Cardiff claim bragging rights
Steven Caulker (Getty Images)
Cardiff - Steven Caulker has returned to haunt Swansea City by scoring the only
goal of the Premier League's first all-Welsh fixture on Sunday to give
Cardiff City a famous 1-0 victory.
The 21-year-old centre-back,
who spent the 2011-12 season on loan at Swansea, struck from a
62nd-minute corner to settle the game on a rain-soaked day at the
Cardiff City Stadium.
Swansea threatened to snatch a late
equaliser, but they lost their momentum in injury time when goalkeeper
Michel Vorm was sent off for a last-man foul on Cardiff substitute
It was the first time two Welsh sides had faced
off in the 125-year history of the English top flight and Cardiff's win
sent them above their fierce local rivals to 12th place in the table.
also took attention away from the off-pitch turmoil at Cardiff,
following the dismissal of head of recruitment Iain Moody and the
reported intervention of the British government to prevent his
successor, 23-year-old Kazakh Alisher Apsalyamov, from taking up the
role due to visa concerns.
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay drafted
local star Craig Bellamy into his starting line-up, with Don Cowie also
coming into the team and Peter Odemwingie taking over from Campbell up
Mackay's opposite number, Michael Laudrup, erred on the
side of caution, fielding Michu as a lone striker and bolstering his
midfield with the addition of Jonjo Shelvey.
The visitors sought
to draw the sting from the occasion with their habitual passing approach
and they saw Michu squander an early pair of presentable opportunities.
Spaniard volleyed over in the fifth minute after teeing himself up from
Shelvey's right-wing cross and he then forced Cardiff goalkeeper David
Marshall to parry with a firm drive.
Bellamy was one of only three
Welshmen on the pitch at kick-off and he demonstrated his famed
appetite for a scrap in a running battle with visiting right-back Angel
The former Liverpool and Manchester City forward came
close to breaking the deadlock in the 26th minute, but his deflected
free-kick flew just over the crossbar.
With Cardiff content to
cede possession to Swansea, the game lacked spark, but Odemwingie almost
got the home fans out of their seats early in the second period when he
came close to making contact with a Caulker flick-on.
then had a penalty appeal turned down after Swansea captain Ashley
Williams eased Cowie out of position as he attempted to get on the end
of a header across goal from Bellamy.
The home side were building momentum and in the 62nd minute, they made the breakthrough.
bent a corner into the box from the right and Caulker outmuscled marker
Chico Flores at the near post to plant a powerful header in the
Laudrup reacted by introducing Wilfried Bony
and the Ivorian striker almost made an instant impact by bundling a shot
Cardiff looked to be building momentum as the rain
intensified in the game's latter stages, with Marshall forced to save
from Jonathan De Guzman and substitute Alex Pozuelo.
was sent off after racing from his area and felling Campbell in injury
time, forcing Rangel to go between the posts because Swansea had used up
all their substitutes.
The Spaniard raised ironic cheers by
saving Peter Whittingham's shot from the ensuing free-kick, and the
volume rose several decibels when the final whistle sounded to mark the
start of the Cardiff celebrations.