Monday, April 22, 2013

Cardiff follow promotion with Championship title

Cardiff City drew 1-1 at Burnley on Saturday to ensure they returned to the top flight of English soccer as winners of the English Championship (second division) after securing promotion earlier in the week.

Craig Conway put the Welsh club ahead after 27 minutes at Turf Moor before David Edgar equalised for the home side with a thumping header in the dying minutes.

The point moved Cardiff into an unassailable seven-point lead over second-placed Hull City with only two matches remaining.

Cardiff, who drew 0-0 with Charlton on Tuesday to ensure their return to the top flight after a 51-year absence, went ahead after a counter-attack when Kim Bo-kyung threaded a pass through to Conway, who worked the ball on to his right foot and curled it home.

Edgar's goal moved Burnley on to 55 points and virtual safety in the tight battle to avoid relegation.

Hull moved a step closer to a return to the Premier League after being relegated three years ago when they drew 0-0 against already-relegated Bristol City on Friday.

They would have been assured of automatic promotion behind Cardiff if third-placed Watford had lost at home to Blackburn Rovers but Watford coach Gianfranco Zola saw his side win 4-0 to keep alive their automatic promotion hopes.

With two matches to play, Cardiff have 85 points, Hull 78 and Watford 74.

The three other teams in the playoff places behind Watford are Brighton (69), Crystal Palace (67) and Bolton Wanderers (66) with Brighton underlining their credentials for a return to the top flight for the first time since 1983 with a 6-1 demolition of Blackpool.

Huddersfield Town improved their chances of avoiding the drop by beating Millwall 3-0 but Wolverhampton Wanderers, relegated from the Premier League last season, are in danger of a second successive drop.

They lost 2-1 to a late goal at Charlton Athletic and are mired in trouble in the relegation zone.

Bristol City (41 points) are already down, but the 10 teams above them, mathematically at least, are all in danger with Peterborough (51), Wolves (51) and Barnsley (51) under the biggest threat.

Blackburn, who went down from the Premier League last season with Wolves, are only just above the drop zone on 53 points.