x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Cardiff’s hero plays as Swansea villain

Steven Caulker returned to haunt his former club as his powerful header gave Cardiff the bragging rights in the Premier League’s first south Wales derby.

It's despair for Swansea City as Steven Caulker of Cardiff City, second from right, celebrates scoring the only goal of their Premier League match.  Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
It's despair for Swansea City as Steven Caulker of Cardiff City, second from right, celebrates scoring the only goal of their Premier League match. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

CARDIFF 1 SWANSEA 0

Cardiff City - Caulker 62’

Red card - Michel Vorm (Swansea City)

Man of the match - Steven Caulker (Cardiff City)

CARDIFF // Steven Caulker returned to haunt his former club as his powerful header gave Cardiff the bragging rights in the English Premier League’s first south Wales derby.

Sunday’s game failed to live up to the build-up, with few chances at either end at Cardiff City Stadium.

Michu missed Swansea’s best opportunity in just the fifth minute, but it was Cardiff who emerged 1-0 winners as Caulker, who spent a season on loan at Swansea, rose to score the winner.

Swansea, who had goalkeeper Michel Vorm sent off in stoppage time, had started the game strongly, but Michael Laudrup’s side faded in the second half.

And all the recent furore caused by Iain Moody’s removal as the head of recruitment, the uncertainty over manager Malky Mackay’s future and the motives of the owner, Vincent Tan, will be briefly forgotten as Cardiff fans revel in derby glory.

Swansea carved out a great opportunity in just the fifth minute. Michu brilliantly controlled Jonjo Shelvey’s cross but, having done the hard part, volleyed well over the bar.

Cardiff threatened at set pieces, and Leon Britton came uncomfortably close to diverting a Craig Bellamy free kick into his own net.

A couple of pinpoint dead-ball deliveries from Peter Whittingham forced Vorm to punch unconvincingly and, as Cardiff got a foothold in midfield, the action dried up.

There was at least a modicum of action early in the second half. Peter Odemwingie narrowly failed to connect with a Caulker flick-on, before Whittingham drove wide following a purposeful surge from Kevin Theophile-Catherine.

Cardiff got their reward for their strong start to the second half in the 62nd minute, and it was Caulker who stung his former club.

The England defender rose above Chico Flores, the man Swansea signed to replace Caulker following the end of his loan spell at the Liberty Stadium, to head home a Bellamy corner.

Caulker made a telling contribution at the other end, denying the substitute Wilfried Bony, on for the injured Michu, from tapping in an equaliser on Jonathan de Guzman’s header back across goal.

But the goal had stunned Swansea and their misery was completed when Vorm saw red after racing from his area and clattering Fraizer Campbell.

With all of their substitutes used, Swansea had to throw Angel Rangel into the goal for what time remained but Cardiff were unable to add to their tally.

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