Cardiff 3-1 Leeds: Kenneth Zohore double sends hosts top of Sky Bet Championship
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 27/09/17 7:29am
Two goals from Kenneth Zohore helped send Cardiff City top of the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory against 10-man Leeds.
The visitors were in first place on goal difference heading into the match, but were outclassed by their Welsh opponents, with Zohore sweeping home the opener in the 28th minute.
Junior Hoilett powered home Cardiff's second in the 37th minute with Leeds captain Liam Cooper sent off in first-half injury time for a second yellow card to cap a dismal first period for the visitors.
Zohore nabbed his second 13 minutes after the restart with a back post tap-in, but Leeds were able to muster a reply as Kemar Roofe's strike was deflected home by the foot of Sean Morrison.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Peltier (7), Ecuele Manga (7), Morrison (7), Bennett (7), Bamba (8), Damour (7), Bryson (7), Hoilett (8), Mendez-Laing (7), Zohore (8).
Subs used: Ward (6), Feeney (n/a), Halford (n/a).
Leeds: Wiedwald (5), Ayling (6), Cooper (3), Jansson (6), Berardi (6), Klich (5), Phillips (5), Alioski (6), Hernandez (6), Dallas (6), Roofe (6).
Subs used: Pennington (5), Grot (5), Vieira (4).
Man of the match: Junior Hoilett.
Cardiff are now three points clear at the top of the table with Leeds sitting in second on 20 points, joint with Wolves, who play Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Chances were at a premium for much of the opening half an hour, but Zohore netted his first goal in eight games midway through the first half. Mateusz Klich was dispossessed by Loic Damour, who raced down the left wing before picking out Hoilett. He then made his way into the box before squaring for Zohore, who coolly slotted home.
They added a second nine minutes later with another superb goal. Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge pumped the ball up the field that was headed into the path of Hoilett by Kalvin Phillips. He controlled the ball and turned before racing towards goal and firing home from just outside the box, adding to his assist for the opening goal.
Cardiff made four changes, with Sol Bamba coming into the XI to face his former side. Leeds made five switches from Saturday's 3-2 win against Ipswich, with Vernon Anita and Pierre-Michel Lasogga dropping out.
It went from bad to worse for Leeds in the third of four added minutes as captain Cooper was sent off for a second bookable offence after two crunching tackles on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. It could have been an instant third for Cardiff after his red card, as Morrison poked home the free-kick at the near post, but the offside flag was raised.
But the hosts did add a third to their tally in the 58th minute. It came from some superb passing play between Cardiff's attacking players, with Hoilett picking out Morrison down the right of the box, whose cross-come-shot was diverted away by the fingertips of Felix Wiedwald. However, Zohore was lurking at the back post to tap home for his second of the evening.
Leeds were able to muster a reply nine minutes later, although it came with an eventual touch of good fortune. Luke Ayling got away down the right flank before cutting the ball back to a waiting Roofe at the top of the box, whose shot took a big deflection off the foot of Morrison to divert it past Etheridge.
It was not enough to inspire a Leeds comeback, though, as Cardiff saw the game out in relative comfort to go top of the Sky Bet Championship.
Neil Warnock: I just thought we played better, that's all on the night. We had a few blows before kick-off, losing Jazz Richards, Joe Ralls and Aron Gunnarson who have been fantastic this season.
I'm very proud of all the lads. They're all genuine. Even the lads who aren't in the matchday 18 have been fantastic in training and it makes it so much easier for me as a manager. They're all brilliant lads and they can play.
Thomas Christiansen: "The two mistakes brought Cardiff into the game as they had not created any problems for us, and then the red card was very bad for us. There was a good response and good character and we played better with 10 men.
"I believe the team responded in the proper way from our defeat at Millwall and we are going to do the same against Sheffield Wednesday."
Man of the match - Junior Hoilett
It was a hard award for co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe to hand out, but there is no denying Junior Hoilett's contribution to Cardiff's victory with an assist and goal under his belt in the first half.
He was also instrumental in the third goal, playing some superb one-touch football with Zohore across the top of the box to set up the strike, with a rest at the weekend certainly doing him the world of good as he looked fit, sharp and dangerous in attack.
Cardiff have a second home game in a row on Saturday when they welcome Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship. Leeds are live on Sky Sports again this weekend as they travel to Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.