Sheffield United 1-0 Cardiff City: Iliman Ndiaye header keeps Blades play-off hopes alive

Sheffield United 1-0 Cardiff City: Iliman Ndiaye header keeps Blades play-off hopes alive


Paul Heckingbottom was appointed manager of Sheffield United in November 2021 following the departure of Slavisa Jokanovic

Iliman Ndiaye’s second-half header secured all three points for the play-off chasing Sheffield United against Cardiff City at Bramall Lane.

The Bluebirds had the best chance of the first half, when Max Watters’ tame effort was saved by Wes Foderingham despite a clear goal.

Just two minutes into the restart, Morgan Gibbs-White found space on the left and crossed for an unmarked Ndiaye to head home from six yards out.

Sander Berge had a chance to seal the win deep in injury time, but his right-footed curling effort crashed into the post.

The Blades remain in sixth place with the win, but extend their advantage over the chasing pack to four points.

Cardiff slip two places to 19th, but are already assured of a Premiership football next season; Peterborough joining Barnsley and Derby in League One next season after losing to Nottingham Forest.

The visitors started strong and Sheffield’s back three looked shaky every time the Bluebirds advanced.

Oliver Denham’s long ball to Jordan Hugill was first played smartly to Watters, who beat the final defender to fire a weak left-footed shot straight at Foderingham.

The Blades keeper almost gave Cardiff the opener minutes later, his mishandled clearance hitting Watters on the edge of the penalty area but the Bluebirds striker couldn’t control the ball.

The first sight of Sheffield’s goal came after 14 minutes, as Ben Osborn’s low volley leapt from the box but was saved well by Dillon Phillips in the Cardiff goal.

Berge’s run from deep surprised the sleeping Bluebirds defense as the hosts took control of the game, but Phillips was again up to the task.

Berge had Sheffield’s best chance in the first half, his neat spin freeing him up in the Cardiff box with Cody Drameh treated for injury, but once again Phillips was on hand to tip the effort around the post.

The Blades opened the scoring early in the second half when Perry Ng and substitute Mark McGuinness lost Ndiaye and allowed him to drift into space and power a header home.

That goal energized the hosts and lifted the home crowd, who had been quieter than usual during the first half as the nerves from the play-offs played their part.

Sheffield continued to run around the Bluebirds, but despite their dominance they struggled to find clear openings.

A long throw from Will Vaulks nearly gave Cardiff an equalizer against the run of play, as Joel Bagan swung in at the end, but Foderingham stood tall to deny it.

Sheffield brought in the Championship’s all-time top scorer Billy Sharp as they searched for a second, and moments after he arrived the veteran striker thought he had won a penalty, but referee Oliver Langford dismissed the appeals.

Cardiff improved in the final quarter with the introduction of Rubin Colwill having an impact, but the Bluebirds failed to carve out a clear chance to equalise.

The Blades almost made the hit two minutes into added time when Berge was sent free by Sharp, his effort beat Phillips but the post came to Cardiff’s rescue.

That didn’t matter though, as Sheffield held on to secure three crucial points and keep their play-off aspirations in their hands.

Alignments

Sheff United

Training 3-4-2-1

  • 18Foderingham
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 19Robinson
  • 23Osborn
  • 16norwoodBooked at 67 mins
  • 4Stain
  • 3Steve
  • 8Bank
  • 27Gibbs-White
  • 29NdiayeReplaced bySharpto 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Davies
  • tenSharp
  • 22Davies
  • 24Hourihane
  • 25Uremovic
  • 32Osula
  • 33Norrington Davies

Cardiff

Training 3-4-1-2

  • 1Phillips
  • 38NgBooked at 71 mins
  • 16Nelson
  • 42Denham
  • 17DramehReplaced byMcGuinessto 45′minutesBooked at 60 minutes
  • 15wintle
  • 8RalliesReplaced byVaulksto 45′minutes
  • 3BaganBooked at 57 mins
  • 22Doyle
  • 9hugil
  • 23wattsReplaced byColwillto 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2McGuiness
  • 5Flint
  • 6Vaulks
  • tenIkpeazu
  • 27Colwill
  • 29Mr. Harris
  • 43luthra

Arbitrator:
Olivier Langford

Presence:
26,802

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