Express & Star

Cardiff 0 West Brom 1: Jeremy Sarmiento magic lifts Albion up to third

Albion climbed to third in the Championship for at least 24 hours with a fie controlled 1-0 win on the road at play-off chasing Cardiff City.


Jeremy Sarmiento bagged a brilliant winner for Carlos Corberan's men early into the second half, just his second goal while on loan from Brighton in his second Baggies start.

The visitors were full value for the victory with Alex Palmer a bystander in the second period. The Baggies are riding a wave of confidence and momentum after a fifth win in six saw Corberan's side above Leeds and Southampton, both in action tonight.

The away end sang about the 'magic' of match-winner Sarmiento, but Albion were brilliantly controlling and drilled and barely offered their hosts a sniff.

Excitement continues to build with all connected. Off-field issues remain - but Corberan and his side are doing everything to distract Baggies worldwide and allowing supporters to dream of a prosperous future.

Corberan resisted the temptation to go with an unchanged XI from the side that so impressively saw off high-flying Ipswich at home on Saturday.

He made two attacking alterations to his starting line-up, with John Swift and Sarmiento both handed starts for the first time since their respective injury returns.

Swift replaced striker Brandon Thomas-Asante, with skipper Jed Wallace leading the line in Corberan's 4-2-3-1. On-loan winger Sarmiento was a like-for-like replacement for Matt Phillips, who failed to start in the league for the first time this season. Both dropped to the bench.

Albion's back-up options also included Nathaniel Chalobah, who returned from his knee complaint.

Karlan Grant, on loan in the Welsh capital from Albion, was not permitted to feature Callum Robinson started, though.

Cedric Kipre (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Albion were poor in the early stages of a badly bitty and disjointed contest. Erol Bulut's men weren't much better, but carried more of a threat in the first 20 minutes.

The visitors were loose in possession and not helped by an early clattering into Wallace, who was left feeling his shoulder. The dominant Kyle Bartley and Conor Townsend were forced into some good last-ditch defending in their own box.

Wallace was eventually forced off on 21 minutes to be replaced by Thomas-Asante, which came as a blow with leaders Leicester on the horizon on Saturday.

Half hour passed without any threat on either goal - as ex-Baggie Robinson shot wastefully off-target - before the clash opened up.

Jed Wallace departs with a shoulder injury (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Barely 20 seconds after a Cardiff corner, the visitors found the opponent's woodwork.

Akin to Saturday's lightning breakaway against Ipswich, Albion hit on the counter-attack. Sub Thomas-Asante led the way, allowing the quiet Grady Diangana to break forward.

The winger picked a clever pass, out to the left where Sarmiento was free into the penalty area. Cardiff's recovering defenders did well to put off the Ecuadorian, but he still got a scuffed low shot away that bobbled agonizingly across goal and off the base of the right post.

Barely two minutes later and the Bluebirds forced a big chance of their own.

Lively on-loan Nottingham Forest winger Josh Bowler was too quick for Cedric Kipre, who he ghosted beyond into the box, but he could not get the better of Alex Palmer, who made himself big in the Baggies goal to make the one-on-one save. It was a typical Palmer stop, one in which he excels.

Grady Diangana on the counter attack (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Thomas-Asante wasted a superb free-kick opportunity on the edge of the Cardiff 'D' right on half-time.

The second period had barely settled into a pattern when Albion's on-loan Ecuadorian lit up near freezing conditions in south Wales.

The impressive Mowatt found the winger with a simple pass and Sarmiento did the rest.

He cut inside right-back Mahlon Romeo and shaped to cross from the left of the box but curled a wonderful efforts towards the far post that deceived Alex Runarsson in goal and nestled into the far corner. His effort, from right in front of the away end, was duly celebrated.

Albion were controlling and impressive after the opener. Cardiff responded with a triple change and Corberan made two sets of his own double changes soon after. One of the changes, Phillips, squandered a decent opening near the byline.

Jeremy Sarmiento curls in the opener (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Corberan's team dominated and Okay Yokuslu, composed in midfield, had his blushes spared when an offside flag rendered his close-range fluffed header irrelevant.

Thomas-Asante didn't have the same excuse as he sent a deflected Darnell Furlong throw-in over the bar from four yards out with 10 minutes left. Tom Fellows, introduced from the bench, was electric down the right and a thorn in the Bluebirds' side.

Cardiff huffed and puffed late on but didn't truly threaten watertight Albion, for who a fourth clean sheet in six games has them looking impenetrable.

Albion (4-2-3-1): Palmer; Furlong, Bartley, Kipre, Townsend; Yokusku (Molumby, 74), Mowatt; Diangana (Fellows, 65), Swift (Maja, 74), Sarmiento (Phillips, 65); Wallace (Thomas-Asante, 21).

Subs not used: Griffiths, Pipa, Ajayi, Chalobah.

Cardiff City (4-2-3-1): Runarsson; Romeo (Panzo, 55), Goutas, McGuinness, Ng; Ralls (c) (Wintle, 55), Siopis; Bowler, Robinson (Colwill, 65), Tanner (Etete, 77); Meite (Ugbo, 55).

Subs not used: Alnwick, Adams, Sawyers, Rinomhota.

Attendance: 18,248 (no Albion figure given)

Referee: Josh Smith