There was no trace of bitterness in the voices of the Cardiff City players as they lined up to claim that the better team had finished with runners-up medals around their necks. With the sobering memory of Nwankwo Kanu’s goal fresh in the mind there was a nagging sense of regret as they reflected on 90 minutes that provided little evidence of a chasm between the Championship and Premier League.
“We matched them for most of the game and played well enough to win it,” claimed Joe Ledley, who enhanced his growing reputation with a lively performance. “We had our chances and on another day they might have gone in.
“We Maglie da calcio Seconda Maglia Barcellona handled them pretty well for most of the game and we felt we were the better team overall. That has to give us confidence for next season, when the priority will be to mount a promotion challenge.”
That Portsmouth’s goal had been gifted rather than earned deepened the frustration. “[The manager] Dave Jones told us he was really proud of the players and the supporters, and when the disappointment eases a bit we will maybe feel the same way,” said Glenn Loovens. “But it’s hard to think that way at the moment, after losing a Cup final. I don’t think they were the best team. They fed off our mistakes rather than creating anything.”
Breaking down the opposition also proved a problem for Cardiff. Paul Parry was lively early on, when he got goalside of Sol Campbell before David James smothered at his feet, but apart from some late pressure the only other moment of genuine panic in the Portsmouth penalty area arrived on the stroke of half-time when Loovens’ goal was ruled out after he was adjudged to have handled.
“It was a bit unlucky because I wasn’t trying to control the ball with my hand,” the Dutchman said. “But I knew it wasn’t going to be a goal because I heard the whistle even before I hit it. My Maglie da calcio Lazio header in the second half should have been a goal. I did what you are supposed to do in those situations: I headed it down but it flew up and over the crossbar. When things like that happen you think it’s not meant to be.”
Major changes are expected at Ninian Park in the summer, with Aaron Ramsey and Ledley among those likely to leave for Premier League football. Uncertainty also surrounds Robbie Fowler’s future. However, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is ready to commit to another 12 months with Cardiff. “I have got an option for another year with Cardiff and I’m 99.9% sure I will take it,” said the 36-year-old.
© COPYRIGHT 2019, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Kristian Lander