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Match Report – Cardiff City 1, Chelsea 2

Match Report – Cardiff City 1, Chelsea 2

The Bluebirds were let down by match officials during a devastating defeat against Chelsea.

More than 32,000 spectators were at Cardiff City Stadium and the home team had the upper hand against a Chelsea team who seemed incapable of dealing with their passion and fervour.

Manager Neil Warnock was furious with several decisions made by referee Craig Pawson and his assistants, saying: “VAR has got to be the answer. The officials need help and VAR would have sorted their first goal out in 10 seconds. “We’ve worked on things in the last three weeks and one of them has coming out at corner kicks.

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“The lads have just said ‘what do we do now gaffer?’ What’s the point? You have to hope the linesman can see it. Soul-destroying.

“They are down because we played so well. I was really proud of everybody. The fans were great, the players responded fabulously.

“Burnley fans, Brighton fans, Southampton fans. That must be the best thing that could happen. It’s knocked our lads down, as you’d expect. They’re as flat as a witch’s whatever.”

Cardiff took the lead less than a minute into the second period when Victor Camarasa’s delicate, curling volley flew into the new and prompted cries of ‘we want Sarri out’ from Chelsea fans.

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Cesar Azpilicueta nodded in an equaliser from a clearly offside position and then, in added time, substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed the winner to break Cardiff hearts.

Between those goals referee Pawson angered Bluebirds’ fans when he booked Antonio Rudiger for bringing down Kenneth Zohore. That looked a red card offence with Zohore running through on goal.

Warnock was convinced Rudiger should have seen red, saying: “Ken Zohore was getting to the ball first, the ref said he wasn’t sure. If he wasn’t sure, he’s got to go that way.

“He wasn’t sure about the penalties, wasn’t sure about the second penalty. Couldn’t have any influence. He had a good game if I’m honest, it was only the major decisions. He’s a good referee, Pawson.”

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The result is a major blow to Cardiff’s bid for Premier League survival, leaving them five points adrift of safety with seven games remaining.

All the talk after Chelsea’s win was about decisions by officials and Warnock said: “We looked at a penalty shout on Morrison in the first half which we felt was a clear penalty and I think TV pundits said the same.

“During the second half Rudiger pulled Morrison’s shirt back and the ref’s in a really good position.

“It’s almost now not a matter of who you play, it’s who’s in the middle and who Has a flag. It’s alright making genuine mistakes, but that shouldn’t happen at this level. Not when you put so much into a game.

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“On top of everything else that’s happened this season, it’s just a sickener. It’s hard to take really.”

Warnock talked to the officials about Chelsea’s first goal and the manager said: “He said Willian blocked his view.

“I said it wasn’t a six inches one, surely you should be able to see either side that he was like two yards offside. Not close. What can you do?

“We don’t get major decisions I’m afraid, but we’ve got to get on with it. Once again we’ve had a kick in the teeth but we have to regroup and go again now.”

A clearly angry Warnock and Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had words after the final whistle.

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“The game is passion,” said Warnock. “I’m 70 bloody years old. If you’re not passionate at my age when you see such an injustice when you’ve seen the lads battle and fight like they have… against a team we should have beaten.

“He was moaning about a throw-in or something? I said ‘Do you not know he was two yards offside, you should be patting him on the back, not complaining about a throw-in.’

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“He didn’t know he was offside, he said. And Zola came in after.

“Do you expect meek and mild and ‘congratulations Sarri’, patting him on the back? And shake the referee and linesmen’s hands?

“Come on! It’s the Premier League, the best league in the world. And we are disappointed.

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“The players were flat. You don’t expect anybody to be jumping around the place when you’ve been kicked in the teeth like that.

“But how many times this year have we been kicked in the teeth? Not just football, but everything that’s happened to us. It’s the most difficult season I’ve ever had.

“And anyone who knows me will know I’ll be disappointed. But I’ll live to fight another day and the fans know I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got.

“Yeah I’ll be disappointed. We lost a game that quite frankly I didn’t think we should have lost. And I wouldn’t have taken a point, I would have been disappointed with a point and then we end up with nothing.

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“I’m disappointed and proud of my players. We were let down by the officials.

“I’m deflated because we worked hard for the three weeks for this game and thought that we could win it.

“When you don’t win the game because of nothing to do with yourself, it really is a kick in the teeth. Roll on VAR, but it might be a bit too late for me.

“We could have had two penalties. You could go on and on, but decisions have just not gone our way.”

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