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Steven Caulker scored against his former club as Cardiff City beat Swansea City 1-0 in the first top-flight Wales derby.
The England defender, who spent a season on loan at Swansea, netted just his second Cardiff goal to seal a historic victory for the hosts as their rivals finished the game with 10 men after Michel Vorm's late dismissal.
Cardiff went into the much-anticipated encounter looking to end a run of three games without a win, while Swansea knew that they could move into the top half with maximum points. Malky Mackay's men were on the back foot for much of the match as Swansea searched for a second successive win at the Cardiff City Stadium. But it was a former Swansea player who was the difference between the two sides, Caulker scoring a header after 62 minutes.
That proved to be enough for Cardiff, whose task was made easier when goalkeeper Vorm was given his marching orders for a foul on Fraizer Campbell in the dying embers of the game as the hosts moved ahead of their neighbours.
Cardiff made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with West Ham United last Saturday as Don Cowie and Craig Bellamy replaced Kim Bo-Kyung and Campbell. Alvaro was dropped for Swansea, with manager Michael Laudrup bringing Jonjo Shelvey into the starting XI.
Swansea made the better start to proceedings, but had two promising opportunities wasted as Michu and Jonathan de Guzman both shot wide from good areas in the early stages. The visitors continued to press and forced the first save of the game 10 minutes in as David Marshall kept out Michu's effort from the edge of the area after the Spain forward had evaded the home defence.
Cardiff took 25 minutes to create their first chance, Bellamy's free-kick deflecting wide off Leon Britton. Swansea dictated the game for large periods but it was Cardiff who began the second half the stronger.
They too showed a lack of composure in front of goal when Peter Whittingham sliced Bellamy's lay-off wide four minutes into the half. The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour, though, Caulker rising to head Bellamy's corner past a stranded Vorm.
Laudrup threw substitute Wilfried Bony into the fray immediately after falling behind, and the Ivory Coast forward almost had an instant impact as he prodded wide from point-blank range.
De Guzman and Alejandro Pozuelo also went close in the closing stages for Swansea, but any hopes they had of earning a point were virtually ended when Vorm was dismissed after bringing down Campbell as the former Hull City striker broke through on goal.
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: "It's put smiles on people's faces here and I've never seen an atmosphere like it. And it was not only the win, but also the performance. We were very dominant.
"It's a tough, uncompromising league but it's the only place to be. We've got good people here and we enjoy playing here in this division."
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: "It ended up being disappointing. It is always that way when you lose a derby and we really wanted to win.
"Our plan in the first half was to control it and we did that quite well, we kept them away from any chances. When we wanted to bring on some players to go for the game, they scored from a set-piece. We knew that they were strong from these and it's one of the only chances they had from the game."
"[Vorm] was the last man, everything happens so quickly. From the outside, it seemed like he was the last man so it seems like it was OK. The referees need to take that decision in a split second so that's what can happen.
“Michu is not 100 per cent right now. He is struggling with some physical problems and, on top of that, he had to leave pitch with another twisted ankle so probably he will be out for a couple of games."
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|08 Mar 2014||v Fulham (H)|