Championship
CardiffCardiff City1NorwichNorwich City0

Cardiff City 1-0 Norwich City: Romaine Sawyers' debut goal gives 10-man Bluebirds victory

By Philip MarshBBC Sport Wales at Cardiff City Stadium
Romaine Sawyers goal
Romaine Sawyers has won 30 caps for Saint Kitts and Nevis, scoring five goals

Romaine Sawyers scored on his competitive debut as Cardiff City beat Norwich City in a fiery encounter which saw both teams finish with 10 men.

After a first half of few chances the game burst into life after the restart, as Sawyers' effort from outside the area took a deflection on its way past Tim Krul to open the scoring on 49 minutes.

The Canaries were almost level seven minutes later when Kenny McLean turned Todd Cantwell's corner on to the bar, before Grant Hanley swiped wildly at the rebound and Cardiff cleared.

Tempers flared as both sets of players collided in the centre circle after Perry Ng threw Teemu Pukki to the floor, referee Tim Robinson booking four players in the aftermath including Ng.

And the Cardiff defender was given his marching orders five minutes later after sliding in on a breaking Milot Rashica to set up a grandstand last 20 minutes.

Hanley followed Ng 15 minutes later as he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Mark Harris, and Cardiff held on to secure a first opening fixture win since August 2017.

Steve Morison gave seven players competitive debuts, and despite having the majority of possession they failed to carve out any clear-cut chances in the opening period.

The best chance of the first 45 minutes fell to Cantwell, but Ryan Allsop did brilliantly to turn the curling effort past the post.

The Bluebirds goalkeeper put in an assured performance throughout the contest, and showed his confidence from the resulting corner which he plucked out of the air with a one-handed catch that NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr would have been proud of.

After the cagey first half you would have been forgiven for thinking the second would follow in a similar fashion, but that was far from the case.

Sawyers, who joined on a two-year deal after leaving West Bromwich Albion, got the better of Krul with a low bouncing effort in front of the vocal Canton Stand.

McLean came closest to drawing the Canaries level when his volley came back off the post with Allsop well beaten.

Tempers flare at Cardiff City Stadium
This confrontation between both sets of players came moments before the first of two red cards

The atmosphere in the stadium changed after a brawl involving both sets of players in the centre circle.

Joe Ralls pulled back Teemu Pukki on the break before Ng collided with the Finland striker in the aftermath.

Norwich captain Hanley confronted the Cardiff defender, who fell to the floor holding his face before all 22 players came together on halfway.

Ralls, Ng, Hanley and Andy Rinomhota were all booked for their roles in the scuffle.

Ng picked up his second booking minutes later for a clumsy challenge, and with the numerical advantage Norwich sensed an equaliser.

But their man advantage did not last long, as Hanley took out substitute Harris with a heavy tackle and followed Ng down the tunnel.

Norwich substitute Onel Hernandez looked threatening late on for the visitors, but Allsop was not troubled in the Cardiff goal despite the seven minutes of time added on.

It is the perfect start to the season for this much-changed Cardiff side, and for Norwich it is an unwelcome first result back in the Championship following relegation.

Cardiff City manager Steve Morison told BBC Sport Wales: "We set out to win the game and we did that so I'm really pleased.

"They're buzzing in there, we're in football to win games, I said to them at the start that it was over to them and they were fantastic.

"To a man we were excellent, they showed everything we've spoken about."

Norwich City head coach Dean Smith said: "The second half was chaotic, and the first half start scrappy with both teams being quite cagey.

"Our final ball in the final third wasn't as good as it should have been and we lacked that quality which probably cost us the game.

"The least we should be leaving here with is a point."

Line-ups

Cardiff

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Allsop
  • 2Romeo
  • 38NgBooked at 73mins
  • 23KipréBooked at 44mins
  • 17Collins
  • 6Wintle
  • 35RinomhotaBooked at 69minsSubstituted forSangat 81'minutes
  • 10OjoSubstituted forNelsonat 75'minutes
  • 19SawyersSubstituted forM Harrisat 59'minutes
  • 11O'DowdaBooked at 54minsSubstituted forWhyteat 81'minutes
  • 36WattersSubstituted forRallsat 60'minutesBooked at 68mins

Substitutes

  • 8Ralls
  • 12Sang
  • 14Tanner
  • 16Nelson
  • 20Whyte
  • 21Alnwick
  • 29M Harris

Norwich

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Krul
  • 2Aarons
  • 4Omobamidele
  • 5HanleyBooked at 85mins
  • 30GiannoulisSubstituted forHernándezat 84'minutes
  • 14Cantwell
  • 19SørensenSubstituted forGibbsat 72'minutes
  • 23McLean
  • 24SargentSubstituted forSinaniat 72'minutes
  • 22PukkiSubstituted forHugillat 78'minutes
  • 7RashicaSubstituted forMcCallumat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Hugill
  • 15McCallum
  • 21Sinani
  • 25Hernández
  • 28Gunn
  • 45Tomkinson
  • 46Gibbs
Referee:
Tim Robinson
Attendance:
19,969

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamNorwich
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home3
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home1
Away7
Fouls
Home16
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Cardiff City 1, Norwich City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Cardiff City 1, Norwich City 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Hugill (Norwich City).

  4. Post update

    Curtis Nelson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Mahlon Romeo.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Liam Gibbs (Norwich City).

  7. Post update

    Jamilu Collins (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Sam McCallum (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Mark Harris (Cardiff City).

  10. Post update

    Foul by Sam McCallum (Norwich City).

  11. Post update

    Tom Sang (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sam McCallum (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Jamilu Collins.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Jamilu Collins.

  15. Post update

    Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Mark Harris (Cardiff City).

  17. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Grant Hanley (Norwich City) for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Grant Hanley (Norwich City).

  19. Post update

    Mark Harris (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Onel Hernández replaces Dimitris Giannoulis.

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