FOUR PAGES OF BLUEBIRDS NEWS
CARDIFF City moved three points clear at the summit of the Championship as a result of their magnificent 3-1 win over fellow high-flyers Leeds United in the Welsh capital.
Here, we look at the main topics of discussion from the match...
INCREDIBLE ENERGY ONCE AGAIN GETS CARDIFF ON THE FRONT FOOT
In their final win before the international break against Queens Park Rangers, the sheer graft of Kenneth Zohore and Junior Hoilett saw the Canadian charge down Alex Smithies to net the equaliser against Ian Holloway’s side.
And it was Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s incredible persistence that saw him nip in front of Liam Cooper and draw a foul from the Leeds captain, a challenge that earned the defender a red card just before the break.
It was significant that prior to Cooper’s sending off, Zohore did his usual graft up top to keep Leeds on the back foot and ensured Neil Etheridge had as nice an opening 45 minutes as he’ll ever have.
Credit to the goalkeeper, he remained alert to make a fine double save to deny Gaetano Berardi and then Ezgjan Alioski in the second period, but the 10 men ahead of him put in so much effort that he was rarely tested.
Loic Damour and Craig Bryson put in strong shifts in the centre of the park in the absence of Aron Gunnarsson and Joe Ralls, but collectively from one to 11, the Bluebirds remained in sync throughout as they stifled a Leeds side who suffered only their second league defeat of the season in south Wales.
JUNIOR HOILETT IS IN THE FORM OF HIS LIFE
“When he plays like that he’s as good as anyone in the league,” Warnock said about man-of-the-match Hoilett in his post-match press conference.
And it was a truly-mesmerising display from the Canadian wideman who set up Zohore for the opening goal before silencing the travelling army of Leeds fans with a rocket that saw Cardiff go 2-0 up.
He was beaming when put in front of the media both on the pitch and off it after full-time, and it’s no wonder as Hoilett is proving on a regular basis that he is a player blessed with immense talent.
His opposite number Mendez-Laing rightly took a lot of plaudits after his stunning exploits for the Bluebirds in August, a run of form that earned him the Player of the Month award.
But having been left out of the starting side at Sunderland, Hoilett ensured he came back with a bang – and then some – against Leeds with a performance that will have delighted his manager.
IF A STATEMENT HADN’T BEEN MADE BEFORE, IT HAS NOW
With a bumper crowd inside Cardiff City Stadium and the Sky cameras covering every inch of the hallowed turf, everyone was going to get the chance to see what Cardiff and Leeds were all about.
And there’s no doubt the Bluebirds used the platform to put on a display that not only proved to their own fans that they are genuine promotion contenders, but it showed the rest of the division that Warnock’s troops mean business.
The roar of the fans after each goal will stick with those who attended the game, while the commentaries of Hoilett’s stunner and Cardiff’s slick passing move for Zohore’s second will be cherished by the ones who watched it all on their TV screens.
Bu,t wherever you were, you’ll have taken note at what’s going on at Cardiff. And even though it’s still early days, it’s looking like something special is taking place in the Welsh capital.
KENNETH ZOHORE GETS HIS REWARDS
It’s been a frustrating time for the Dane, who has had the most shots out of any player in the Championship this season, but had just one goal to his name prior to the visit of Thomas Christiansen’s side.
But Zohore has been pivotal to Cardiff’s magnificent start to the season, with his running and drive helping the Bluebirds’ wingers and midfield men thrive around him.
Assisted by Hoilett and then captain Sean Morrison, Zohore won’t get many easier goals than he did against Leeds this season.
But it was a case of being in the right place in the right time for the 23-year-old who was finally rewarded for his efforts in spectacular fashion.
He was withdrawn and given a standing ovation with 15 minutes to go, and the Cardiff faithful watching on will be licking their lips at the sight of their side at the top of the table, while safe in the knowledge that their star striker is back on the goal trail.
THE ATMOSPHERE WAS ELECTRIC, NOW LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY
Given the rivalry between the two sides, there was always going to be a bumper crowd at Cardiff City Stadium.
And more than 27,000 supporters were there to witness a trulymemorable Cardiff win against a side who started the evening at the top of the table.
In his programme notes, Warnock revealed he attended a Neil Sedaka concert last week, and, after the win over Leeds, the Yorkshireman commented: “It was funny last week, I was watching him and I thought to myself what’s he still doing it for?
“The fans were brilliant and I thought I’d put that in the programme because that’s how I feel. It keeps you going. I asked them to come and it was a fabulous atmosphere.”
And fabulous it was. Both sets of fans were making themselves heard long before the game even got underway and, with that type of backing, Cardiff’s players will relish playing anyone in front of their own supporters.
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock shows how much beating his former club Leeds means to him
Junior Hoilett, left, pictured after scoring Cardiff’s second goal
Kenneth Zohore (No.10) scores his second goal of the game in the 3-1 win over Leeds to the delight of the Cardiff fans in the stands