Cardiff City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday: Owls get off to a perfect start in South Wales
Jordan Rhodes of Sheffield Wednesday rises with Will Vaulks of Cardiff City (Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images)

Despite mustering just 28 per cent of possession in the opening 45, Sheffield Wednesday found themselves in the driving seat early on with a fierce strike from Josh Windass inside 4 minutes.

Jordan Rhodes made life more comfortable for Garry Monk and co. when on 44 minutes he stabbed home after a Windass flick on.

The hosts failed to trouble Cameron Dawson for the majority of the 90 minutes as The Owls move onto minus nine points.

 

  • Story of the game

Sheffield Wednesday started the game a different beast to the side we became accustomed to seeing last season, within four minutes Josh Windass got off the mark for the season. 

Izzy Brown was the creator as he cut out a loose ball from Cardiff City's Leandro Bacuna and set Windass in on goal in the process. Windass was on it in a flash and made no mistake with a firm finish into the bottom corner, the perfect start.

Neil Harris would have been encouraged however, by his side's response to falling behind early on, just five minutes later a wicked cross by Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu was almost turned into his own net by Joost Van Aken.

Proceedings remained fairly even throughout the first half, while The Bluebirds controlled possession, the visitors continued to pose problems on the break.

Just after the half hour mark, Matt Penney fed Windass again who this time chopped inside and set his sights with a curling effort that needed the fingertips of Alex Smithies to prevent his second of the game.

Then, a minute shy of the interval Wednesday put themselves in pole position for the win. Barry Bannan's free kick was diverted back across the box by Dominic Iorfa, flicked on by Windass onto the boot of his strike partner Jordan Rhodes, who beat Sean Morrison to the ball for his first goal since December.

On the stroke of half-time, City's £2million summer signing Kieffer Moore could have halved the deficit but he could only glance his header wide of the upright.

Half time: Cardiff City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday (Windass 4', Rhodes 44')

Much of the second 45 minutes passed by without major incidents. 

On 70 minutes Moore latched onto a Will Vaulks long ball, his flick on was volleyed by Morrison but without the ferocity needed to beat Cameron Dawson who parried behind.

Elias Kachunga was then introduced into the action to make his Owls debut. It didn't take long for him to make his mark when he beat the Cardiff defence to Kadeem Harris' cross, although his header was directed straight down the throat of Smithies.

Minutes later Kachunga played a lovely one two with Bannan who delivered a precise reverse pass into his new team-mates path. Kachunga looked to have just Smithies to beat but skipper Morrison recovered well and blocked the former Huddersfield Town man's effort.

Cardiff remained bereft of ideas and creativity for the final stages and failed to trouble the Wednesday stopper throughout the final 10 minutes of the contest. 

Full time: Cardiff City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday (Windass 4', Rhodes 44')

  • Takeaways from the game.

 

Windass and Rhodes off to a flyer:

While the former proved his worth during last season's loan spell, scoring three times in his nine appearances. He get his early goal but was also on hand to assist his strike partner 40 minutes later. Rhodes meanwhile, is a man desperate for goals after scoring seldom in his time at Hillsborough, his last coming back in December at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest where he bagged a hat-trick. Both will take immense confidence from finding the target in the season opener. All at Sheffield Wednesday will be hoping to see more goals from the pair as Elias Kachunga remains the only other forward option, all three did their bit today in a superb performance all round. 

 

Cardiff toothless in attack

Despite shelling out big money for big front man Moore, Harris' side looked short of a plan B when the direct ball to the Welsh international failed to pay off in the first half. Hence the introduction of fellow big man Robert Glatzel in the second half, but still little threat was posed to the Wednesday goal. Captain Sean Morrison went closest with his 70th minute volley come stab at goal. More creativity will certainly be on the menu for Neil Harris, a fully fit Lee Tomlin may be all they need.

 

Togetherness key for Wednesday

The whole club seems to have adopted a siege mentality post points deduction. With many tipping The Owls to finish stone dead last or fail to escape the clutches of relegation an early three points were crucial and that's what happened, emphatically. The whole group embraced in a huddle after the final whistle, which may be a sign of things to come, the togetherness is evident. In complete contrast to the feeling around the place last season, this group which has had many fresh faces added to it over the summer, will fight to get the club out of the situation it faces this season. 

 

  • Man of the Match: Izzy Brown

The Chelsea loan man has looked bright in his first three games in Wednesday colours and looked right at home in his first Championship clash. Alert from the off to create the opener and remained a crucial cog in the attacking department of the midfield engine room. 

 

  • View from the dugout.

Neil Harris speaking to Cardiff City TV: "We didn't have enough ideas or creativity against a very resolute Sheffield Wednesday side.

"Trying to get back into the game, we didn't show enough quality to break down a back seven – their five man defence and two holding midfielders.

"Ultimately, if we're not going to show the quality in games like that, then they need to be 0-0. 

"That's where we fell short today. We were architects of our own downfall. That was the difference and in the Championship you'll get punished for that."

Garry Monk spoke to swfc.co.uk: “It’s one game from 46, that’s all. It’s a great start and that’s the marker, and we have to keep it going.

“I was proud of the performance and I don’t think it could have gone much better. We were excellent with the ball and just as importantly we worked so hard without the ball.

“Cardiff are a good side and we came here with a plan to win the game and the players executed that plan, so credit to them.”

  • Teams

Cardiff City: Smithies; Osei-Tutu, Morrison (c), Nelson, Bennett; Vaulks, Bacuna, Ojo (Tomlin 64'), Ralls (Murphy 58'), Hoilett (Glatzel 58'); Moore

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Iorfa, Lees, Van Aken; Harris, Luongo, Brown, Bannan, Penney (Palmer 78'); Rhodes (Reach 66'), Windass (Kachunga 70')

 

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