Adam Armstrong’s brace seals victory over Cardiff City

ADAM Armstrong scored a first-half brace to ensure Saints remained unbeaten in 11 Championship games with a comfortable 2-0 win over Cardiff City.

The striker gave South Coast the lead in the eleventh minute when he fired home from the edge of the area.

Soon after, his header made it 2-0, and from then on Southampton never seemed to be in trouble again.

The goals were Armstrong’s 11th and 12th of the season and the result means Saints remain fourth in the division.

Russell Martin announced at his pre-match press conference on Friday that Kamaldeen will be out until at least January due to injury.

Che Adams replaced the Ghanaian in the line-up in the only change for Saints since their 1-0 win over Bristol City on Wednesday.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that influential midfielder Will Smallbone was left out of the squad before kick-off.

The Saints took the lead after 11 minutes when Carlos Alcaraz found Adam Armstrong on the edge of the box and fired a brilliant shot into the top left corner.

Daily ultrasound:

And Armstrong scored his second goal of the day just five minutes later when Stuart Armstrong drove to the touchline before the striker headed a deflected cross into the goal.

It seemed like a long day for the Bluebirds as Saints were on top within the first twenty minutes.

Shortly after the half-hour, defender Jan Bednarek went down with an injury and was quickly assessed by medical staff.

The injury occurred when he blocked an attempt by a Cardiff player, but was able to resume play shortly afterwards.

However, the visitors began to play better and better as the match progressed and Gavin Bazoun had to quickly come off his line to prevent Jako Meite from moving freely towards goal.

It was a strong performance from the Irish goalkeeper, who has impressed this season with his pace off the line, which is a major asset to his game.

Armstrong almost completed a first-half hat-trick when Adams’ chip at the back post sent the Englishman towards goal, but the ball fell straight into the hands of Alex Runarsson.

The visitors almost scored just before the break, but Karlan Grant could only fire the ball over the goal from close range.

Saints thought they had scored a third early in the second half when A. Armstrong crossed brilliantly for Adams, but his powerful strike was disallowed for offside.

Grant reminded Cardiff he was still in the game as he raced through the Saints midfield before firing his shot wide of the post.

Subs Joe Aribo and Ryan Fraser almost made it minutes after being replaced by Martin.

First, Aribo’s low shot hit the outside of the post, after which Fraser failed to parry Armstrong’s low shot into the net.

With 15 minutes remaining the two substitutes worked together again to set up Adams, but he was unable to recover and the chance was missed.

As the Welsh team struggled to catch up with the game, the Saints were regularly opening up gaps, with Fraser and Armstrong looking particularly dangerous.

The home side survived the match with relative ease and will take on Watford next Saturday.

The Saints: Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Harwood-Bellis, Bednarek, Manning; Downes, Charles, S. Armstrong (Aribo, 62); Alcaraz (Fraser, 62), A. Armstrong, Adams (Mara, 81)

Unused subs: Lumley, Bree, Holgate, Dibling, Edozie, Amo-Ameyo

Booked: Downs

Cardiff city: Runarsson; Ng, Gutas, McGuinness, Collins; Bowler (Tanner, 63), Wintle; Robinson (Colville 54), Siopsis (Ralls 75), Meite; Grant (Etete, 75)

Unused subs: Alnwick, Ugbo, Adams, Panzo, Romeo

Booked: Colville

Judge: James Bell

Participation: 28,659

Goals: Armstrong 11′

Armstrong 15 feet

Author: Tom Wallace
Source: Daily Echo

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