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Cardiff City’s Arsenal Keeper Alex Runarsson Not To Blame, Says Erol Bulut

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By Gareth James

Erol Bulut has jumped to the defence of Cardiff City’s Arsenal loanee Alex Runarsson and claimed he was not at fault for the goal that gave West Brom victory over the Bluebirds.

Bulut watched his team fail to seize the chance to move into the play-off spots as they lost 1-0 at home to the Baggies on Tuesday night.

Runarsson was beaten by a shot wide out from Jeremy Sarmiento that flew across the goalkeeper’s six-yard box and into the far corner.

The Icelandic keeper – who was making only his third appearance since his switch from the Gunners – looked disappointed with his own effort to get to the ball after it curled past him.

But Bulut insisted: “We watched it and I spoke with the goalkeeper coach (Mario Galinovic) and he said he couldn’t catch the ball.

“I have to see it, but if the goalkeeper coach says this, it’s a really good shot.

“We don’t have to allow that shot. We should be more aggressive and we should push the opponent to the line.

“West Brom is one of the best organised teams against the ball. We tried hard, but they had a lucky shot.

“In the first half it was not many chances, both sides. Without this shot it was a typical game for a draw.

“But sometimes you need luck and the luck was from the opponents’ side today, with that shot from the right side.”

Runarsson has made five appearances for Cardiff since his loan deal began in the summer, but only three of those have come in the league.

For the remainder of his spell he has had to play second fiddle to Jak Alnwick.

The defeat dropped Cardiff down to eighth in the Championship table, three points behind sixth-placed Hull City.

Bulut – whose team have lost back-to-back home fixtures – was angry that his team were not awarded a penalty for handball in the second-half.

He claimed the decision underlined his belief that VAR needed to be introduced into the Championship, despite the current controversies raging about its effects in the Premier League.

“I said, when I signed for Cardiff, this league, for sure, needs VAR,” he added.

“Until today, I didn’t mention any word about referees, because I respect them. But I think they have to respect more Cardiff City.

“Today was again a clear penalty, a clear penalty. They saw it differently to us. We will report it and see what comes out.

“It was the second half, the cross from the right, Ng, the player puts his arm up and the ball hits his arm, when you jump you don’t face the opponent like this (gesturing with his arm up).

“It was inside the area. The linesman was only 10 metres away. I don’t want to speak but they are pushing me to speak.
“I have lost points like this. I have reported it and I will also report this match.

“They always have a different opinion to me. For me and for the football world, it’s clear.

“We had many games. Three more games I reported… maybe I don’t know the rules, but it’s not always the referee. It’s our chances, too.

“But I played football for many years and was manager for many years. It cannot be white for you and black for me.

“Maybe the rules are different in Germany and Turkey. I am 35 years in football and the rules were always the same.”

Carlos Corberan praised his West Brom team’s “maturity” as they earned a fifth victory in six matches to move up to third place in the Championship.

The Spanish manager has guided his team from the lower reaches of the table to the nearest challengers to Leicester City and Ipswich, although the fight to bridge the gap to the automatic promotion places could alter if Leeds United win on Wednesday at home to Swansea City.

Sarmiento, 21, was making only his second start since arriving on loan from Brighton, but the Ecuadorian World Cup player was always a handful for the home defence with his pace and trickery.

After hitting the post in the first-half, Sarmiento cut in from the left-hand side five minutes after the restart to whip a shot across Runarsson and into the far corner.

Corberan insisted his winger was attempting the spectacular, rather than benefiting from a mis-hit cross.
“It was his intention to make that finish. He has that quality,” said Corberan, whose team have now won seven of their last 10 games.

“This was a totally opposite kind of win to our more recent ones. It was the consequence of competing with maturity.

“It was difficult to impose our style, but it’s very important for me to not be frustrated, but instead to fix the details. We had to finish the game with attitude.”

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