FA Cup third round: Cardiff City 2-2 Leeds United – visitors fight back to draw

Leeds United dramatically escaped another shock FA Cup third-round defeat at Cardiff City when Sonny Perkins came on to score an equaliser.

Cardiff, 20th in the Championship and the league’s lowest scorers, struck twice in seven first-half minutes with goals from Jaden Philogene and Sheyi Ojo.

Booed off at half-time, Leeds responded well as substitute Rodrigo headed in.

Cardiff’s Joel Bagan was sent off for handball but Rodrigo saw his resulting penalty saved by Jak Alnwick.

Then, just as the home side looked set to hold on for another famous victory over Leeds – 21 years after doing so at the same stage over the then Premier League leaders – Perkins scored from close range to break Cardiff’s late resistance.

Boreham Wood or Accrington Stanley await Cardiff or Leeds Fourth round Another cruel end to the game for the Bluebirds, who looked set for a first win in eight games, which would have offered respite from their league struggles.

As for Leeds, Perkins’ late leveler is a lifeline for manager Jesse Marsh, whose side are now six matches without a win in all competitions. A defeat here would greatly increase the pressure on the Americans.

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The fixture evoked memories of third-tier Cardiff’s 2002 FA Cup triumph over an expensively-assembled Leeds side who were top of the Premier League at the time.

Since that landmark result, Cardiff have won 14 of the 22 subsequent meetings between the sides but, given their Championship struggles this season, confidence has been in short supply in the Welsh capital.

Leeds have been on a winless run of their own – five matches in all competitions – and also of concern to Marsch’s men has been their recent miserable FA Cup record, losing at the third-round stage in each of the last five seasons, including Shock defeats by Newport County and Crawley Town.

Marsh said he spoke to chief executive Angus Kinnear on the subject and Leeds fans were clearly dreaming of a cup run, selling out their allocation of 6,000 and creating a thin that drowned out the home crowd for long periods.

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The Leeds players looked similarly motivated as they controlled the opening exchanges, Darko Gyabi impressing in midfield with an early shot that went narrowly wide and a weaving run that ended with an effort well blocked by Jack Simpson.

But despite the visitors’ early control, it was Cardiff who took the lead against the run of play. Tom Sang released Mark Harris with a free ball, and after his shot was saved by Joel Robles, Harris saved Isaak Davies. His shot was also blocked but the ball fell to Filogene, who fired at close range.

After only 20 goals in 26 league games this season, the Championship’s lowest scorers made it two in seven minutes against their Premier League opponents.

The second was a much classier affair, with Andy Rinomhota’s delightful high pass glancing off the head of Leeds centre-back Diego Llorente before reaching Ojo, who chested the ball down before finishing smartly on the turn.

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Leeds were booed off at half-time and their fans’ cheers had the desired effect after the restart as their team put Cardiff under constant pressure with a flurry of chances.

First, Pascal Struijk headed inches wide before top scorer Rodrigo, recently on as a substitute, rose to meet Sam Greenwood’s cross and head into the net despite a touch from Alnwick.

Rodrigo fired another shot before playing a leading role in one of the game’s decisive moments.

The penalty was as blatant as they come – Bagan diving like a goalkeeper to push Junior Firpo’s goal-bound shot away with his hand – but Rodrigo’s weak spot-kick was saved by Alnwick.

Cardiff fans celebrated the save with new-found belief that their side were about to claim another FA Cup scalp but it was Leeds’ boisterous traveling contingent who had the last laugh as Perkins headed Firpo’s flick into the net to spark wild celebrations behind the goal and force a replay.



Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 21Alnwick
  • 12SangBooked in 9 minutes
  • 16Nelson
  • 26Simpson
  • 3BaganBooked in 80 minutes
  • 19Sawyersubstituted forBreezeAt 78′minuteBooked in 83 minutes
  • 29M. Harrissubstituted forNgAt 86′minute
  • 35Rinomhota
  • 10Ojosubstituted forRalsAt 86′minute
  • 25phylogenysubstituted forO’DowdaAt 77′minute
  • 39Daviessubstituted forTannerAt 63′minute


  • 1Also
  • 6Breeze
  • 8Rals
  • 11O’Dowda
  • 14Tanner
  • 37Nkounko
  • 38Ng
  • 42Wiggly
  • 44Benjamin


Formation 4-4-2

  • 22Robles
  • 25Christensensubstituted forDramaAt 59′minute
  • 14Llorente
  • 21StruijkBooked in 28 minutes
  • 3Firpo
  • 7Aaronsonsubstituted forPerkinsAt 86′minute
  • 42GreenwoodBooked in 70 minutes
  • 18Giabisubstituted forBobberAt 60′minuteBooked in 90 minutes
  • 10Summervillesubstituted forRodrigoAt 59′minute
  • 30Gelhardtsubstituted forFernándezAt 73′minute
  • 29GnontoBooked in 27 minutes


  • 2Ailing
  • 8Roca
  • 11Harrison
  • 13Klaesson
  • 16Perkins
  • 19Rodrigo
  • 37Drama
  • 39Bobber
  • 49Fernández

Jared Gillette


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