MX23RW : Saturday, February 23 05:41:39
Feb 9, 2019 at 3pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
Attendance: 31,438
Southampton
1-2
CardiffCardiff City
Stephens (91')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Bamba (69'), Zohore (93')

Bamba pays emotional tribute to Sala

Bamba pays emotional tribute to Sala
© Reuters
Cardiff players wore special shirts embroidered with a daffodil as a mark of respect for Emiliano Sala

Sol Bamba dedicated his goal and victory to Emiliano Sala after helping Cardiff beat Southampton on Saturday.

Cardiff were playing their first match since it was confirmed that Sala, the club's record signing, was killed in a plane crash.

Bamba dedicated his goal against Southampton to Sala
Bamba dedicated his goal against Southampton to Sala (Mark Kerton/PA)

The striker's body was recovered from underwater wreckage in the English Channel this week following a plane crash last month. Cardiff won 2-1 at St Mary's courtesy of an injury-time Kenneth Zohore strike.

Ivorian defender Bamba, whose goal celebrations were emotional after opening the scoring, told Sky Sports: "It has been a tough couple of weeks. We knew we had to give our all today. It wasn't easy but a performance like this was very pleasing.

Sala never played for Cardiff
Sala was Cardiff's record signing (Aaron Chown/PA)

"A lot of things were going through my mind. I knew Emiliano. I know he was looking up there. The victory and the goal is for him."

A minute's silence was held before the game, with players gathered around the centre circle while Sala's picture was displayed on the big screen.

Cardiff were given special permission to wear shirts embroidered with a yellow daffodil, the national emblem of Wales and the colour of Sala's former club Nantes. Players in matches across the Premier League wore black armbands.

Cardiff's players observe a minute's silence prior to the game at St Mary's Stadium
Cardiff's players observe a minute's silence prior to the game at St Mary's Stadium (Mark Kerton/PA)

Tributes were also paid to Sala throughout the Football League, among them Cardiff's great rivals Swansea, who held a minute's silence before their Sky Bet Championship home fixture with Millwall.

"Emiliano was a fabulous lad, and it's appropriate we came down with our black armbands on and put in a performance like that," said Cardiff manager Neil Warnock after his side's victory.

"We could easily have folded, but we were determined. We're limited, but you can't question their character and what they've got under their shirts because they've bags of heart."

Sala signed for Cardiff from Nantes in a club record £15million deal in January. He had been returning to the Welsh capital following a brief trip back to France when the private plane he was travelling in crashed into the sea.

Lincolnshire pilot David Ibbotson remains missing, with his family launching a fundraising appeal to find his body.

Nantes are planning a number of tributes to Sala around their Ligue 1 game against Nimes on Sunday. The club have already retired the number nine shirt in the popular forward's honour and all tickets for the game have been priced at nine euros.

Further tributes include players wearing special shirts, a minute's applause prior to the game and tarpaulin to be placed in the centre circle before kick-off and at half-time. No music will be played immediately before the game as supporters will be encouraged to sing their Sala chants.

Sala had scored 42 goals in 101 league games after joining Nantes in 2015.


Emiliano Sala plane disappearance - Click here for more stories

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Emiliano Sala in action for Nantes in late 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Watford2711793935440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham27106113540-536
10Everton2796123639-333
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2774162552-2725
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2745182661-3517
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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