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West Brom boss Carlos Corberan withdrew 'fatigued' Daryl Dike in Cardiff draw

Carlos Corberan felt he had to withdraw a 'fatigued' Daryl Dike early into the second half as Albion dropped two points in the top-six race in Cardiff.

Carlos Corberan (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images)
Carlos Corberan (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images)

Dike, 22, marked today's news of his return to the United States international set-up with a fine early finish in south Wales to put Corberan's men ahead as they tried to respond from a damaging run of five away defeats.

But the opener did not prove to be enough as lowly Bluebirds' half-time substitute Sory Kaba rose unchecked to head beyond Josh Griffiths despite the goalkeeper's touch.

Albion head into the international break five points adrift of sixth and that gap could widen at the weekend with rivals in Championship action.

Dike was surprisingly withdrawn three minutes before the hour mark at the Cardiff City Stadium and was replaced by the versatile Adam Reach as Corberan added another body to his midfield and used Jed Wallace and John Swift as his two strikers. Kaba nodded in shortly afterwards and while the visitors did gain momentum and ask questions late on, they only forced one clear opening through Wallace.

Corberan said of Dike: "I was watching him fatigued - just fatigue for me in some point of the game.

"I was watching him struggle to keep the ball or to compete or even to press, at the same time we didn't want to push Thomas-Asante too much because we have some advice from the medical perspective that don't allow us to give him more minutes.

"In this moment I was thinking that with the energy of Reach in the middle, with Swift and Wallace up front we could manage better the minutes, but it's true at the end if we would've played 10 minutes more how we did in the last 12 or 15 minutes it would have been enough to achieve something else."

While a point does halt the run of defeats away from The Hawthorns it did little in Albion's push to stay in contention for a play-off spot.

Albion's head coach added of a disappointing two points dropped in the Welsh capital: "It feels like we didn't achieve the target we had today and that was to win the three points, without any type of doubt.

"Especially when you start with scoring one goal at the beginning of the game, the feeling is even more negative that at the end you didn't add the points that during one part of the game you had.

"The key for us now is to analyse why we didn't use the possibilities enough with the ball when we had it in the first half.

"And why in the second half in some moments we were more protective of the result rather than the instinct to go for the goal, because we were defending more than we wanted to be.

"Then, at the end I had the feeling with five minutes more we could've won the game, because for me the sub players changed the momentum, energy and dynamic of the game and we have the feeling that maybe we should have done the changes before."

Asked why he felt his side began to protect a 1-0 lead rather than continue to attack, the Spaniard explained: "(at half-time) they introduced one other big striker (Kaba) and started to find the striker with long balls and second balls that don't allow us to attack like we were attacking in the first half.

"In the first half we had more control, though only in some minutes, but in general we could have made something else with the ball in all the game.

"In truth the positive feeling is in the last 10 minutes of the game - the team was trying to go for the result and of course not just protect one point, because for the team it was not enough."

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