By James Kilpatrick
Brighton 0-2 Cardiff: Visitors edge closer to Premier League safety with vital win
Report and highlights as Cardiff reduce the gap to 17th-placed Brighton to two points
Last Updated: 17/04/19 5:59am
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Sean Morrison boosts Cardiff's fight against relegation with a crucial 2-0 win against fellow strugglers Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
Mendez-Laing opened the scoring with a brilliant curled strike in the 22nd minute to hand the visitors the initiative.
Although Brighton dominated possession for long periods, Morrison extended Cardiff's lead with a header from a free-kick five minutes into the second half against the hosts who lacked an attacking spark.
The result means 18th-placed Cardiff, who have four games to play, now move to within two points of their relegation rivals Brighton.
Brighton Ryan (6), Bruno (6), Duffy (6), Dunk (5), Bernardo (6), Stephens (6), March (5), Propper (6), Gross (6), Jahanbakhsh (6), Murray (6)
Subs: Andone (6), Izquierdo (6)
Cardiff:: Etheridge (7), Peltier (6), Morrison (8), Manga (7), Bennett (6), Ralls (6), Gunnarsson (6), Camarasa (6), Mendez-Laing (7), Hoilett (7), Niasse (5)
Subs: Bacuna (5), Harris (N/A), Zohore (N/A)
Man of the match: Sean Morrison
For Brighton in 17th, their fourth consecutive league loss means cause for concern, but they do have one game in hand over Cardiff.
Remaining PL fixtures
|April 20: Wolves (a)||April 21: Liverpool (h)|
|April 23: Tottenham (a)|
|April 27: Newcastle (h)||April 27: Fulham (a)|
|May 4: Arsenal (a)||May 4: Crystal Palace (h)|
|May 12: Man City (h)||May 12: Man Utd (a)|
How Cardiff pulled off a vital win
In the ninth minute there were early claims for a spot-kick. Bruno Manga appeared to drag down Lewis Dunk in the box after a free-kick, but referee Andre Marriner waved away the protests.
Twelve minutes later, with Brighton looking the more likely to take the lead, Cardiff broke the deadlock.
Pascal Gross, Solly March, Glenn Murray returned to the starting XI. Bruno and Alireza Jahanbakhsh also came into the team.
Joe Ralls, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Oumar Niasse came into the Cardiff team.
On the counter-attack, Mendez-Laing curled his stunning right-footed strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh flashed a shot on goal that was comfortably saved by Neil Etheridge shortly after the restart, but it was Morrison who put Cardiff two up after he snuck in behind Lewis Dunk and met Victor Camarasa's cross to nod in from close range.
Brighton came close to pulling a goal back through Glenn Murray in the 70th minute, but his driven strike rose over the bar.
The 35-year-old striker came close again in injury-time, but his close-range header smashed off the crossbar which meant a rare clean sheet for Cardiff in their revitalised push for Premier League safety.
- Cardiff have completed the league double over Brighton for the first time since the 1998-99 season in the fourth tier; having won the reverse fixture 2-1 in November.
- Cardiff City have won a top-flight away match by more than a single goal for the first time since November 1956 (2-0 at Charlton Athletic).
- Only already relegated Fulham (6) and Huddersfield (4) have won fewer Premier League points in 2019 than Brighton (8).
- Brighton have lost three consecutive home league games for the first time since January 2016 in the Championship - they failed to score a single goal in both these losing runs.
- Cardiff's Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored just his second Premier League goal of the season with the opener, each of his goals have come away from home on a Tuesday night
- Cardiff's Sean Morrison has scored his third Premier League goal, his first for the Bluebirds and his first for 2327 days since scoring for Reading against Manchester United in December 2012.
- Before scoring his goal tonight, Cardiff City's Sean Morrison had the highest Expected Goals (xG) total in the Premier League of all players to not score in the competition in 2018-19 (3.6). He scored with his 27th shot of the season.
Neil Warnock: "We are alive and kicking. We've made it interesting for Sky for Sunday. It's better than us being relegated so it's going to be a good game on Sunday [against Liverpool] - a full house.
"We've got four games left altogether and we've got to do the best we can."
Chris Hughton: "A tough night and probably a reflection of where we are at the moment. We pushed but unless we're managing to get goals we're generally on the back foot.
"You become susceptible to the quality they showed on the first goal - and the naivety from us with the set-play - but that's a feel of where we are at the moment."
The pundit - Liam Rosenior
He told The Debate: "When you're down there and on a poor run of results, you're naturally going to lack confidence, so when something like that goes against you, it's even harder to then go again. But I've got no doubt, that's a strong dressing room with some strong leaders.
"They will go to Wolves, and they will give absolutely everything. I thought that Saturday was a wake-up call for everyone at the club, but this is a huge wake-up call - and there's always one team that gets dragged in, and there's always a team that gets a result out of nowhere to get themselves out of trouble.
"I have no doubt they will head to Wolves hoping it's them on Saturday."
Man of the Match - Sean Morrison
Morrison's goal came at a vital time with Brighton pushing for an equaliser, while he was also instrumental at the back.
The 28-year-old centre back, alongside Manga, combined well to keep out the attacking threat of Glenn Murray and substitute Florin Andone.
Brighton travel to Wolves on Saturday. Cardiff, meanwhile, host Liverpool on Super Sunday - live on Sky Sports Premier League.