Chopra has Bluebirds flying high
Chopra maintains scoring run as Cardiff climb to top spot
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: 23/08/09 4:11pm
Rae: Celebrates Cardiff's third
Cardiff climbed to the top of the Championship after claiming a convincing 3-0 win at home to Bristol City.
The Bluebirds took a deserved lead after an entertaining start as Jamie McCombe scored an own goal in the 37th minute.
Michael Chopra bagged his seventh goal in four league games on the stroke of half-time before Gavin Rae wrapped up the three points in the 66th minute, with both goals made by the impressive Chris Burke.
Victory moved Dave Jones' side level with Middlesbrough, Newcastle and West Brom on 10 points but top on goal difference.
Bristol City were also hoping to go joint top but slip to 10th after their unbeaten start came to an end in front of a bumper crowd at Cardiff's new stadium.
The Bluebirds started the game well and had the first meaningful chance with 14 minutes gone when Burke received the ball from Chopra and burst past McCombe and Bristol City goalkeeper Dean Gerken before Liam Fontaine got back to make a superb block.
Moments later Joe Ledley got on the end of Peter Whittingham's lofted ball into the box but Gerken got out quickly to make a good save.
Cardiff continued to push forward in search of the opener and a poor clearance from Gerken fell straight to Paul Quinn, who tried his luck from 45 yards, only for Gerken to track back and make a fine save.
However, the visitors did not escape minutes later when Burke flicked the ball to young full-back Adam Matthews deep on the right and his low cross was inadvertently diverted into his own net by the luckless McCombe.
The Robins skipper nearly made amends almost immediately when he got on the end of Jamie McAllister's free-kick but David Marshall made a superb full-stretch save to keep out his glancing header before Marvin Elliott fired the rebound against the outside of the post.
Cardiff made the visitors pay for that missed opportunity with half-time approaching when Burke made a jinking run past three Robins players in the middle before playing in Chopra, who took one touch before lifting the ball wide of Gerken with the outside of his right foot.
The Bluebirds' strike pair Jay Bothroyd and Chopra were causing the Robins no end of problems, but the visitors gradually came back into it, with half-time substitute John Akinde nodding down for Nicky Maynard to sting the hands of Marshall with a powerful 20-yard volley.
Yet just as Gary Johnson's men were threatening to pull a goal back, Cardiff grabbed the crucial third goal when Burke embarked on another fine run from the right and delivered a perfectly-weighted pass for the run of Rae, who slotted past Gerken and inside the far post.
Akinde tested Marshall late on but Cardiff comfortably held on for a thoroughly deserved victory.
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||34||60|
|7||Brighton and Hove Albion||34||53|