Championship - Cardiff hit heights after Leeds rout

Mon, 25 Oct 21:34:00 2010

Title hopefuls Cardiff City thumped sorry Leeds United 4-0 at Elland Road to go level on points at the top of the Championship with Queens Park Rangers.

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Jay Bothroyd, who was lucky to have escaped without even a booking for wild first-half tackle on Luciano Becchio, struck either side of the break while Michael Chopra and Lee Naylor were also on target for the Bluebirds.

Dave Jones's side are now on 29 points, although they miss out on number one billing due to their inferior goal difference to QPR, who were reeled in after drawing at Bristol City on Friday night.

Newly-promoted Leeds stay in 16th, while their dire home record continues - the West Yorkshire club have now lost four of their seven games at Elland Road this season.

Cardiff forward Craig Bellamy started back-to-back games for the first time since joining his home town club from Manchester City in the summer, while Leeds boss Simon Grayson made three changes to his line-up following last week's reversal against Leicester. Kasper Schmeichel, Alex Bruce and Bradley Johnson all got the nod to start.

It was Schmeichel and Bruce who found themselves at the centre of attention on 22 minutes, as the duo conspired to gift Cardiff the opening goal.

Bruce allowed a long clearance by Cardiff keeper Tom Heaton to bounce instead of meeting it with a first time header while Schmeichel dithered on the edge of the box when he should have been far more commanding.

The result was a total mix-up, the ball falling kindly for Bothroyd who was rewarded for applying such pressure with a simple tap into an empty goal. Bruce senior, Steve, who along with Schmeichel's father Peter was part of Manchester United's rock solid defence in the 1990s, shook his head disbelievingly in the stands.

Leeds, despite the poor recent form which had seen them lose three of their last four prior to this encounter, had actually started the brighter of the two sides and were unlucky to go behind.

Before his aberration at the back, Bruce had got his head to Leeds' first corner of the night on 12 minutes, only to see his flick sail past the far post as Leeds started the game with real intent, albeit without an end product.

At the other end, Bothroyd proved a nuisance throughout the first half, although he should have seen red for an horrendous challenge on Becchio that could easily have left the Argentine with a broken leg. That the Leeds striker got up from the assault without any fuss or waving of an imaginary card was a real credit to him. Bothroyd got away scot-free.

After the break, Cardiff showed a glimpse of what was to come when Gabor Gyepes saw a header cleared off the line by George McCartney before the floodgates opened and they killed the game off.

There was another hint of fortune to the second, as Chopra raced in on goal and the flag stayed down, despite the striker appearing to be in an offside position when he was found by Mark Hudson's tackle-cum-pass.

Chopra did the rest and Cardiff never looked back. Five minutes later the visitors went three up, Bothroyd getting his second of the night after the striker started and ended a surge forward with a straightforward sidefooter from Chris Burke's centre.

Naylor completed the scoring, and made all three points absolutely safe, with a screamer from 25 yards on the hour mark as Cardiff secured a fifth successive league win over Leeds.

Becchio thought he had grabbed a late consolation for the hosts, but his header was ruled out for offside on 72 minutes, leaving Leeds to ponder just how they have conceded 15 times in their last five games.

Mike Hytner / Eurosport

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