Breaking: Cardiff relegated from EPL after Palace victory




They do not usually celebrate a Palace win.

But down on the south coast, Brighton supporters are toasting a victory by their arch enemies which kept them safe and relegated Cardiff.

Neil Warnock’s team can have few complaints about either this result – or the season in general – as they have not been good enough.

Wilf Zaha, booed throughout by the home fans, opened the scoring although Cardiff drew level with an own goal from Martin Kelly.

Michy Batshuayi made it 2-1 before the break and Andros Townsend scored a real cracker in the 70th minute to confirm that Cardiff’s one-season stay in the top-flight is over.

The atmosphere was largely muted and when Townsend fired the third goal, some home fans left for home.

When Cardiff were last in the Premier League in 2014, they finished bottom with 30 points so at least they have been a bit better – but not that much.

If anything, Warnock has done well to make this team anywhere competitive.

Even last season was a miracle, when they got out of the Championship with the sixth lowest wage bill in the League.

But this term, they have still looked a Championship team and Palace – excellent away from home – had too much firepower.

Incredibly, if there was an away League table, Palace – who have now won nine times on their travels – would be joint fourth. Equally, at home, they would be second from bottom.

Cardiff came close to enjoying the perfect start with less than 30 seconds on the clock but Josh Murphy’s long-range strike clipped the bottom of the post.

And then there was some real misfortune on the injury front when midfielder Victor Camarasa one of the team’s best players this season, was substituted.

He needed treatment on his thigh with an ice pack in the sixth minute but despite attempting to continue, hobbled off the pitch a few minutes later.

Unsurprisingly, Zaha, on loan here for a short stint, was always danger and had Palace’s first decent effort but shot wide.

Yet just 60 seconds later, Zaha properly silence those supporters by playing a one-two with Andros Townsend, delivering a trademark shoulder shuffle to get midfielder Aron Gunnarsson off balance.

Zaha then got the ball onto his right foot before shooting into the corner from the edge of the area.

Cardiff’s heads dropped as Zaha celebrated and you would not have put much money on a Cardiff leveller but they got a massive slice of luck when Martin Kelly sliced Bacuna’s cross into his own net.

Palace keeper Vicente Guaita tried to console Kelly but had he called for the ball and come off his line, the defender would not have been forced into the clearance.

But that could not hide the fact that Cardiff looked in danger every time Palace attacked so a second palace goal before half-time was hardly a surprise.

Zaha started the move, Batshuayi played a one-two with Jordan Ayew and then belted the ball into the top corner for his fourth Palace goal.

Keeper Guaita delivered key saves before the break from Bruno Ecuele Manga and Bobby De Cordova Reid.

Murphy wasted a decent chance with a poor close-range volley he dragged wide and was also denied a goal by a magnificent block from Kelly.

And as Cardiff pressed, sub Kenneth Zohore was clean through but shot straight at Guaita.

But Cardiff’s relegation was sorted when Townsend scored a goal of real class.

He took the ball from the halfway line, gave Joe Bennett the runaround and the cut in from the right and delivered a shot from outside the box which went in via the post.

As Townsend celebrated in front of the home, some of the home fans headed for the exits and you wonder whether they will return for next season in the Championship.

At least they will once again have their derby against Swansea. That is about their only consolation.

Next week, Cardiff face Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Last time, their Premier League campaign ended with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and now it will end against him.




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