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Blackburn Rovers vs Cardiff City. Sky Bet Championship.

Ewood ParkAttendance13,572.

Blackburn Rovers 1

  • J Rankin-Costello (53rd minute)

Cardiff City 0

    Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Cardiff City: Joe Rankin-Costello earns narrow win for Jon Dahl Tomasson's men

    Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City at Ewood Park on Saturday | Joe Rankin-Costello's first goal of the season wins it for Jon Dahl Tomasson's men

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    Watch highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City

    Joe Rankin-Costello's first goal of the season earned Blackburn a 1-0 home victory over Cardiff.

    The midfielder's second-half strike - Rovers' only on-target attempt of the afternoon - condemned the Bluebirds to a third straight defeat on the road.

    It also meant the Welsh club are now without a win on their last nine trips to Ewood Park, stretching back to December 2012 when Craig Bellamy was on target for the visitors in a 4-1 triumph.

    During the early stages, Blackburn dominated possession without penetrating the visitors' backline while Josh Bowler shot just wide from the edge of the box following Ike Ugbo's lay-off at the other end.

    Blackburn Rovers' Joseph Rankin-Costello shoots for goal under pressure from Cardiff City's Mark McGuinness

    After Joe Ralls also called home keeper Leo Wahlstedt into action from 20 yards, the Blackburn faithful urged their team to show more forward momentum and, at the first-half's midway point, Arnor Sigurdsson volleyed wide of the far post after Callum Brittain's cross from close to the corner flag.

    Moments later, Sammie Szmodics lifted a shot over from just outside the penalty area after effective harassing by Sondre Tronstad and Rankin-Costello turned another Brittain centre from the right wide of the near post.

    Cardiff thought they had taken the lead in the 35th minute when Dimitrios Goutas met Ralls' corner with a thumping header but the effort was ruled out due to Karlan Grant standing in an offside position and blocking Wahlstedt's sight line.

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    Following that let-off, Szmodics found the side-netting from an acute angle and Tyrhys Dolan prodded wide with the last kick of the half following a rapid counter attack started by Dominic Hyam's brilliant recovery tackle on Ugbo and built upon by Sigurdsson's positive raid down the left.

    After the break, Goutas again climbed highest to meet another corner - this time delivered by Ryan Wintle - only to clear the crossbar.

    Rovers then forged ahead in the 53rd minute after Hayden Carter's forward pass picked out Dolan.

    With the Bluebirds' defence standing off him, Dolan chested the ball before turning and picking out Rankin-Costello's run in behind Mark McGuinness.

    The Ewood Park Academy graduate went on to keep his composure to find the net from 15 yards despite Jak Alnwick getting a glove to his effort.

    Rankin-Costello was subsequently denied a second in the 67th minute by Perry Ng's brilliant sliding challenge as he bore down on the away goal and pulled back his right leg to shoot.

    For Cardiff, sub Callum Robinson tried his luck from distance but Wahlstedt safely gathered his hopeful drive.

    But the Republic of Ireland international should have then done better when he pulled a 12-yard chance wide after good probing down the left by Ng and Wahlstedt went on to make a superb save to push Ollie Tanner's diagonal drive wide of his far upright and safeguard the three points.

    The managers

    Blackburn's Jon Dahl Tomasson:

    "Leo made a brilliant save late on to make sure we won the game. It can be quite difficult as a keeper when your team are in control, then suddenly you're facing a shot, but it was a top-class save and it was a brilliant win against a very good Cardiff side, who are tough to play against. It can be difficult after an international break to get started again, but we had an excellent win before it at QPR and backed that up in front of our own fans. The back-to-back wins should give us confidence, as should consecutive clean sheets.

    "We have been giving unnecessary chances away before and, if you do that with the opponents you come up against in this league, they can score goals against you. It wasn't the best game we have played and we were a little bit slow on the ball. We needed to go forward with a bit more speed but we spoke at half-time about getting runs in behind them, so it was really pleasing to see how we scored our goal. The boys also had to dig in to win, but we could have scored more goals because I thought we had five good chances and it was a well-deserved win."

    Cardiff's Erol Bulut:

    "I spoke with the referee after the game and all the officials said it was offside, but the linesman did not seem to know that at the time. I think, for him, it was a clear goal because why did it take him 30 seconds to put his flag up? But, after the game, I watched it back and he was offside. It was just a bit strange how they got to that decision."

    "It was a game between two teams that didn't create many chances and always looked like one in which the first side that scored would go on to win. We had more shots on goal than they did, but they scored from a small mistake by us, which was down to our concentration and communication not being good enough down the middle of the pitch. We have to be more focussed, sharp and aggressive in those situations and areas of the pitch. In the last 20 minutes, we tried hard to score, but it wasn't enough."

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