A historic matchup began cagey but ended furiously as Steven Caulker’s bullet header earned Cardiff City the victory in the first-ever South Wales derby in the top flight.
Swansea begun on top at Cardiff City, but like Spurs could not muster a serious amount of definitive strikes on goal.
It took Cardiff a while to finally make their way into the Swansea half, but once they finally did, they slowly gained a stronger grip on possession. Gary Medel was a key cog in the Cardiff buildup, and the midfield work by the Bluebirds finally forced Swansea to do some defending by the 25th minute.
Angel Rangel, who made some disparaging prematch comments on Cardiff’s signing of Medel, was key in the Swansea defense as Cardiff pushed further forward.
With both teams appearing to be playing timidly, the snoozer of a first half came to an end with nothing much to show for it.
Things opened up a bit in the second half as rain slowly increased. The first real chance fell to the home side in the 54th minute, with a great ball sent into the box for Craig Bellamy, who headed back to the center of the 6-yard box where Don Cowie was waiting, but Cowie just missed the header.
Finally, seemingly out of nowhere, the deadlock was broken in the 62nd minute. Cardiff won a corner, and former Swan Steven Caulker rose high above Chico Flores for a towering header and directed it past both Michel Vorm and Jonjo Shelvey into the net.
The goal erupted Cardiff City Stadium to life, and brought new life to the dull match on both ends.
Swansea were dealt a blow just after the goal as Michu was forced off with an ankle injury. He had been off on the sidelines for some time adjusting his boots before returning, only to be substituted off after the goal, and he headed straight for the tunnel.
Swansea looked their brightest while fighting back from a goal down, but Cardiff continued to exert their full energy to keep the lead. Substitute Frazier Campbell had a great opportunity from close range in the 81st minute. His first attempt was blocked by Chico, and although Campbell worked hard for a follow-up, it came from a tight angle and Vorm saved comfortably.
The visitors continued to push in the rain, with Jonathan de Guzman putting a good header on goal in the 87th minute, but David Marshall saved well. Numbers continued to fly forward from the Swans, with Pozuelo testing Marshall just before added time.
But the biggest blow to Swansea would come in stoppage time. A long ball found Frazier Campbell, and Michel Vorm came out of the 18-yard box to challenge, with all numbers forward and no defenders back. Vorm stuck his foot high to challenge and Campbell went down, earning the Swansea goalkeeper a straight red card.
With all substitutes used, defender Angel Rangel went into goal and was immediately tested from the free kick, turning the ball over the bar well, impressively even for a defender.
That was the end of Swansea though, and Cardiff saw the game out. The three points for Malky Mackay and Cardiff are massive, taking them from 17th to 12th in the table and jumping Swansea in the process.
Cardiff City – Caulker 63′
Cardiff City – Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham; Medel (Kim, 88′), Mutch, Cowie, Theophile-Catherine; Bellamy, Odemwingie (Campbell, 75′).
Swansea City – Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico Flores, Taylor; Britton (Pozuelo, 71′), Shelvey, De Guzman, Routledge (Vasquez, 81′), Dyer; Michu (Bony, 65′).