Leicester City v Cardiff match verdict: Is it bad luck or bad finishing?
Is it bad luck or bad finishing?
It is a question that has probably been asked on more than a couple of occasions this season by Leicester City fans after watching their side dominate a game before ultimately emerging empty-handed.
City suffered their eighth defeat of a campaign that has reached the halfway stage.
League leaders Cardiff grabbed the win with Craig Bellamy producing a finish of Premiership quality in the 25th minute and, despite City laying siege to the Bluebirds' goal for most of the game, the visitors held on.
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Not for the first time this season, City created a host of fantastic chances and had 13 strikes on target to Cardiff's three.
They were undone by a mixture of bad luck, inspired goalkeeping and a lack of a killer instinct, coupled with a momentary defensive lapse, which was punished with the kind of clinical finishing which has been lacking from City's play.
Frankly, it seems to be a recurring theme.
City hit the woodwork three times and had two efforts cleared off the line, and Cardiff keeper David Marshall was in inspired form as he produced some wonderful saves.
However, City had enough of the game to have claimed the three points.
City have been beaten by a single goal in all eight defeats – games which could have easily gone the other way.
Although he didn't show it after the game and maintained a calm persona, the frustration must be building in City boss Nigel Pearson.
His side are so close to being automatic promotion challengers.
The victory meant Cardiff are now 10 points ahead of City in the table. They should not be that far behind their Welsh counterparts.
In fact, the difference between the two sides was just one man, – Bellamy.
City look like a side just missing one vital ingredient, and, if anyone wondered what that ingredient was, Bellamy gave a demonstration when he displayed the experience and footballing intelligence to drift away from his markers to stand unmarked on the edge of the City box. He was superbly picked out by Craig Conway and produced a first-time finish of the highest quality.
That was Cardiff's first effort on target and followed a period of such sustained City pressure, it seemed merely a question of when City would take the lead.
Marshall had produced a superb save to deny Wes Morgan and Andy King had struck the post, quickly followed by Jamie Vardy striking the bar with the rebound.
Anthony Knockaert also forced good saves from Marshall following driving runs and long-range shots from the Frenchman as City looked intent on closing the gap on the league leaders.
After a nervy spell following Cardiff's goal, City regained the impetus and King again went close before Vardy struck the crossbar again with a looping header.
City kept pushing for an equaliser and again Cardiff were forced into some desperate, last-ditch defending as Conway headed David Nugent's header off the line.
But that vital goal did not come and City now head to face a buoyant Hull City side on Boxing Day having picked up just four points from their last five games.
The January transfer window is just a few days away, and Pearson needs to add that missing ingredient, but there won't be many strikers of the quality of Bellamy on offer.