Cardiff held as new stadium opens

Cardiff marked the official opening of their new 27,000 all-seater stadium by holding a strong Celtic line-up to a goalless draw.

Last Updated: 22/07/09 at 21:57 Post Comment

Burke: Could have won it for Bluebirds

Burke: Could have won it for Bluebirds

More than 15,000 fans - and dozens of former Cardiff players - turned up to witness the occasion as the Championship club ended their lengthy association with Ninian Park.

And before the kick-off, the Treorchy Male Voice Choir greeted the two teams with stirring renditions of You'll Never Walk Alone and Men Of Harlech.

But more importantly for Celtic, the game marked another step forward in their preparations for the forthcoming Champions League qualifier with Dinamo Moscow after triumphing 3-0 in their opening pre-season game against Brisbane Roar.

They now have the weekend Wembley Cup clashes with leading Egyptian outfit Al Ahly and Tottenham to iron out any remaining faults before the action starts for real.

Former West Brom boss Mowbray included his two summer signings to date, striker Marc-Antoine Fortune and Landy N'Guemo, in his starting line-up.

Celtic, urged on by more than 1,000 supporters, did most of the early pressing and Bluebirds goalkeeper David Marshall was quickly into action to block a low drive from Aiden McGeady.

Marshall then did well to keep out a Massimo Donati header from a Shaun Maloney corner as the Bhoys dominated the early exchanges.

Fortune also fired over the bar when well placed and Scott McDonald dragged a shot wide before Celtic keeper Artur Boruc was forced into a trio of saves in quick succession.

He parried a drive from in-demand Cardiff skipper Joe Ledley - a target for Hull boss Phil Brown - blocked an angled shot from Michael Chopra and kept out a flicked header from the impressive Jay Bothroyd.

Cardiff suffered a setback when defender Kevin McNaughton hobbled out of the action shortly after the half-hour mark to be replaced by Tony Capaldi.

Predictably both sides rang plenty of changes at half-time with another Celtic summer newcomer, Lukasz Zaluska, replacing Boruc between the posts but the action was still of a higher intensity than most friendlies.

Cardiff looked more threatening at the start of the second period with Bothroyd and another Hull target, striker Ross McCormack, slicing shots wide when in space.

There was a competitive edge to the game and Celtic striker Chris Killen was yellow-carded after a clash with Cardiff defender Anthony Gerrard.

Then N'Guemo, signed on an initial season-long loan from Nancy, produced an excellent tackle inside his own area to deny Cardiff substitute Gavin Rae as he prepared to shoot.

Chris Burke came close to earning Cardiff victory but Zaluska was the equal of his low drive.

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