Cardiff City midfielder Joe Ralls marked his return to the starting line-up with a goal on Saturday afternoon as the Bluebirds battled from behind to seal a 2-2 draw with Brentford.
Ralls’ injury struggles mean he has only managed to make two league starts since Neil Harris’ appointment in November, but he produced a typically tireless midfield display to help his side fight back against the Bees in the Welsh capital.
Brentford raced into a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes courtesy of Luka Racic and Bryan Mbeumo, but Cardiff then showed excellent character to level the scores before the break as Junior Hoilett and Ralls both netted headers.
The result means Cardiff are now sitting 11th in the table and five points adrift of the play-offs heading into the final 10 games of the season, and Ralls will have a key role to play if the Bluebirds are to push for a top-six spot this term.
Here, we take a closer look at the midfielder’s performance against Brentford…
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Ralls was used from the bench during Cardiff’s defeat to Nottingham Forest during the week, but Harris deemed the 26-year-old ready to play from the start against Brentford, and he excelled before being replaced in the 82nd minute.
The midfielder is known for his passing ability from midfield alongside his battling qualities, but he has also added more goals to his game this term and he continued this against Brentford as he netted Cardiff’s equaliser just before the break.
Much of Cardiff’s midfield play went through Ralls as he dictated proceedings from the middle, and he linked up effectively with his team-mates as he registered a 83% passing accuracy in addition to an impressive 100% accuracy from long balls.
The Bluebirds showed plenty of fight in order to muscle their way back into the game against the Bees, and Ralls was at the forefront of these efforts as he won 63% of his duels which helped Cardiff gain a valuable point in their play-off bid.
Ralls also got himself into a couple of promising attacking positions in addition to his measured midfield display, and this saw him register three touches in the box with one of these seeing him make it 2-2 against the Bees.