Chopra double ensures Cardiff feel at home

Cardiff City 4 Scunthorpe United 0
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The Independent Football

Michael Chopra scored twice in the first half to christen Cardiff's new stadium and record an emphatic victory over Scunthorpe yesterday. The club record £4 million signing from Sunderland netted either side of a Jay Bothroyd effort as the Bluebirds ran riot with three goals inside 24 minutes in the opening period.

But manager Dave Jones refused to get carried away with the fine start to the season. "We rode our luck in the opening quarter but after that we played some good football and the team as a whole played well," he said. "It was a case of making sure we kept them out in the second half."

Chopra – back with the Welsh club after an unsuccessful two-year spell with the Black Cats – broke the deadlock after 21 minutes and struck again on the stroke of half-time. Peter Whittingham converted a late penalty to ensure Scunthorpe endured a miserable return to English football's second tier.

But for two early David Marshall saves to deny Gary Hooper and Martyn Woolford it would have been Scunthorpe who edged ahead, before Chopra punished the visitors for their profligacy. The striker linked up well with Whittingham before drilling low past Joe Murphy from just outside the penalty area.

Chopra was then unfortunate not to find the net again, striking the post from 18 yards with a right-foot effort.

That was only a brief respite though, as Bothroyd clinically doubled Cardiff's lead from close range following Joe Ledley's left-wing cross.

Whittingham blazed a 30-yard free-kick wide before Chopra struck again. This time it was Bothroyd who was the provider, allowing Chopra to rifle into the top corner of the net from 12 yards.

Murphy was required to pull off a point-blank save to keep out Chopra's close-range effort from another Ross McCormack corner after the restart.

Whittingham again went close from the edge of the area as Cardiff surged forward. With 10 minutes remaining, Grant McCann cleared an inswinging Whittingham corner off the line before Josh Wright tried his luck from 30 yards during a rare Scunthorpe attack.

McCormack went close late on before Whittingham completed the scoring in added time from the penalty spot after Ian Morris had fouled Chris Burke.

"We were given a hiding but the players must respond in the right way," said Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins.

Martyn Waghorn and Dany N'Guessan came off the bench to score debut goals and give Leicester a 2-1 winning start on their return to the Championship. Sunderland loanee Waghorn and N'Guessan were introduced by Nigel Pearson with the Foxes trailing to Swansea after an Ashley Williams' header, but both scored in a three-minute spell to turn the game on its head.

Until then, the Swans had looked like clinging on to the win to end their opening-day hoodoo – they have now lost their first game in the past four seasons – especially when goalkeeper Dorus de Vries saved a Steve Howard penalty.

Leicester looked bright early on, with summer signing Richie Wellens quickly impressing in the heart of midfield – but it was Swansea who took the lead after 17 minutes. Mark Gower's corner was delivered perfectly for the unmarked Williams to power home a header.

Fryatt and Andy King went off at the break to be replaced by debutants N'Guessan and Waghorn, and the impetus was quickly with the Foxes.

Despite Howard's penalty frustration the goal finally came midway through the second half when Lloyd Dyer broke down the left and squared for Waghorn, whose shot flicked off Garry Monk on its way in.

The Foxes completed the turnaround just three minutes later when Matt Oakley's corner was knocked back across goal by Howard for N'Guessan to net.