Goalscoring heroes revel in south Wales derby win

1st April 2023
First team
Ben Cabango and Liam Cullen celebrate

Swansea City academy graduates Ben Cabango and Liam Cullen revelled in one of the best days in their careers after getting on the scoresheet in the dramatic 3-2 south Wales derby victory at Cardiff City.

Joel Piroe had opened the scoring inside three minutes for the Swans, with Cullen adding a second shortly after the half hour mark to score in a derby for the first time.

The home side mounted a comeback with goals from Jaden Philogene and Sory Kaba drawing the scores level with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

It had looked like the two sides were heading towards the first draw in the south Wales derby since January 2020, but Cabango sealed three points for the Swans in the ninth minute of added time when he tapped in the rebound after Jay Fulton’s effort came off the post and was deflected by Joel Latibeaudiere.

“I’ve never had a feeling like that in football before,” said the centre-back.

“We were walking up to the set-piece and I said to Joel [Latibeaudiere], I’ve got a feeling we’ve just got to follow this up.

“I think it ricochets off Joel’s shin and it’s fallen to me in the box. I’ve just tapped it in and that feeling you get … I’m not sure I’ll ever get that again in football!

“Obviously going 2-0 up and then them bringing it back to 2-2 and then us scoring last minute … there’s no better way to do it. It’s an amazing feeling.”

And Cullen echoed the sentiments of his team-mate after the Kilgetty Messi stooped to head home a rebound after Piroe had hit the woodwork.

“I said before the game that if I score and we win, it will be the best day of my life. So to win in that manner, in the last minute and for this guy [Cabango] to do it again … it’s amazing,” Cullen added.

“Being on the bench at the time, I don’t think I could have picked anyone better to score the winner. It’s the best day I’ve had in football by a mile.”

Having come through the academy as young players, Cabango and Cullen know what the derby means to fans more than most. The proverbial ‘fan on the pitch’, both were determined to give the Jack Army another brilliant day out.

“We know how much this game means to fans, we know how much it means to the staff who are lifelong fans, and the players like myself who are lifelong fans. I think that was the main talking point before the game,” Cullen added.

“That win means so much to everyone, you could see the fans at the end and how much it means to them.

“Hopefully we can keep giving the fans moments like that.”

The victory saw the Swans become the first side to win four derbies in a row, while they have also won three away games in a row at Cardiff for the first time.

“In the last four games we’ve done the double double, which is unheard of obviously,” Cabango finished.

“Before that it had been 110 years and no one had done one double. It’s crazy – what an amazing feeling.”