Rickie Lambert

Cardiff 0-3 Southampton: Clincal finishes hand Saints first win in seven (video)

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Southampton easily dispatched Cardiff 3-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, as the Saints raced ahead early on.

A quick-fire double from Jay Rodriguez and a Rickie Lambert strike did the damage during 13 first half minutes, as Cardiff were stunned by the clinical finishing from the South Coast club.

Malky Mackay’s men tried to get back into the game, but Saints recorded a shutout and were unlucky not to extend their lead with several second half chances.

With the win Southampton move onto 27 points and stay ninth, while Cardiff are now just one point above the drop zone in 16th place.

After protests against Cardiff’s controversial owner Vincent Tan before the game, the Bluebirds struggled early on as Southampton took the game to the them and Rodriguez got in down the left but his touch failed him.

The Saints controlled possession but Cardiff should have gone ahead as Craig Noone found Peter Whittingham found completely unmarked in the box with a great right-wing cross, but the Englishman somehow volleyed over from close range.

That miss proved to be costly as Southampton went ahead in the 13th minute when Rodriguez grabbed his first. The England winger ghosted in at the back post to finish coolly after Adam Lallana had set him up perfectly with a sublime through ball.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 to the Saints, and that man Rodriguez bagged another after Lambert’s pinpoint ball again found Rodriguez at the back post and he finished calmly to send the South Coast club into dreamland.

(MORE: Boxing Day Roundup)

A few minutes later it was 3-0 to the Saints as Lambert pounced in the box to volley home his 99th league goal for Southampton to net Saints’ third goal in 13 minutes.

(MORE: Latest Premier League Standings)

After that Lambert had a chance to make it 4-0 but skewed his effort wide after a delightful ball, then Paolo Gazaaniga made a good stop from Jordon Mutch’s effort as Cardiff tried to get back into the game.

In the second half Cardiff bombarded Gazzaniga’s goal and put plenty of pressure on the Saints from set pieces as the Argentine ‘keeper somehow managed to claw the ball away from under his own bar. Despite the Bluebirds best efforts, Southampton looked incredibly dangerous on the break and could’ve gone further ahead with strikes from Steven Davis, Rodriguez and Luke Shaw all going close.

Saints saw out the win with ease as the traveling supporters were treated to about as comfortable an away win win as they’ll ever see.


Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor (John, 61), Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Kim, 81), Mutch, Noone; Odemwingie (Cornelius, 45), Campbell

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 80), Rodriguez (Ramirez, 86), Lambert (Gallagher, 93)

Goals: Rodriguez (14 &20), Lambert (27)

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)