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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
PA Michael Obafemi celebrates his goal for Swansea.
# Irish Eye
Callum Robinson shown first red card of career as Michael Obafemi gets back in good books
Swansea City sealed a 2-0 win over bitter rivals Cardiff to steer them into the top-four of the Championship.

SWANSEA CITY MAINTAINED their south Wales derby dominance as a 2-0 home victory over 10-man Cardiff steered them into the top-four of the Sky Bet Championship.

But there were mixed fortunes for two of Ireland’s attackers, with Callum Robinson shown a straight red card early on for the visitors before Michael Obafemi struck the important second goal to put the result beyond doubt.

Ollie Cooper scored the first to secure Swansea a sixth win in eight derby meetings, with Cardiff claiming just one victory in that time.

Cooper’s strike was particularly sweet for the fast-maturing midfielder who was rejected by Cardiff – the club his father Kevin played for between 2005 and 2008 – after having several trials in the Welsh capital.

Cardiff’s cause was severely hampered by playing with 10 men for 83 minutes after Robinson was sent off for violent conduct.

Robinson collected a first career red card for stupidly reacting to Ben Cabango nudging him firmly from behind by throwing the ball into the face of the Wales defender.

Bluebirds boss Mark Hudson had spoken about playing with passion after their poor run of results in this fixture, but Robinson clearly overstepped the mark and could have no complaints over being banished.

Swansea took their time to make the most of the extra man, although Obafemi wasted a gilt-edged opportunity after Cooper and Luke Cundle had unlocked the visitors’ defence.

Tom Sang’s sidefoot volley from 20 yards forced Steven Benda into a flying save, but Cardiff could not prevent the tide of white-shirted attacks coming their way.

Swansea were denied a clear penalty after 34 minutes when Cedric Kipre punched away Matty Sorinola’s cross.

It was a blatant offence but Darren Bond waved play on, much to the disgust of incensed home players who had surrounded the referee.

Swansea’s sense of injustice was still simmering as Cundle pounced on Niels Nkounkou’s poor clearance.

Cundle was halted before the ball ran loose to Cooper, who curled it past the helpless Ryan Allsop and over the line off the crossbar for his third goal in four games.

Obafemi guided wide and Cooper miscued Joel Latibeaudiere’s superb cross with Swansea looking to put the game beyond Cardiff before half-time.

Harry Darling and Callum O’Dowda clashed and were cautioned as tempers rose again after the restart.

Swansea’s patient approach was almost rewarded as Obafemi turned sharply to force a fine save from Allsop.

The home side’s bookings count swelled with Obafemi and Cundle punished, and substitute Mark Harris headed over as Cardiff showed signs they were still in the contest.

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But Obafemi, who scored twice in a 4-0 win at Cardiff in April, settled the issue after 67 minutes by striding on to Matt Grimes’ delightful pass and picking his spot.

After being dropped from the squad by his manager for his reaction to a late transfer to Burnley being turned down in the summer window, the Ireland forward will be hoping his third goal of the season can act as a catalyst for more.

It rubber-stamped Swansea’s seventh win in nine games and made it 15 goals in the last eight derbies compared to Cardiff’s one.

Meanwhile, Watford claimed local bragging rights with a 4-0 dismantling of near neighbours Luton in the Championship.

First-half goals from Keinan Davis and William Troost-Ekong set the tone and the visitors’ doom was sealed when goalkeeper Ethan Horvath gifted Joao Pedro a third before Ismaila Sarr completed the rout.

Hatters substitute Gabriel Osho then saw red late on for a dreadful challenge on Ken Sema.

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