Pre-season friendly: Cardiff City 1-0 Nice

Joe Ralls is congratulated by Cardiff team-mate Bobby Decordova-Reid after scoring against Nice
Joe Ralls is congratulated by Cardiff team-mate Bobby Decordova-Reid after scoring against Nice

Joe Ralls scored a spectacular quick-fire goal to help Cardiff City sign off their pre-season campaign with victory over French Ligue 1 side Nice.

Energetic midfielder Ralls struck after just 22 seconds, curling home a left footed shot from the edge of the Nice penalty area in fine style.

Cardiff begin their Championship campaign at Wigan Athletic on 3 August.

Manager Neil Warnock will be seeking to add to his record nine promotions as they seek a Premier League return.

Warnock had cautioned against looking for clues in his starting line-up against Nice - managed by Arsenal great Patrick Vieira - as to the likely side to travel to Wigan in the opener.

Nevertheless the back four in front of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge - Lee Peltier, Aiden Flint, captain Sean Morrison and Joe Bennett - boast a wealth of Championship experience and were solid.

Flint, making his home debut following his £4m-plus arrival from Middlesbrough, looked a formidable force at the back.

Warnock has also said he is optimistic about drafting in a striker before deadline day on 8 August.

Josh Murphy of Cardiff City takes on Ibrahim Cisse
Josh Murphy of Cardiff City takes on Nice's Ibrahim Cisse

A focal point up front was something Cardiff appeared to miss following the 13th-minute loss of Gary Madine through injury, though second-half substitute Omar Bogle made his robust presence felt and was twice denied by Nice goalkeeper Yannis Clementia late on.

Bogle and midfielder Lee Tomlin did themselves no harm with eye-catching late appearances.

Tomlin fired a free-kick over and Danny Ward had a shot blocked on the line against a Nice side who lacked a cutting edge despite their promising build-up play.

'Good work out'

Manager Neil Warnock is pleased with the way pre-season has gone but warned his players opening Championship opponents Wigan will be a completely different proposition.

"I have just said to them yes it was a good work out today, but that is going to be nothing like next week Wigan. Wigan are a good side, physical as well, so it will be hard work but we couldn't have wished for any more."

Warnock hopes the club will have a flurry of new recruits before the Championship campaign kicks off.

"I am hoping we can bring two or even three in this week. . . .I am really looking at the strike force more than anything," he said.

"We haven't had much luck, its no good saying we are near, because we are not. I would say its 50-50 at the moment. I am not going to sign anybody for the sake of it.

"We have two major targets but neither of them we can say we have a good chance of at the minute."

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