Match report: Cardiff 4-2 Fulham

Photo credit: Cardiff City FC

Cardiff City got their first win of the Premier League season with a 4-2 victory over Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham.

First half goals from Bobby Decordova-Reid and Josh Murphy were cancelled out by Fulham’s Andre Schurrle and Ryan Sessgnon in the first half.

However, Neil Warnock’s men got their side over the line in the second half with goals from Callum Paterson and Kadeem Harris.

The win for Cardiff is their first of the season in the Premier League.

Three points sees the Bluebirds move out of the relegation zone – leapfrogging today’s opponents Fulham

For Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, that’s now 25 goals conceded in all competitions.

In what was an entertaining first-half, we witnessed why both of these teams are in contention for relegation this season.

Fulham came into this game with the Premier League’s defence having conceded 21 goals in their opening eight matches. That was evident in the opening 20 minutes in particular when Marcus Bettinelli was subject to a series of poor back passes that put him under serious pressure.

Indeed, Bettinelli might have been called up to the England squad earlier this month, but he didn’t showcase any signs of international quality in the first half.

However, it was Fulham who took the lead through Andre Schurrle in the 11th minute. The forward had capitalized on poor defending from the Bluebirds when he was given too much room just outside of the area to bend the ball into the right-hand corner of the goal.

Nevertheless, Cardiff responded brilliantly with two goals in quick succession. Josh Murphy, arguably one of Cardiff’s most impressive players in the first half, found himself in acres of space on the left flank and cut inside with ease to slot the ball past Bettinelli.

Not soon after, in the 20th minute, Bobby Decordova-Reid made it 2-1 to Warnock’s side following some poor defensive play from Andre Schurrle. The forward had been gifted the ball from a poorly executed free-kick from the Bluebirds but his lackluster defending allowed Reid with the chance to give the Bluebirds the lead.

Poor defending was the constant theme throughout the first half and that continued when Fulham regained a foothold in the game through Ryan Sessegnon. A simple one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic allowed him to slot the ball past Neil Etheridge from 10 yards out.

In terms of goalmouth action, that was most of the story in the first half.

Despite Fulham’s defensive flaws, their attacking threat was clear to see with the likes of Sessegnon and Schurrle threatening in behind target-man Mitrovic.

Into the second half, Cardiff came out the more energetic of the two sides.

Fulham’s defensive frailties were clear to see early into the second half when Harry Arter was given plenty of room in the middle of the pitch to drive forward and get a shot away. His attempt drifted just over the crossbar but it certainly gave the home side causes for optimism.

Cardiff then took advantage of poor Fulham defending midway through the second half when Callum Paterson made it 3-2. The Bluebirds had a slice of fortune when a Fulham defender slipped on the halfway line to allow Victor Camarasa a clear run down the right flank. His cross – deflecting as it entered into the area – reached Paterson who turned impressively to slot the ball past Bettinelli’s right-hand side from 15 yards.

For a team who are yet to win this season, Cardiff’s experience of being in front in the Premier League is very much limited to this game.

As a result, they looked slightly nervous once they had taken the lead – if even for a short while.

Fulham’s attacking pace through Sessegnon was a concern throughout the afternoon for Joe Bennett and his pace looked to threaten after Cardiff had retaken their lead.

However, it was the home side who regained control around the 80th minute mark. Josh Murphy had given his all for the side and he made way for Kadeem Harris.

It was Harris who sealed the win for the home side in the final stages after some more good play from Camarasa who allowed the home side to seal the win.

Overall, Cardiff’s performance indicates that they are able to compete in the Premier League this season. Eliminating defensive errors and staying on the front foot is a key part of a successful team and Warnock’s men certainly showed that they are able to put together a full performance.

Next week, the Bluebirds face an impressive Liverpool side at Anfield in what will be a very testing afternoon for Warnock’s men.

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