Cabango scores deep in added time to earn Swansea derby win at Cardiff
Swansea claimed a heart-stopping 3-2 south Wales derby win with an added-time strike by centre-back Ben Cabango.
The Wales defender struck from close range in the ninth minute of stoppage time in the Welsh capital.
Jay Fulton put a late free-kick into the Cardiff wall and then struck a post with a shot on the rebound. The ball ricocheted to Cabango, who slid home the winner in front of disbelieving home fans and delirious travelling supporters.
It appeared the Bluebirds had stopped a rot of three successive derby defeats after goals from Sory Kaba and Jaden Philogene cancelled out Joel Piroe and Liam Cullen’s efforts that put the Swans 2-0 ahead after 33 minutes.
You have to go back to March 2021 for the last time the Bluebirds prevailed against their bitter rivals – a 1-0 win on enemy soil under the stewardship of manager Mick McCarthy.
Since then, there have been three chastening defeats, including a first league double in this fixture for the Swans who had scored nine goals without reply.
Kaba appeared to have brought relief for long-suffering blue-clad fans when he nodded home a cross from substitute Welsh international Ruben Colwill in the 83rd minute.
The result will not have a huge impact on the mid-table Swans’ season but it leaves Cardiff tangled up in a desperate fight for their Championship lives.
It was an explosive opening as Swansea took the lead inside the third minute.
Dutch striker Piroe received the ball from a throw-in and was granted the freedom of the Cardiff penalty area to twist one way, then another, and rifle a shot into the roof of the net.
Moments later the shellshocked home fans were given some indication of the visitors’ defensive frailty when Callum O’Dowda flashed a low ball across the Swans’ six-yard box through a crowd of blue and white shirts to eventual safety.
There was a lack of intensity on the home side’s part and Swansea protected their advantage comfortably with centre-back pairing Nathan Wood and Cabango largely unflustered.
There were 25 minutes on the clock when Sheyi Ojo found space on the edge of the Swansea box only to fire tamely into the arms of goalkeeper Andy Fisher.
While the attack did not yield an equaliser it triggered a brief period of increased intensity from Cardiff that saw Kaba flash a header over the bar.
Yet any notion the encounter was petering uneventfully towards the interval was blown apart by goals at both ends in the 33rd and 35th minutes.
First Swansea doubled their lead when Piroe sprung the Cardiff offside trap, raced into the box and watched as his shot struck a post and rebounded to midfielder Cullen who nodded home.
But the response was instant as Aston Villa-loanee Philogene wriggled free of Wood’s attention to lash a left-footed drive through Fisher.
The strike completely changed the complexion as the hosts finished the half swarming all over less assured opponents.
There was no such drama for much of the second half – until the close.
Cardiff enjoyed the bulk of the territory, but their familiar bluntness in the final third prevented them from fashioning a clear-cut opportunity.
That was until Kaba’s late equaliser which looked to have earned Cardiff a valuable point, only for Cabango to have the final say.
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