By Gareth James
Erol Bulut has hailed Cardiff City’s team ethic after they climbed to seventh place in the Championship table with a dramatic win at Preston North End.
The Bluebirds boss believes the 2-1 victory – won with two goals deep into stoppage time – can prove more significant than merely closing the gap to the play-offs to just a single point.
“It’s a very important win for us here today,” said Bulut.
“From the first minute of the match until right up until the end of the game, my players showed the character that they needed to.”
Karlan Grant and Ike Ugbo both scored in added time as Cardiff snatched victory at 10-man Preston.
Grant bundled the ball over the line in the 96th-minute to equalise, before Ugbo’s excellent glancing header three minutes later sparked pandemonium in the away end.
Milutin Osmajić’s 48th-minute goal put Preston ahead but the hosts were on the backfoot for much of the second half owing to Robbie Brady’s red card.
“It’s not easy to play against 10 players in this type of situation but we reacted in the right way,” added Bulut.
Cardiff City scored two goals deep into stoppage time to snatch a dramatic late win at fellow Championship play-off contenders Preston North End ⚽#BBCFootball
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) November 26, 2023
“Sometimes it can be more difficult than with 11 players, but we did everything right in the game. We kept the ball and tried to create chances throughout the game and got our reward.
“I think we deserved to get the three points at full time as we kept on pushing to create something.
“When I saw there were nine minutes added on at the end, I thought that it could have been closer to 12, because our opponents tried only to waste time in the second half.
“You could see how important it was for both teams to get the win and eventually we got there.”
Midfielder Brady was shown a second yellow just four minutes after Osmajić’s goal but Preston did brilliantly to keep Cardiff at bay, only to see their hard work undone in the final minutes.
The result moved Cardiff up to sixth in the table, just a place and a point behind Preston.
Preston manager Ryan Lowe said: “I’m disappointed for the boys; they are on the floor in the changing room.
— Cardiff City Cymraeg (@CymraegCCFC) November 26, 2023
“But, I am proud of them for what they did in the game, for large parts of that game that is, particularly having to play with 10 men in the second half.
“We did well, apart from those two moments where there was a bit of luck for them and misfortune for us.
“I cannot fault the lads for what they have put into the match. To lose in the 99th minute, when they put everything on the line, I am so proud of the lads as I always am. It is a result that’s a kick in the teeth at the moment.
“But, we come back in tomorrow and recover, analyse the things we could have done a bit better and pick ourselves up. There were parts of the game, even with 10 men, that I was really pleased with. But, it’s disappointing to not get any points.”