The weekend’s Premier League action kicked off at the Cardiff City Stadium with a goalless yet intriguing encounter as Cardiff welcomed Newcastle United. Despite some late penalty drama, neither side was able to register on the score sheet.
The Magpies had to play the last quarter of the game with 10 men but spurned the opportunity in the last minute as Kenedy saw his penalty saved by Cardiff goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge. All in all, a draw was arguably a fair result.
Neil Warnock made four changes to his side after last week’s defeat against Bournemouth. Striker Kenneth Zohore recovered from a minor groin problem and was joined by new signings Josh Murphy, Victor Camarsa, and Harry Arter. The personnel to drop to the bench were Bobby Reid, Callum Paterson and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. Right-back Lee Peltier was not even in the squad as Sol Bamba completed the back four.
Newcastle made just the one change following their opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Javier Manquillo came in for the injured DeAndre Yedlin, who damaged his knee against Spurs last Saturday.
Both sides were looking for their first win of the season, and three points would have been especially important for Newcastle, who play Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal next in the league.
The game began in a scrappy manner, with neither side seizing any kind of initiative. Cardiff were using their target-man Zohore well, who was holding up play effectively.
Striker Ayoze Perez was looking quite lively for the Magpies, and so was Josh Murphy for the home side. The first real chance of the game arrived from a set piece, as Bamba failed to make the most of his header and Perez blocked. The Newcastle forward was then involved at the other end as his effort was smartly saved by Etheridge.
The impressive Murphy played in Zohore but he failed to muster a worthy attempt. The Newcastle left-back, Javier Manquillo, was enduring a tough time against Murphy and he was duly booked after he brought down the winger multiple times.
Speaking of bookings, Kenedy was lucky to miss one after he intentionally kicked out at Camarasa behind referee Craig Pawson’s back.
Jonjo Shelvey had had a quiet game but his glorious pass in the 40th minutes presented a chance to Perez but Etheridge came up trumps once again.
Rafa Benitez made one change at half-time as Isaac Hayden came on for the beleaguered Manquillo. After the interval, Cardiff started brightly, as Bamba headed over from Bennett’s cross. The home side’s play was sprightly and Zohore’s ball in was heroically cleared by Shelvey with Camarasa lurking behind.
Newcastle’s afternoon took a turn for the worse as Hayden was sent off for a foul on Murphy after a debatable call by Pawson. Interestingly, Newcastle sent on Jacob Murphy, Josh’s identical twin. It was just the second time a pair of twins had lined up against each other in the Premier League. The others being Will and Michael Keane. Nice piece of trivia, right?
Benitez changed the formation, as his troops lined up with a back three for more solidity. Despite posing more threat, Cardiff failed to take advantage of the extra man.
In the sixth and final minute of stoppage time, the Magpies earned a penalty after a handball by Sean Morrison. After a terrible overall performance, it was Kenedy who decided to take it. His weak penalty was easily saved by Etheridge and referee Pawson blew up for full time immediately after. A crazy end to what was a relatively lukewarm game of Premier League football.
Cardiff travel to Huddersfield next time around and Newcastle will face a tough task at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.