Cardiff 3-2 Leicester (report)
Dave Jones made the expected enforced change with Roger Johnson coming in for the injured Darren Purse, Kerrea Gilbert returned from injury and replaced Kevin McNaughton meaning Joe Ledley kept his place at left back.
Cardiff started brightly with Chopra looking lively and a McPhail freekick well saved by Henderson in the Leicester goal, Glenn Loovens heading over from the resulting corner.
On 22 minutes, Cardiff got the opening goal after Scimeca was fouled 20 yards out and it was MICHAEL CHOPRA who stepped up and sent a beautiful shot straight into the top corner. Cardiff deserved their lead and it was an excellent finish when the Leicester defence were expecting Stephen McPhail to step up. Two goals in 2 for Chopra.
Cardiff were clearly on top and playing at a fast tempo with Paul Parry looking dangerous on the right and Roger Johnson went close with a powerful close range shot. Riccy Scimeca was withdrawn in the first half after seemingly pulling his hamstring, replaced by Kevin McNaughton who played in an uncustomary central role. Parry fell awkwardly after a challenge and the pace of dropped noticeably, as Leicester started to get a hold in midfield and got into the game for the first time.
HT: Cardiff City 1-0 Leicester City
The second half started more evenly with Cardiff looking slightly more fragile. Gareth Williams was beginning to orchestrate midfield for Leicester and for the first time Cardiff were not on top and although no clear chances fell top the Foxes, you felt one goal mightn`t be enough.
On 56 minutes, a lightning break by Cardiff saw them extend their lead with the crucial second goal. MICHAEL CHOPRA was set free by a Ledley long ball and gathered the ball on the right showing fantastic composure to chip Henderson and give the Aussie keeper no chance.
Leicester City upped the tempo, but it was Cardiff who sealed the game soon afterwards. Henderson strayed out of his penalty area and when the ball came to the edge of the area via Steve Thompson, MICHAEL CHOPRA was there to coolly turn and smash home for a superb hat-trick.
The 3-0 lead lasted barely a minute when a Leicester corner was headed home by big defender Patrick Kisnorbo. An untimely error from Cardiff that gave the Foxes a glimmer of hope when City needed to just close the game down. Leicester continued to press and Cardiff made a few dangerous breaks but neither keeper was called into any real saves although Neil Alexander had to be quick and alert to clear a Leicester attack.
Going into the final minutes, Leicester got their second when Elvis Hammond rolled his marker and fired past Alexander to secure a nervous final few minutes for Cardiff City. The game finished without major incident and Cardiff gained the deserved 3 points despite disappointingly allowing Leicester back into the game.
Chopra`s first Cardiff City hat-trick sealed the points for a resurgent Bluebirds side, they showed spells of their best form and looked to have turned a corner after the recent run of poor results. Consecutive wins lift them back into the play-off zone and that 4 goals in 2 games for striker Michael Chopra showing fantastic finishing and work-rate. No doubt over the man-of-the-match, great game Chops.