EPL Promotion Watch: Cardiff Clinches Title, Battle for Second Heats Up

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EPL Promotion Watch: Cardiff Clinches Title, Battle for Second Heats Up
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Just four days after celebrating their promotion to the English Premier League, Cardiff City clinched the Championship title on the road at Burnley in a 1-1 draw. 

The Bluebirds went ahead in the 27th minute by way of a Craig Conway goal, but the 26th win of the season for Malky Mackay's club was denied when David Edgar scored on a header in stoppage time to help pull the hosts further away from the relegation battle. 

Below Cardiff in the table, the race for second place and the other automatic promotion spot has heated up thanks to the downfall of Hull City on Friday night. 

The Tigers were expected to seal the deal on their spot in the EPL next season against last-placed Bristol City at home, but instead, they were forced to wait another week after they drew 0-0 with the Robins.

With Hull losing, third-placed Watford crept closer to second place by emphatically taking care of business at Vicarage Road against Blackburn Rovers, 4-0. 

Troy Deeney scored two goals in a nine-minute span to start the four-goal second half outburst by the Hornets. Almen Abdi and Matthew Briggs contributed a goal each in the victory for Gianfranco Zola's club. 

Brighton and Hove Albion continued their impressive form with a 6-1 blowout of Blackpool that sent them into sole possession of fourth place. 

Five different players found the back of the net for the Seagulls, beginning with William Buckley's ninth-minute strike and ending with Ashley Barnes' second goal of the match in the 90th minute. 

Brighton's win, combined with a draw by Crystal Palace, gave the Seagulls the advantage for fourth place for now, but the fifth-placed Eagles still a have a game in hand left to play.

As for their result this weekend, Palace could only manage a point at home against Leicester City. The 2-2 draw saw the hosts get equalized twice by a Leicester City club that are desperate to fight their way into the final playoff spot. 

The Foxes are now one point behind Bolton Wanderers for sixth place with two matches left after Bolton defeated Middlesbrough, 2-1, at the Reebok Stadium. Marvin Sordell's 59th minute penalty ended a nine-minute span that saw three goals find the back of the net. 

With just two weeks left in the season, a full slate of matches will be played on Friday and Saturday as the top six continues to sort itself out. 

Here is how the Championship table looks after this weekend's action. The top two clubs earn automatic promotion to the Championship while the clubs in third through sixth place will compete in a four-club playoff for the third and final promotion bid. 

Club Matches Played Points Goal Differential
Cardiff City 44 85 27
Hull City 44 78 11
Watford 44 74 27
Brighton & Hove Albion 44 69 23
Crystal Palace 43 67 10
Bolton Wanderers 44 66 8

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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