Tempers flared, tackles flew in and Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie appeared to be having a right old time of it in the away end at the Cardiff City Stadium, but ultimately the South Wales derby between Cardiff and Swansea ended goalless.
One of the game's best chances fell to Wayne Routledge within the first 15 minutes, but the former Cardiff man could not keep his half volley from close range down.
The hosts enjoyed the better of the opening 25 minutes. A wicked free kick from Marlon Pack was met by the head of Robert Glatzel, but Swansea keeper Freddie Woodman got down quickly to push the ball out for a corner. Moments later, Lee Tomlin flashed a dangerous delivery across the face of goal, but lunging Swansea centre-back Ben Cabango turned the ball behind.
Despite Cardiff creating the better opportunities in the opening stages, it was Swansea who came closest to breaking the deadlock. George Byers won the ball in the middle of the park and launched a counter attack. He played in Bersant Celina, but the attacking midfielder's curling shot clipped the inside of the post.
The woodwork was rattled again in the second half, as Josh Murphy found the head of fellow substitute Callum Paterson. However, the crossbar denied the hosts the lead and the deadlock remained unbroken.
Key Talking Point
The Bluebirds stifled Swansea in the first half, forcing the visitors to go long and preventing them from playing their usual slick football. The hosts actually had more of the ball in the first half; a real rarity when coming up against Swansea. As they have throughout the season, Cardiff looked a threat from set pieces.
However, the Bluebirds lacked a little bit of quality in the final third. Lee Tomlin, who has four goals and six assists in the Championship this season, did not see as much of the ball as he would have liked and was unable to exert his usual creative influence.
Cardiff City: Smithies; Peltier, Morrison (C), Nelson, Bennett; Pack, Bacuna; Whyte (Murphy 70), Tomlin, Hoilett; Glatzel (Paterson 70)
Subs: Etheridge, Flint, Richards, Vaulks, Ward
STAR MAN: Joe Bennett
The left back did a fantastic job man marking Andre Ayew out of the game. Ayew has had an excellent season, but Bennett ensured he hardly got a sniff on Sunday afternoon. The 29-year-old was also a threat going forward, bombing down the left flank all game.
I always think that Joe Bennett at Cardiff is a good player. Decent full back. Ideal replacement for Robinson— CityGroundShelfSide (@CityGroundShelf) January 12, 2020
When are we going to sort out the overlap on the left? Joe Bennett has 4/5 crosses now.— Curz (@GCurzon) January 12, 2020
Key Talking Point
Swansea struggled to find their rhythm in the opening half an hour, with Cardiff disrupting the Swans' normal fluid, possession based football in a scrappy game.
Despite not seeing as much of the ball as they are accustomed to, the Swans always looked a threat on the break. However, much like Lee Tomlin for Cardiff, the likes of Routledge, Celina and Ayew - normally so dangerous - were kept relatively quiet. Rhian Brewster, the Swans' new loan signing from Liverpool, was left to feed off scraps.
Swansea City: Woodman; Roberts, Cabango, Wilmot, Naughton; Byers, Grimes (C); Ayew, Celina, Routledge; Brewster.
Subs: Nordfeldt, Guehi, Bidwell, Fulton, Dhanda, Kalulu, Borja.
STAR MAN: Ben Cabango
Amid the blood, thunder and chaos of the South Wales derby, Ben Cabango remained cool, calm and collected in the heart of the Swansea defence. The 19-year-old was solid, tenacious and composed at the back, and put in a crucial last ditch tackle in the dying minutes when Lee Tomlin looked to be away, demonstrating great strength and speed. The derby day hype did not get the better of the young centre-back.
That Cabango looks quality— Chris (@chapz_89) January 12, 2020
Ben Cabango MOTM for me. Absolutely perfect display— Daniel Tate (@danielrobintate) January 12, 2020
No goals, defences on top and a mature display from Swansea's Ben Cabango. Good news for Wales.— Phil Blanche (@philblanche) January 12, 2020
Cardiff travel to Carlisle on Wednesday for their FA Cup third round replay, before facing Birmingham at St Andrew's in the Championship the following weekend, a side they beat 4-2 earlier in the season.
Swansea host the Championship's second bottom side Wigan next Saturday. The Swans scored a 92nd minute winner when the two sides met in November.
Referee: Tony Harrington
Source : 90min