U21 Report: Cardiff City U21 2-0 SAFC U21

Cardiff City U21 2-0 SAFC U21

Sunderland Under-21s bowed out of the Premier League Cup with one group game to spare on Wednesday, going down 2-0 to an experienced Cardiff City side in South Wales.

Rubin Colwill and James Crole netted either side of half-time for the hosts, albeit with question marks over the final touch for the second goal.

The young Lads have now rounded off 2022 and will play their first match of the New Year against Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 5, a rearranged final Group H contest at Eppleton.

The game began openly and chances were created for both sides, as Jacob Carney made a number of saves to keep Cardiff at bay.

The goalkeeper denied Crole from six yards out with a great reaction stop, after Ollie Tanner had struck wide.

Connor Pye made a vital clearance off the line early on in the half, before Ethan Kachosa intercepted Tanner’s shot after he had beaten Carney to a long forward pass.

From Sunderland’s perspective against an experienced Cardiff side, the young Lads showed initiative in attack as Ellis Taylor was denied by goalkeeper Rohan Luthra, and Michael Spellman fired just off target at the end of the half.

This came after the crucial moment of the first half – on 33 minutes – when the hosts won a free-kick after Tom Chiabi was penalised and booked for a challenge from which he looked to play the ball.

Welsh international Colwill stepped up and caught Sunderland out from the set-play, firing in a right-footed shot at the near post to give Cardiff the lead.

The second half saw a cagier contest with fewer goalmouth opportunities, Pye striking over from outside the area with Sunderland’s first attempt of the 45.

But it was to be Cardiff who doubled their lead midway through the second period. Crole had already been denied by an important block from Cameron Jessup earlier in the half, and this time made no mistake as he went through and rolled it into the net – the last touch possibly coming from Ben Crompton.

A Bluebirds side with many first-team appearances between them looked smooth and assured, the two-goal buffer helping in no small part, but the Lads’ defence continued to work hard and Crompton made a strong block to thwart Jack Leahy’s fierce strike.

The game ebbed out to a final 2-0 scoreline, as the youngsters recharge over the Christmas period before looking to exit the competition on a high against Wolves to kick off 2023.

SAFC U21: Carney ©; Kachosa, Jessup, Crompton, Pye; Scott, Chiabi (Sohna 57’); Taylor, Robinson (Burke 78’), Spellman (Wilson 78’); Gardiner.

Subs not used: Richardson, Newall.

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