Citizens Kaned in Cardiff

Posted by Mike Morris

Cardiff's Fraizer Campbell celebrates one of his two goals against Man City.GettyImagesCardiff's Fraizer Campbell celebrates one of his two goals against Man City.

I had come to the conclusion that Cardiff City's sole role in Sunday's match was to make it uncomfortable for Manchester City but at no point did I imagine the Bluebirds would make worldwide headlines by beating them 3-2.

Prior to kick off, Bluebirds Unite held a march from Cardiff Castle to the stadium ending at the Fred Keenor Statue. The group are fighting to get back the club's traditional blue identity and ditch the red one imposed by owner Vincent Tan. Inside the stadium, all thoughts about that were put to one side and a record crowd of over 27,000 became the 12th man as Cardiff produced a result that rocked the Premier League.

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Cardiff will have many more 'huge' games this season, but beating Man City in the club's first Premier League home game will be talked about in the same way fans recall beating Leeds in 2002, Man City in 1994 and Real Madrid in 1971.

Man City didn't rip Cardiff apart in a goalless first half as had been feared, while Fraizer Campbell was alert up front, forcing a decent save from Joe Hart, and Aron Gunnarsson was excellent in midfield.

Every over hit pass by Man City, every tackle by Cardiff was cheered by the home fans. The support never allowed the visitors to feel comfortable and the players showed no sign of fear as they followed their game plan and kept Man City's chances down to a minimum.

The Citizens finally took the lead in the second half when Edin Dzeko rifled a shot past David Marshall. Instead of Cardiff heads dropping the players stepped up a gear. Kim Bo-Kyung produced a superb run to get behind the defence and his cross was met by the alert Campbell. Hart saved, but Gunnarsson was following up to smash the ball into the net.

And from there Cardiff kicked on again. Sensing that there was something in this game and showing no respect for the price tags of the visitors they looked to get the ball forward when in possession.

Cardiff won a corner and Peter Whittingham's cross eluded Hart; Campbell outwitted his markers to head the ball in. In fact it came off his shoulder, but either way Cardiff were 2-1 up.

And soon after lightning struck twice. A corner from the opposite side was swung in by Don Cowie and Campbell again made mugs of the defence to head his second goal and Cardiff's third.

The stadium was bouncing by this time. Cardiff fans mocking the Man City supporters with their Poznan celebration. The whole Cardiff support were as one behind the team. As the 90 minute mark approached the fourth official held up the board to show six minutes of added time. That was greeted with a chorus of boos and gasps of disbelief. And if the nerves we starting to jangle then they went into meltdown when Alvaro Negredo headed in David Silva's cross.

Cardiff still had to see out a few more minutes before Lee Probert blew the final whistle. It was mayhem, Cardiff had beaten Man City. It took ages for the stands to empty. Fans wanted to soak up as much of the occasion as possible.

Malky Mackay took Cardiff to a Wembley final in his first season, he won promotion in his second season and he has shown his credentials as a Premier League manager at the start of this season.

Cardiff were staring a second Premier League defeat in the face and could have ended the day rock bottom of the fledgling table but the heroic efforts of Gary Medel, Gunnarrson and Man-of-the-Match Campbell sees Cardiff in 11th place.

The boost in confidence for Cardiff will be immense and the message has been sent that the Bluebirds are not here to be walked over. Man City, a side worth hundreds of millions of pounds, players that are world stars, left Wales with a bloody nose and the watching world will have to sit up and take notice.

Cardiff City are Premier League and plan to stay that way.


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