Cardiff City 2 Norwich City 1 match report: Wilfried Zaha comes off bench to provide spark for Cardiff’s vital revival

Bluebirds had trailed after Robert Snodgrass's early opener but deadline day signing Zaha tees up Bellamy to equalise before Kenwyne Jones nets the winner

Cardiff City Stadium

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Cardiff manager, admitted that Wilfried Zaha inspired his side to a much-needed victory over Norwich which lifted the Welsh club off the bottom of the Premier League.

Zaha, on loan from Manchester United for the rest of the season, was handed his debut off the substitutes bench for Peter Whittingham after just 38 minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Cardiff were trailing to Robert Snodgrass’ fifth-minute opener, but the 21-year-old lit up the Welsh capital with an impressive display of pace, directness and a composure which resulted in Solskjaer’s side drawing level four minutes after the interval.

Craig Bellamy was on the receiving end and the former Norwich striker tucked the ball under the body of John Ruddy and it trickled over the line. But the quality in the move came from Zaha as his perfectly weighted pass handed Bellamy the chance to score for his seventh top-flight club – a Premier League record.

Then, only 73 seconds later, Cardiff nudged ahead courtesy of Kenwyne Jones’ winner. The former Stoke striker hooked the ball home at the second attempt following a dangerous centre by Craig Noone.

Yet, all the talk after the final whistle was about the difference that Zaha made – and how United’s manager, David Moyes, could have done with him in their defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

Solskjaer said: “Sometimes you just have to make decisions and do what you think is right. I felt it was right to bring Wilf on, it lifted the crowd and the players. We needed a lift. It could have been anyone I took off. I didn’t have too many doubts.

“It maybe frightened the Norwich defenders because he is such a great and exciting talent.

“Going forward, he is one of the best I’ve seen. Defensively, I’ve got a few hours’ teaching ahead of me. But he’s a young lad and you want him to give us what he can do.

“That’s what he can do – lift us like he did today. It was a fantastic weighted pass and great timed run by Bellars and he slotted it nicely. It was a great debut.”

In truth, Cardiff also had their goalkeeper, David Marshall, to thank for a string of stunning saves to keep Chris Hughton’s men at bay. Bradley Johnson, Leroy Fer and Nathan Redmond were all denied by the talents of the Scotland goalkeeper.

Norwich’s manager  Hughton said: “I am wondering how we got nothing out of the game. We conceded two very poor goals in a game where I felt we were comfortable enough in the first half as the away side, and if our final pass had been better we might have been able to get another goal.

“At 1-0 we were comfortable but to give away the two goals we did, at the time we did changes the atmosphere in the stadium.

“The crowd were fairly quiet in that first half and that was down to the effect we had on the game.

“For a side that had taken a knock like that we responded very well after that, but their goalkeeper, as he did at Carrow Road, made some super saves. We also hit the woodwork a couple of times and had a couple of goals disallowed. So I cannot fault the desire and effort of the players to get the goals and we missed some chances but how we did not win that game I do not know.”

For Solskjaer, this was his first league win as Cardiff’s manager since taking over the reins from Malky Mackay.

Solskjaer added: “I was sat there watching the West Ham/Swansea match and I saw the Sunderland result so that made it even more important for us to get three points. We wanted a fresh, bright start, but we didn’t get that. We started slowly. Maybe I should give my half-time team talk before the game.”

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Marshall; Fabio 6 (Theophile-Catherine, 74), Caulker, Turner, John; Whittingham (Zaha 38), Medel, Mutch (Gunnarsson, 67), Noone; Bellamy, Jones.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson (Fer, 75), Gutierrez (Redmond, 75); Elmander (Van Wolfswinkel, 75), Hooper.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: Zaha (Cardiff)

Match rating: 7/10

 

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week