Cardiff 2-0 West Ham: Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa secure crucial win for Bluebirds
Report and highlights as Bluebirds stay in survival hunt
Last Updated: 09/03/19 7:22pm
Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa were on target as Cardiff earned a crucial win in their battle for Premier League survival, beating West Ham 2-0.
Hoilett converted Josh Murphy's low cross to open the scoring in the fourth minute as the West Ham defence stood statuesque, and Camarasa (52) doubled the lead from close range after a lovely cushioned header into his path from Murphy.
Oumar Niasse had the chance to make sure of the points soon after but shot wide after bursting through on goal, before being denied again when Lukasz Fabianski saved from point-blank range and then reacted to keep out Murphy's follow up.
Declan Rice came closest for West Ham when he hit the post with 20 minutes remaining, but the visitors offered little threat across the 90 minutes.
Despite claiming an important victory, Cardiff remain in the bottom three, two points from safety, following Southampton's win over Tottenham, while West Ham stay in ninth.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Peltier (7), Morrison (7), Ecuele Manga (7), Bennett (7), Arter (6), Gunnarsson (9), Camarasa (8), Murphy (8), Hoilett (8), Niasse (7).
Subs: Bacuna (6), Ralls (6), Paterson (N/A)
West Ham: Fabianski (6), Fredericks (4), Diop (6), Ogbonna (6), Cresswell (6), Noble (6), Rice (7), Snodgrass (6), Lanzini (6), Anderson (5), Hernandez (4).
Subs: Arnautovic (6), Antonio (6), Nasri (6)
Man of the match: Aron Gunnarsson
Aiming to bounce back after three straight defeats, Cardiff made a quick start and were rewarded within four minutes.
Camarasa slid the ball into the path of Murphy down the right, he crossed first time for Hoilett, who drifted in at the near post, seemingly unnoticed by the four West Ham defenders in the vicinity, and flicked the ball smartly past Fabianski.
With the crowd behind them, Cardiff pressed for a second and nearly got it after a mix-up between Fabianski and Issa Diop allowed Niasse to steal in. His touch took him wide and with the angle against him, put his shot just over the bar.
West Ham grew into the game as the half went on but despite keeping Cardiff penned inside their own half, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge did not have a save to make before half-time.
The visitors sent on Marko Arnautovic at the start of the second half but again it was Cardiff who made the brighter start and again, they made the pressure tell.
Ryan Fredericks sliced an attempted clearance back towards his own goal, allowing Hoilett to get to the byline and whip in a superb cross. Murphy unselfishly nodded the ball back across goal into the path of Camarasa, who, having been played onside by Fredericks, forced the ball home at the far post.
Cardiff made changes from the side that lost at Wolves as Bruno Ecuele Manga, Harry Arter, Junior Hoilett and Josh Murphy came in for the injured Sol Bamba, Joe Ralls, Bobby Reid and Kenneth Zohore.
Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini kept faith with the West Ham XI that started in the win over Newcastle.
The hosts should have been further ahead before the hour mark when the superb Aron Gunnarsson won the ball back in midfield and found Niasse. The on-loan Everton striker confidently knocked the ball past Diop and surged through on goal, only to put his shot a yard wide.
Moments later, Cardiff were in again but Niasse was unable to finish from inside the six-yard box, putting his volley too close to Fabianski, who was up quickly to keep out the rebound from Murphy.
Rice came close to getting West Ham back into the game in the 70th minute, ambling up to the edge of the Cardiff box as the defence backed off and firing a shot beyond Etheridge and against the post.
Arnautovic forced a smart save from the Cardiff 'keeper five minutes later but that was as good as it got for the visitors; their hopes of sneaking into a Europa League place dented, while Cardiff keep pace in the battle for survival.
- Cardiff secured their first-ever win against West Ham in the Premier League by a 2-0 scoreline, after losing each of the previous three meetings by a two-goal margin.
- West Ham are without a win in six away Premier League games (D1 L5), after winning each of the three before that.
- West Ham have only won one of their last nine Premier League away games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (D4 L4).
- Cardiff went in ahead at half-time for only the second time this season in the Premier League, still less often than any other side.
- Cardiff kept their eighth Premier League clean sheet of the season, more the likes of Manchester United (7) and Arsenal (5) have managed.
- Junior Hoilett has netted 16 goals for Cardiff in all competitions since Neil Warnock took over in October 2016, a haul bettered only by Kenneth Zohore (22).
- Junior Hoilett's opener for Cardiff was timed at 3 mins 37 secs, the Bluebirds' fastest league goal since February 2018, when Hoilett himself netted against Millwall (3:00).
Man of the match - Aron Gunnarsson
The Cardiff midfielder was exceptional, stopping West Ham attacks before they had started, making an incredible 14 ball recoveries, and then setting the hosts on the attack. That West Ham's various attacking talents - Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini, Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic - were so ineffective was in no small part, down to Gunnarsson, who often cut things off at source.
Cardiff do not play again until after the international break when they host Chelsea on Super Sunday, while West Ham welcome struggling Huddersfield to the London Stadium next Saturday.