Match Report – Cardiff City 2, Bournemouth 0

Cardiff City earned a win for Emiliano Sala, for Bluebirds fans and their Premier League status.

Neil Warnock’s team played with pride, passion and intensity on an emotional occasion at Cardiff City Stadium.

Bournemouth were fresh from a 4-0 win against Chelsea, but Warnock came up with a game plan which left the Cherries mystified.

The visitors had 75 per cent possession, but Cardiff had more shots (9-8) and goalkeeper Neil Warnock had only one dangerous shot to deal with.

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Man of the match Bobby Decordova-Reid scored both Cardiff goals, netting the first from a penalty and a second 13 seconds into the second half.

“I thought I was offside, but carried on and thankfully I was just onside,” said Decordova-Reid. “The lads gave everything and 100 per cent we are determined to start up.”

Former Spurs and Bournemouth manager Harry Redknapp was in Cardiff, working for BT Sport as a pundit, and praised Warnock.

“The most important man was Neil, whose tactics were spot on,” said Redknapp. “ The back four were amazing. Bamba was immense.

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“How is he not man of the match. Decordova-Reid deserved the award, but Bamba, too, was outstanding.

“The two full-backs (Peltier and Bennett) did really well and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

“All over the park, Cardiff were incredible.”

Warnock was emotional and delighted at the end of the match, saying: “The players were amazing – just as they were at Arsenal.

“Bournemouth are a quality team, but we worked on our system and it worked a treat.

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“We knew they would have a lot of possession, but we earned the win and, again, the Bluebirds fans were incredible.”

It was surreal occasion in front of almost 32,000 spectators.

Both teams paid tribute to Sala before kick-off. Home supporters held up yellow, white and light blue squares, paying tribute to the Argentine, who joined from Nantes.

Both captains carried out bouquets of flowers and the Cardiff staff, from management to the media team, spread across the touchline ahead of a moment of reflection when everybody present fell silent in tribute.

When Decordova-Reid scored Cardiff’s first goal from a penalty he ran to the home dug-out and held up a T-shirt featuring an image of Sala. His Bluebirds team-mates gathered round him.

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Bournemouth have produced some outstanding results this season, not least that four-goal win against Chelsea, but they could not find a way to outsmart City.

Captain Bamba and his team were almost faultless, turning on a team display of the highest order.

The Bluebirds remain in the bottom three, but are only two points behind Newcastle, Southampton and Burnley. They are, potentially, one win from moving out of the danger zone.

City were ahead after five minutes when Bournemouth defender Steve Cook inexplicably threw up an arm and palmed away a cross. Referee Jon Moss took time to deliberate on the decision and decided it was a spot-kick.

Decordova-Reid stepped up and sent goalie Artur Boruc the wrong way.

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It was the first time this season, in any competition, that Cardiff had been in front at half-time.

Bournemouth huffed and puffed, but whichever way they turned the blue wall stood tall. City stood firm.

Warnock was still finishing his half-time cup of tea when Cardiff made it 2-0. He strolled down the tunnel soon after Decordova-Reid slotted home.

It was a beautifully taken goal with the visitors ripped open 13 seconds after half-time. Former Bristol City goals ace Decordova-Reid chased a hopeful Aron Gunnarsson pass and made the most of his opportunity.

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Decordova-Reid admitted he thought he was offside and a Bournemouth defender clearly thought so as well. He glanced across to the linesman twice before reacting.

BT Sport replays showed Decordova-Reid was onside – Nathaniel Clyne was the guilty player – and the City forward ran past Boruc and calmly slotted into the net with defenders desperately trying to stop him.

The confidence and clinical finishing was a joy. The boy from Bristol is showing signs he can make a big impact in the top flight.

He slotted in just behind the outstanding Oumar Niasse, who looks a player who will be key in Cardiff’s survival battle.

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This was Cardiff’s day. Surely, the best team performance of the season.

They set standards against Arsenal in midweek and Bournemouth that suggest they have a chance of staying up.