By Richard Morgan
Football journalist - @Richiereds1976
Swansea 3-0 Birmingham: Swans go joint top of Championship
Last Updated: 25/08/19 10:08pm
Swansea swept aside Birmingham 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday to move joint top of the Championship.
Substitute Kyle Naughton opened the scoring with a thunderbolt just past the hour-mark, before Bersant Celina's rasping drive doubled their lead just five minutes later.
Borja Baston's penalty 15 minutes from time wrapped up the points for Steve Cooper's side, whose third straight win of the season made it the club's best unbeaten beginning to a campaign since the Seventies.
Swansea winger Nathan Dyer missed out after picking up a hamstring injury, while Aldo Kalulu was another absentee after missing the midweek game through injury, although centre-back Joe Rodon kept his place in the starting line-up.
Birmingham defender Maxime Colin was out after picking up a slight strain and missing his side's 2-0 victory over Barnsley on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jake Clarke-Salter, on-loan from Chelsea, also failed to return after missing out midweek with a slight back problem.
How the Swans went joint top
Swansea were largely frustrated by stubborn opponents in a first half devoid of any real clear-cut openings, although that all changed in the second period as the home team's pressure finally told.
The initial breakthrough came when Naughton, on for Jake Bidwell in a tactical change at the break, twisted and turned on the left edge of the area, before firing an unstoppable drive past a helpless Lee Camp.
That strike settled the hosts down and it was not long before they increased their lead with another impressive strike as Mike van der Hoorn broke up a Blues attack and released the overlapping Celina down the left.
The midfielder powered forward, before thrashing a rasping drive past Camp at his near post, and when Marc Roberts then upended Yan Dhanda in the box, Baston added a third from the spot.
And the Spaniard's fifth goal in just five games since returning from a loan spell back in his homeland means Swansea are the highest scorers in the Championship, while also completing a bleak day for the visitors.
In fact, Pep Clotet's team have now let in six and scored none in their opening two away matches this season.
Steve Cooper: "It's obviously a good return in points and we're pleased about that. But what's more important is we know why we're getting points with our style of play both on and off the ball.
"We have the ability to dig deep and show resilience, whether it's about scoring goals or defending the box.
"It hasn't been straightforward that's for sure, and it will continue to be that way."
Pep Clotet: "We came to half-time very solid at the back. We needed to manage the game in the second half when it opened up and Swansea came forward more.
But we lost a lot of organisation in the second half. When you play a top side with a lot of confidence at home everything needs to be right."
Man of the Match - Mike van der Hoorn
The giant Dutch centre back enjoyed a storming game at the back for the Swans on Sunday, not that he had much defending to do against lacklustre visitors.
The 26-year-old played a pivotal role in his side's crucial second goal, while also completing 114 of his 123 passes in the Principality.
And with 128 touches to his name as well - the most of any player in the game - the defender really did produce a man-of-the-match display at the Liberty.
Swansea host Cambridge in the Carabao Cup second round on Wednesday night, before travelling for a top-of-the-table clash with Leeds in the Championship three days later.
Meanwhile, Birmingham entertain bottom-of-the-table Stoke on Saturday afternoon.