Cardiff City 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hosts miss two stoppage time penalties to put Wolves on brink of title

Cardiff City 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hosts miss two stoppage time penalties to put Wolves on brink of title

Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Cardiff City 1-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium to extend their lead at the top of the Championship table.

Jamie Joslyn

A Ruben Neves free kick gave Wolves a 1-0 win at Cardiff City to move them within sight of promotion after the Bluebirds missed two penalties in stoppage time. 

Neves proves the difference

Unsuprisingly this battle of the clear top two in the Championship this season was a tight affair and went down right to the final kick of the ball, but before the late drama a moment of brilliance from Wolves' star man this season provided the only goal of the contest. 

For the second time in the space of a couple of second half minutes Neves took aim for a free kick within 30 yards of goal. The former FC Porto man had blazed a more central kick over the bar just after the hour mark, but just a few minutes later and with a kick to the left of the box, Neves went with a more delicate technique and found the bottom left corner despite Neil Etheridge getting a hand on the ball in the Cardiff goal.

Dramatic finish

Cardiff a direct team at the best of times were having to go route one with the game in the 93rd minute and they were rewarded after Conor Coady bundled over Anthony Pilkington in the box. Substitute Gary Madine stepped up to take the penalty, but saw his placed effort saved by John Ruddy low to his left and that surely had to be Cardiff's last chance.

However, just two minutes later and with seconds left of the five minutes of stoppage time, Cardiff were awarded another penalty after Wolves replacement Ivan Cavailero went diving in on Aaron Gunnarsson just inside the box on the right wing. This time Junior Hoilett was the player to step up on the spot, but despite producing a more convincing right foot strike, he saw his effort cannon back off the crossbar.

Both keepers on form

This game was hardly a stalemate despite the fact only one goal was actually scored and there was an equal balance of chances for both sides throughout the game. Etheridge in the Cardiff goal was called into action early on after he first denied Neves from distance in the 7th minute before beating away a Diogo Jota strike from inside the box just a minute later.

Ruddy would also make some nice stops in the first half keeping out a deflected Keneth Zohore effort and a swerving Yanic Wildschut free kick from distance. Ruddy would have less to do in the second half, but of course he popped up when it mattered by keeping out the first Cardiff penalty from Madine with a good save low to his left.

Wolves also had some chances to kill off the game before the late drama, especially for substitiute Helder Costa who got through on goal before placing a clear one on one chance wide of the left post. 

Wolves close to the title while Cardiff now looking nervy

The win for Nuno Espirito Santo's side has put them nine points clear of Cardiff at the top of the league and they could well have been promoted in two games time. As for Cardiff they could end up finishing the weekend just two points clear of third place if Fulham win their game on Saturday, the Bluebirds do still have a game in hand over those teams behind them.