fabio 5, Manga 6, Connolly 6, Malone 6, Whittingham 6 (Noone 5 61), Ralls 6, O’Keefe 7 (Zohore 81), Lawrence 7 (Ameobi 75), Immers 6, Pilkington 6.
Subs Not Used: Moore, Morrison, Dikgacoi, Saadi
Leeds United: Silvestri 9, Bamba 6, Bellusci 6, Taylor 6, Berardi 6, Mowatt 7 (Dallas 5 75), Murphy 6, Bridcutt 6 (Diagouraga 5 71), Cook 6, Doukara 7 (Erwin 5 85), Antenucci 8.
Subs Not Used: Peacock-Farrell, Wooton, Carayol, Botaka.