Cardiff stormed to the top of the English Championship as Michael Chopra’s hat-trick clinched a 3-1 win at Plymouth on Tuesday.
Former Sunderland striker Chopra gave Cardiff a fourth-minute lead and scored again in the 80th minute after rounding goalkeeper Romain Larrieu before completing his hat-trick with a penalty five minutes from time after Marcel Seip fouled Chris Burke.
Alan Gow, recently signed from Rangers, reduced the deficit and Cardiff’s Tony Capaldi was sent off late on, but Dave Jones’ side had done enough to go one point clear of second placed Middlesbrough.
Gareth Southgate’s Middlesbrough, relegated from the Premier League last season, ground out a 2-0 win at newly promoted Scunthorpe with two goals from Adam Johnson
In the 28th minute, Johnson took Gary O’Neil’s through ball and slotted home.
Johnson then missed a penalty early in the second half when Joe Murphy parried his shot, but he made amends in the 53rd minute when a second spot-kick was awarded, for Grant McCann’s challenge on the striker.
West Bromwich Albion won 3-2 at Peterborough to go fourth.
Luke Moore gave the Baggies a third-minute lead with a 20m shot before he doubled the score.
Chris Brunt added a third four minutes before half-time when he tapped into an empty net after Posh goalkeeper Joe Lewis had parried Shaun Cummings’ cross.
Peterborough pulled one goal back on the stroke of half-time through Craig Mackail-Smith’s close-range header before Aaron McLean slid in eight minutes into the second half to draw another back.
Mackail-Smith then had the ball in the net again but it was disallowed for a foul on Scott Carson.
Graham Dorrans was sent off at the death for the Baggies for his second bookable offense.
Bristol City claimed a narrow 1-0 win against QPR thanks to Nicky Maynard’s drilled shot as the Robins went up to fifth.
Sheffield United, beaten in the play-off final by Burnley last season, had to come from behind to draw 1-1 with Leicester at Bramall Lane.
Darren Ambrose scored twice and created another as he helped Crystal Palace to a 3-1 win at his old club Ipswich.
Watford won 4-2 at Nottingham Forest, while Paul Parry, Neil Mellor and Jon Parkin scored as Preston won 3-0 at Barnsley.
Coventry drew 0-0 at Doncaster and Blackpool and Derby also drew 0-0.
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