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When Cardiff hired Erol Bulut, there were supporters asking: ‘Who?’ Now, they cannot stop singing his name, and maybe the latest man through the revolving door will turn out to be a keeper.
Cardiff’s loyal followers are happy to tell anyone who will listen that they are ‘Erol Bulut’s Barmy Army’ with the Bluebirds securing their third win on the trot here. It is their best start to a season since 2017-18 when they were promoted to the Premier League under Neil Warnock.
Though Cardiff were delighted with Sunday’s win, even they knew it was fortunate. Tony Mowbray’s Sunderland had been peppering Cardiff’s goal when the visitors went up the other end, won a corner, and scored from it via Mark McGuinness. It was in the 87th minute and the visitors’ first shot on target at the Stadium of Light. Not that Bulut cared.
Stopping Sunderland at the Stadium of Light is no joke. There were more than 40,000 fans here, all of them screaming for the Black Cats to go unbeaten for a sixth straight league game.
Mark McGuinness scored a late winner as Cardiff City withstood a dominant Sunderland
McGuinness headed home Ryan Wintle’s corner with four minutes remaining to secure win
Cardiff goalkeeper Jak Alnwick denied Sunderland’s Alex Pritchard and Jack Clarke
Instead their promotion push took a hit and Mowbray said: ‘It felt like we dominated the game. They scored from a set-play and we have to accept it. It’s frustrating. Cardiff had a game plan and they made life difficult for us. Good luck to them.’
Cardiff won without Aaron Ramsey, the 32-year-old Welshman who was unwell, and their plan was to defend deep. Sunderland struggled to break down that brick wall, though did carve up chances.
When a through-ball for Abdoullah Ba led to a cutback for Alex Pritchard, he should have scored, but Cardiff’s Dimitris Goutas got a vital touch to divert it wide.
Jobe Bellingham, the 18-year-old brother of Jude, was playing nice passes. Jack Clarke, the 22-year-old formerly of Leeds and Tottenham, was lively on the left. It was all Sunderland at the start of the second half with Pritchard stinging the palms of Cardiff goalkeeper Jack Alnwick.
Sunderland pushed for a late winner. It should have come from substitute Patrick Roberts, but his tame connection allowed Alnwick to make the save.
In the 87th minute, Cardiff got their goal after Trai Hume gifted them a corner. Poor set-piece marking from Sunderland saw Ryan Wintle’s cross find the head of McGuinness for 1-0.
As Sunderland searched for a leveller, Cardiff countered, with Wintle forcing Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson into a smart save. Ollie Tanner then squandered a chance that looked harder to miss.
Despite those misses, Cardiff left with their third consecutive win under Bulut, who is now making a name for himself in England.
Sunderland: Patterson, Hume, O’Nien, Ballard, Huggins (Rusyn 88), Neil, Ba (Roberts 62), Bellingham (Aouchiche 63), Pritchard, Clarke, Burstow (Semedo 63).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Seelt, Triantis, Bishop, Rigg.
Booked: Ba, Burstow.
Cardiff: Alnwick, Ng,Goutas, McGuinness, Collins, Wintle (Romeo 90), Siopis, Ralls (Adams 78), Meite (Rubin Colwill 64), Ugbo (Etete 63), Ahearne-Grant (Tanner 46).
Subs Not Used: Runarsson, Panzo, Rinomhota, Robinson.
Booked: Siopis, Rubin Colwill.
Goals: McGuinness 87.
Ref: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).
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