After the 4-0 demolition of Luton Town on Saturday, the Bluebirds returned to the Cardiff City Stadium looking to build on their swaggering display against the Hatters, to surge themselves further up the table. Huddersfield were in search of their first away win in three games, with the fixture promising to be a gritty dogfight between the Bluebirds and the Terriers. Cardiff came out 3-0 victors, putting Corberán firmly in the dog house.
Cardiff came into the fixture having been unbeaten in their previous 13 against Huddersfield, with the home side winning seven of their last eight matches against the West Yorkshire team (with the one draw).
An impressive last outing for Neil Harris’ men, the team remained unchanged, with the exciting strike force of Mark Harris and Kieffer Moore leading the line. The Welshmen were in and amongst the goals against Luton, and were hungry for goals once again, Harris searching for his second in his second professional start, and Moore looking to make it three goals from his previous four games.
Carlos Corberán named a much changed team from the one that netted three against former Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock’s Middlesborough. In came Ben Hamer, Demeaco Duhaney, Christopher Schindler, Matty Daly, and ex Bluebird striker Danny Ward, as the Terriers looked to cause an already shaky Bluebirds defense trouble.
The home side made another blistering start to the game, pressing on from the weekend’s exploits, an early header from Kieffer Moore glanced inches wide.
An excellent press from City, regaining possession, resulting in a subsequent neat move between Will Vaulks and Harry Wilson, saw Joe Ralls find space down the right flank. A right footed lofted cross into the box was then chested down by captain Sean Morrison, failing to drop fast enough for Sheyi Ojo, who saw his half-volley rise over the bar.
The Terriers grew in stature throughout the first half, but the fired up Bluebirds looked the more dangerous, carving out chance after chance, but unable to capitalise on the plethora of threatening balls into the oppositions six yard box. With the constant pressure, City earned themselves another corner, however, another opportunity saw Morrison glance his header wide.
An opportunity came the way of former Bluebirds poacher Ward, finding space between the centre-halves, but only managing to prod a weak side footed effort into the arms of Alex Smithies.
Through Ojo and Wilson, Cardiff were mercurially quick, the former almost providing a perfectly delicate second assist. The winger patiently dribbled into the Huddersfield box, lifted a cross onto the head of Moore, whose flick-on was inches away from the boot of Mark Harris, laying in wait to bundle the ball in at the back post.
The home side were now knocking on the door of the visitors, and on 35 minutes, they saw the pressure pay off. Ojo made a dangerous run down the left flank, beating his man, finding the Moore with an inch-perfect pass. The Wales international made no mistake, side-footing it in from six yards out.
Halftime: Cardiff City 1-0 Huddersfield Town
A much needed tactical change at the interval from Corberán saw the visitors take control of the early exchanges. Curtis Nelson, who had seldom been at his best so far this season, was now showing the defensive solidity he had done during the playoff campaign last term, making two key blocks, before Carel Eiting curled a tame effort into Smithies hands.
The change of shape implemented at halftime by Bielsa’s ex-second in command saw Huddersfield come to grips with possession, nullifying any Cardiff threat by dominating the ball. Though chances were difficult to come by for both sides after the break, a rasping Josh Koroma effort forced a good save from the City shot stopper.
With the intensity of the festive fixture list, changes were to be expected, with Junior Hoilett replacing Mark Harris on the hour mark. The Canadian made an instant impact, with his almost trademark press, forcing Naby Sarr into an awful mistake, attempting to drop his shoulder, but instead falling over the ball. Winning possession in the opponents box, Hoilett squared it to Moore, who was gifted with an easy tap-in.
Huddersfield remained focused, trying to force an opportunity through dominating possession, though it all proved too easy for the Bluebirds defence, whom choked the visitors attack, forcing another shot from distance, this time from O’Brien, which was held comfortably by Smithies once again.
Though more changes came, the Bluebirds were still able to round off another dominant display in style. The newly introduced Robert Glatzel latched onto an Ojo pass with his back to goal, turned his man, and rifled his right-footed effort into the top corner of the net. Looking at it, you wouldn’t believe that it was the striker’s first goal in 16 games.
Perhaps more goals could’ve come the way of the home side, indicative of the confidence they are now playing with. But, the Bluebirds finished what could’ve been a turbulent week, in style, with back-to-back comprehensive victories. Defensively solid, patient in attacking phases, they will be licking their lips at the prospect of Watford, hoping to dodge any chance of a nasty sting.
Huddersfield, who look a side determined to make a success of their style of play, face QPR at home next.
Fulltime: Cardiff City 3-0 Huddersfield Town
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