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Rediff.com  » Sports » Cardiff City edge past Barnsley

Cardiff City edge past Barnsley

April 07, 2008 10:09 IST

Cardiff City will play Portsmouth in this season's FA Cup final after a stunning goal from midfielder Joe Ledley gave them a 1-0 win over Barnsley in Sunday's semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

The 21-year-old Welsh international, who was born in Cardiff and developed through their youth ranks, scored with an unstoppable left-foot volley after only nine minutes.

His majestic strike was enough to put Cardiff into the final for the first time since they famously became the only non-English club to win the Cup in 1927.

Barnsley, trying for their first final since 1912, should have levelled this all-Championship (second division) semi-final midway through the second half but Kayode Odejayi fired wide with only goalkeeper Peter Enckelman to beat after 66 minutes.

The striker, Barnsley's hero in the last round when he scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over holders Chelsea, held his head in his hands in utter disbelief.

Portsmouth, who beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in Saturday's other semi-final, will meet Cardiff back at Wembley on May 17.

Ledley, voted man of the match, said: I thought we played really well and can go to the final with confidence."

Of his goal he added: "I just hit and hoped for the best and it went in. The fans are buzzing."

Cardiff have been beset by financial problems this season and manager Dave Jones told Sky Sports: "For our football club, after what happened this year, it's great for the club.

"I've had promotions, been in finals but I've never been in an FA Cup final it's a great feeling."

ONLY GOAL

The goal came when Barnsley defender Rob Kozluk, heading clear from a long Cardiff throw-in, only managed to find Ledley who sent a left-foot hooked volley flying past Luke Steele from 18 metres.

Barnsley, who also knocked out Liverpool as well as Chelsea on their way to the last four, responded with a header from Dennis Souza that went narrowly wide of Enckelman's post.

Odejayi's misery, though, was not confined to his awful miss. He had a good chance after 19 minutes and should have done better instead of just firing weakly at Enckelman.

The striker also found himself with a possible chance after 30 minutes but failed to control the ball properly and allowed it to run over the goal line.

Worse was to come after 66 minutes. Played clean through, onside and in space with only Enckleman to beat and with time to pick his spot, Odejayi's wayward shot went wide.

Peter Whittingham went close for Cardiff with a 25-metre shot that flew just over the bar and they then had another opportuity but Steele thwarted Gavin Rae at close range.

Rae earlier had a fine chance to score but headed a Ledley cross straight at Steele with the goal at his mercy.

Although most of the approach work was scrappy and clearly short of Premier League class, the action moved from end to end as Barnsley continued searching for an equaliser and Cardiff attempted to kill the opposition off.

Cardiff, whose season has been overshadowed by financial worries, deserved their victory, leaving Barnsley to try to salvage their season by climbing out of the relegation zone and avoiding the drop into League One (third division).

Source:
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