Emiliano Sala: Cardiff and Bournemouth pay tribute before and during Premier League match

A mosaic in the colours of Argentine striker Sala showed his name before kick-off
A mosaic in the colours of Argentine striker Sala showed his name before kick-off

Cardiff City supporters paid emotional tributes to Emiliano Sala in the club's first home game since he disappeared.

Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were on a light aircraft that went missing over the Channel Islands on 21 January.

A mosaic in the national colours of the Argentine striker was displayed by fans during a minute's silence before Saturday's match against Bournemouth.

When Bobby Reid scored in the fifth minute for Cardiff, the players held aloft a T-shirt displaying Sala's face.

Reid scored both goals as Cardiff won 2-0 to secure only their sixth Premier League win of the season.

"I was very emotional, I was all right until the final whistle went and I went on the pitch," said Cardiff boss Neil Warnock. "I can't begin to explain to you how difficult it has been.

"Knowing Emiliano as I did, I know he would have been really with us today. Today, the whole club was amazing. I was the proudest man to be manager of the whole club, because the fans were just amazing."

He added: "I've never seen or heard anything like it and I will remember it for the rest of my life really. We've done him proud today.

"The players all knew what they had to do today, we spoke about Emiliano in the dressing room, I am just really proud and I am sure he would have been."

Former England captain Alan Shearer said in his BBC Match of the Day analysis: "Neil Warnock should be very proud of himself, and the football club, for the way they performed. It must have been very tough."

'Loved forever more'

Some fans wore T-shirts pointing to Sala and Cardiff's nickname
Some fans wore T-shirts pointing to Sala and Cardiff's nickname

Cardiff signed Sala from Nantes in a club-record deal during the transfer window but the plane carrying him and Ibbotson disappeared from radar on its way to Cardiff airport.

Prior to kick-off in Saturday's fixture, electronic advertising boards around the stadium displayed the words "For Emiliano" and "For David".

In the official match programme - which carried Sala's face on its cover - the club wrote: "Emiliano is not with us this afternoon but we are praying for him and David."

A banner held by fans read: "We never saw you play and never saw you score but Emiliano, our beautiful Bluebird, we will love you forever more."

Cardiff fans chanted "sing a song for Sala" in the closing stages of the match.

Tributes at Cardiff
Fans have left flowers outside the Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge displays the t-shirt showing Sala's face that players wore to warm up
Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge displays the T-shirt showing Sala's face that players wore to warm up
One bunch of flowers showed Sala in a split strip of Nantes and Cardiff
One bunch of flowers showed Sala in a split strip of former club Nantes and Cardiff
Sala's face was on the front of the match programme
Sala's face was on the front of the match programme
Bobby Reid lifted a t-shirt showing Sala's face when he scored early on
Bobby Reid lifted a T-shirt showing Sala's face when he scored early on
Some fans placed messages or poems for Sala
Some fans placed messages or poems for Sala
Some Cardiff fans wore daffodils to honour Sala
Some Cardiff fans wore daffodils to honour Sala
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock had said the disappearance of Sala had led to his worst week in football
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock had said the disappearance of Sala had led to his worst week in football
Captains Sol Bamba and Andrew Surman laid flowers in the middle of the pitch before kick-off
Captains Sol Bamba and Andrew Surman laid flowers in the middle of the pitch before kick-off

'An emotionally charged evening'

BBC Sport's Michael Pearlman at Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff City's supporters ensured Emiliano Sala was always at the forefront of people's thoughts on an emotionally charged evening in Cardiff.

The Bluebirds faithful sang Sala's name throughout, while the Cardiff players raced for the touchline to lift a shirt adorned with his picture when they opened the scoring,

This is a football club and a city that are still hurting and struggling to come to terms with the disappearance of their record signing, but he remains very much in everyone's thoughts.