Leicester City Breaks Unbeaten Record in 2-0 Victory over Cardiff City

James Justin’s splendid long-range goal helped the table-topping Leicester City extend their unbeaten record to nine games with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Cardiff City’s home ground.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s sharp finish rewarded Leicester for their early dominance at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Although Cardiff competed for a while after the opening goal, Leicester appeared superior to Erol Bulut’s team and doubled their lead after the break when Justin found the top corner from 25 yards.

Abdul Fatawu came close to matching Justin’s effort late in the game, but his powerful shot hit the post before Stephy Mavididi also struck the woodwork.

This marks the seventh win in the last nine league games for Leicester, bringing them closer to an immediate return to the Premier League after being relegated from the top flight last season.

The Foxes’ latest triumph puts them eight points ahead of second-placed Ipswich Town and 11 points clear of Southampton in third place. Meanwhile, Cardiff drops to 14th in the table after losing six of their last ten games.

This was Leicester’s second consecutive away trip following their draw with Ipswich on December 26.

Jannik Vestergaard’s stoppage-time own goal had denied Enzo Maresca’s team all three points at Portman Road, and they seemed determined to make amends for that late disappointment from the outset in south Wales.

Cardiff struggled to get close to their opponents as they controlled the ball in the opening stages, and the opening goal should have come when Abdul Fatawu’s right-wing cross found Dewbsury-Hall unmarked and heading towards the goal.

Dewsbury-Hall made a solid connection with his header, but it was too close to Jak Alnwick, who pawed the ball to safety.

Four minutes later, Leicester came again – and this time Alnwick couldn’t save his team.

The goal came after home captain Joe Ralls was dispossessed on the edge of his own box, with Fatawu applying initial pressure before Dewsbury-Hall took control of the ball.

He finished with composure and quality, eluding Dimitrios Goutas’ sliding challenge before firing a left-footed shot low into the net.

Cardiff improved as the first half progressed, with Ralls seeing a couple of efforts blocked before Kion Etete slashed wide from a difficult angle just before the break.

Any prospect of a Cardiff revival in the second half was all but wiped out thanks to Justin’s brilliance.

Fatawu was involved again, pulling the ball back to Justin, whose arcing, dipping effort sailed over Alnwick and high into the net.

Leicester might have scored a third when Wilfred Ndidi’s goal-bound shot was well blocked by the sliding Goutas, and then again when the lively Fatawu saw his curling 25-yard effort bounce back off the woodwork.

The rebound fell to Patson Daka, but he could only lift a first-time shot over the bar.

Still, Leicester attacked, with Mavididi left holding his head in his hands when his low shot took a slight deflection off Perry Ng before hitting the base of the post.

Cardiff substitute Rubin Colwill had a late snapshot saved by Mads Hermansen, who otherwise had a quiet night in the Leicester goal.

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut commented:

“I can’t compare us with Leicester. Their quality is different. They were relegated [last season], they want to get promoted immediately, and they still have quality from the Premier League.

“Tonight I can say only positive things about my team. We did many positive things in the game, but the details change football.

“One example, they put pressure on us, we lose the ball and they score. Second half we had nearly the same situation when we won the ball, but the final pass wasn’t good enough.

“We have to continue to work, but I think we are in a positive way. I said we want to be around the play-offs and we have a lot of games where we can push. Also, I hope with a few transfers in January, we can push more.”z z z z z z z z z z z z z z

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca stated:

“I am very happy for one reason, that in this moment with this amount of game, the effort from the players has been unbelievable.

“To play two games in a row away from home is very difficult, playing every three days.

“I think the club has to be happy. Me as a manager, I am very happy and I am very proud. The fans need to be proud of these players – they are and showing the desire to win even in this period.

“To finish the year with more than 60 points. I don’t think anybody expected this, me included. Now we need to continue, but for sure we are happy.”