Cardiff City 1 - 2 Watford. Match Report

Last updated : 03 November 2022 By BBC Sport

Set-pieces proved key in south Wales as Watford came from behind to beat Cardiff City 2-1, with all three goals scored from corners.


The Bluebirds' early pressure was rewarded as the unmarked Cedric Kipre headed in from Joe Ralls' corner.

Watford deservedly levelled as their own towering centre-back, Francisco Sierralta, got on the end of Ken Sema's corner to head past Ryan Allsop.

The ever-dangerous Ismaila Sarr scored the winner with his shoulder.

Cardiff almost found a late equaliser when Jaden Philogene and Sheyi Ojo combined well before the former Liverpool man burst into the Watford box, only for his chance to be smothered by Hornets keeper Daniel Bachmann.

Victory moves Watford up into the Championship play-off places while Cardiff drop a place to 18th.

After putting south Wales derby defeat behind them with victory over Rotherham, Cardiff took the game to Watford in the opening stages.

Austria international goalkeeper Bachmann attempted to turn away from the onrushing Mark Harris two minutes in and almost gifted Cardiff the perfect start, but eventually did just enough to clear.

Edo Kayembe's back pass was then under hit but Bachmann was off his line quickly enough to deny Callum O'Dowda.

Cardiff's pressure eventually told as William Troost-Ekong lost Kipre and the West Bromwich Albion loanee claimed the Bluebirds' first goal direct from a corner this season.

The Hornets responded well and a nice corner routine led to Joao Pedro shooting through a crowd of bodies, his effort came off the post before Mario Gaspar's deflected follow-up was cleared off the line by Kipre.

Cardiff's Mahlon Romeo, back in the starting 11 after injury, looked to play a ball across his own area which was picked up by Pedro, but his tame effort was easily saved Allsop.

Dan Gosling was next to go close, curling an effort wide from the edge of the area, before Watford were finally rewarded for their dominance.

In similar fashion to Cardiff's opener, Watford's Chilean international defender Sierralta rose highest to head home Sema's corner to claim his first goal of season.

The travelling fans sensed another goal before half-time, and it almost came when Sema's low effort forced a smart save by Allsop.

Back in the starting side after his winner against Rotherham, Philogene got the better of Sierralta early in the second half, twisting and turning into the Watford box before forcing a diving save from Bachmann.

At the other end the returning Gaspar's delivery was completely misread by Allsop, who came rushing out of his area only to be caught in no man's land. Luckily for Cardiff's goalkeeper, Vakoun Bayo could not stretch far enough to make contact.

Watford continued to threaten, especially from set-pieces, and Sierralta almost had a second but failed to make clear contact with a header.

An increasingly frustrated home crowd watched on as Cardiff failed to keep possession.

Watford were almost gifted a second when a long bouncing ball was not dealt with by Cardiff, but Pedro could not get the ball under his spell despite Allsop's initial fumble.

But Watford were not made to wait much longer, as Sarr got on the end of Sema's delivery, and despite not knowing much about it, turned the ball home for his sixth goal of the campaign.

Cardiff interim manager Mark Hudson had seen enough and made three changes, bringing on Kion Etete, Romaine Sawyers and Ojo.

The Bluebirds were better after the changes, and Philogene almost scored his second spectacular goal in a week but, after beating three Watford defenders, watched as his shot drifted wide.

Troost-Ekong drilled a long-range free-kick wide of the post as Watford continued to threaten on the break, while Ryan Wintle and Philogene saw efforts deflected behind.

Cardiff continued to be patient in their build-up play as they searched for a late reply, and they almost found one as Ojo was denied.

Five minutes of injury time meant a nervy finish for the visitors, with the Watford technical area crowded at all times by Slaven Bilic's staff appealing for every decision, but the Hornets held on for a third successive win.

Cardiff City: Allsop, Romeo (Watters 90'), Wintle, Ralls ©, O’Dowda (Ojo 68'), Kipré, Philogene, Harris (Etete 68'), Rinomhota (Sawyers 68'), Nkounkou, Ng. Subs not used: Sang, Nelson, Alnwick.

Watford: Bachmann, Gaspar, Ekong ©, Pedro, Sema (Asprilla 90'), Kamara, Gosling, Bayo (Hungbo 79'), Sarr (Kabasele 90'), Sierralta, Kayembe. Subs not used: Okoye, Dele-Bashiru, Pollock, Morris.