Match Analysis: Southampton 0-1 Cardiff City

Juan Cala of Cardiff celebrtaes after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Southampton on April 12, 2014
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Sports Mole analyses the action from Southampton's defeat to Cardiff City on Saturday.

Cardiff City kept their Premier League survival hopes alive with a 1-0 win at Southampton this afternoon.

Despite being on the back foot for much of the game, the Bluebirds improved in the second half to secure three points.

Defender Cala scored midway through the second half before David Marshall pulled off a couple of excellent saves to keep Southampton out.

Sports Mole takes a closer look at the action to see if the result was a fair one.

Match statistics

Southampton
Shots: 19
On target: 7
Possession: 68%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 9

Cardiff City
Shots: 6
On target: 4
Possession: 32%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 7

Was the result fair?

This match is a difficult one to asses in terms of fairness. Southampton clearly had the majority of possession and many more shots. However, Marshall only had to make two saves of note and for all their possession, Southampton never got in behind the Cardiff defence. The visitors could have even nicked a second late on but a draw would have been a fair reflection of the game.

Southampton's performance

Southampton started the game well and were probably surprised at how much space they were getting in midfield during the first half. They regretted not taking advantage of this though, and despite hitting the crossbar with a deflected effort and producing a few nice passes around the box, the hosts rarely tested the goalkeeper when they should have. In the second half, as Cardiff improved, the likes of Gaston Ramirez and Adam Lallana faded, and Southampton ran out of ideas.

Cardiff City's performance

Cardiff's performance was a poor one for large parts of the first half. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was seen waving his side forward as they surrendered space in midfield time and again. Despite this, they defended well, and quite comfortably, in the first half before improving a lot in the second. After the break they were a lot braver and following Cala's excellent goal, it was a pretty even game.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Cala: There weren't too many who spring to mind, but Cala was one player who kept his performance consistently high throughout the game. He took his goal like an accomplished striker, before going back to his day job and keeping Southampton out well as their onslaught began in the final 10 minutes.

Biggest gaffe

There weren't too many gaffes in this game but if there was one, it would have to be Ramirez. The Uruguayan just let the ball hit him rather than trying to control it, or flick it towards goal, after being played in by Lallana with the score at 0-0.

Referee performance

Jon Moss had very little to do today. He turned down a decent penalty shout for Southampton just before half time and stopped the game a couple of times when he could have let play continue, but overall it was a competent performance.

What next?

Southampton: The Saints are simply playing out the remainder of the season now. They will want to secure a top-10 finish, and break their record of wins in a Premier League campaign, needing one more, but they're not going to get relegated and they're not going to qualify for Europe.

Cardiff City: Cardiff will really want to use this result as a springboard. Nobody gave them much of a chance today and with games against Stoke City and Sunderland coming up, they will feel that with a bit of luck, they could just manage to escape relegation. However, they still need other results to go their way.

Juan Cala of Cardiff celebrtaes after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Southampton on April 12, 2014
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