Cardiff remain in mire
Johannesburg - Cardiff City remain rooted in the Premier League relegation zone after
failing to make ground on the teams above them in a 0-0 draw with Aston
Villa on Tuesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side would have been in the bottom three on goal
difference alone had they prevailed at the Cardiff City Stadium, but
despite twice hitting the woodwork, they had to settle for a draw.
Villa might have snatched victory at the death, but Cardiff goalkeeper
David Marshall displayed stunning reactions to thwart visiting
substitute Andreas Weimann in injury time.
The point left Cardiff second from bottom, two points from safety, while Paul Lambert's Villa climbed one place to 11th.
Cardiff were without talisman Craig Bellamy, banned earlier in the day
for three games after clashing with Jonathan de Guzman in the weekend
loss to Swansea City, but they took the game to Villa regardless.
Indeed, after Fabian Delph had dragged an early shot wide of the Cardiff
goal, the hosts largely dominated the first half, notably hitting the
frame of the goal twice in the 14th minute.
First, Wilfried Zaha freed Fraizer Campbell for a shot that Villa
goalkeeper Brad Guzan diverted onto the post and when the ball came out
to Craig Noone, he saw a deflected effort come back off the crossbar.
Cardiff lost Jordon Mutch to an apparent hamstring injury just beyond
the half hour, with Magnus Wolff Eikrem coming on, but the home side
continued to push, with Zaha denied a goal by an offside flag after
Leandro Bacuna gave Cardiff a big scare when he shot narrowly wide
following a one-two with Gabriel Agbonlahor, but Kenwyne Jones should
have put the hosts ahead moments later when he headed straight at Guzan
from a Kevin Theophile-Catherine cross.
Villa introduced Weimann with just over 20 minutes to play and the
visitors began to look increasingly dangerous, with Marshall saving from
Marc Albrighton and Delph.
Agbonlahor saw the whites of Marshall's eyes from a Christian Benteke
flick in the 82nd minute, but he took too long to size up his options
and Theophile-Catherine darted in to dispossess him.
Weimann came even closer in the first minute of stoppage time, but after
poking out his foot to connect with Benteke's pass, he saw Marshall
produce a breath-taking reflex stop to tip the ball over the bar.