City's Barclays Premier League bow ended in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham United as they made their first appearance in the top flight for 51 years at Upton Park.
A fast and frenetic opening period saw Joe Cole give the Hammers the lead with just 13 minutes on the clock, a clinical touch, turn and finish saw him fire the ball home past David Marshall as he made the most of a Matt Jarvis cross. A Kim Bo-Kyung strike on the counter attack the best chance for the Bluebirds in the first-half.
A bright opening to the second period almost saw City grab an equaliser from a penalty area scramble on a Craig Bellamy corner, only for the ball to fall to the home side who promptly clear their lines.
Despite the Bluebirds desire to grab an equaliser, it was the Hammers who got the all important second goal; Kevin Nolan curling the ball home past Marshall deep into the second-half to earn the home side the win and consign the Bluebirds to an opening day defeat.
City ended the long awaited anticipation for Premier League football as they took to the field at a raucous Upton Park. Amongst the City line-up, record signing Gary Medel who was handed his Cardiff City debut in the midfield by manager Malky Mackay; defender Steven Caulker was also made his first competitive bow for the Bluebirds.
With an excellent early tempo to the game, the players clearly sharing the buzz and excitement of a new season, it was Whittingham who gave City the first sight of goal; his free-kick from the edge of the area early on clipping the side netting.
Kim Bo Kyung showed further signs for encouragement as he broke well on the counter attack. With Bellamy and Campbell in support the South Korean chose to take on the shot, which flew wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's near post.
Throughout the early stages the Hammers always had a threatening poise and City were introduced to the clinical nature of the Premier League in the 13th minute as Cole controlled a Matt Jarvis cross with his first-touch, before slamming the ball past Marshall with his second to put the Hammers ahead.
An early frenetic tempo gave way to a lull as Mohamed Diame was the next to come closest to adding to the scoresheet. His 37th minute shot, deflecting wickedly off full-back Matt Connolly to fly inches wide of goal with Marshall rooted to the spot.
Half-time - West Ham United 1-0 Cardiff City
It was a bright opening to the second half for the Bluebirds as they looked for an equaliser at Upton Park. An early Bellamy corner causing a melay in the box before the Hammers eventually cleared their lines.
Whittingham was next to take his chances from long range only to see his shot drag wide of Jaaskelainen's goal, Modibo Maiga almost doubling the Hammers lead just after the hour mark as his shot flew across goal, helped on its way by the fingertips of Marshall who diverted his effort just wide of goal.
Going for the leveller, Malky Mackay introduce Rudy Gestede and Nicky Maynard to the proceedings on 74 minutes, Bellamy and Kim Bo-Kyung made way.
Two minutes later, the home side had doubled his lead as Nolan curled his effort past the on-reaching Marshall. Some quick passing play in the middle park proving the undoing for the Bluebirds as Noble picked out Nolan to clinically convert and put the Hammers in command of the tie.
Further chances came for City, perhaps the best to Connolly who saw his late header from a Whittingham corner tipped over the bar by Jaaskelainen; substitute Nicky Maynard also coming close as full-time approached.
FULL-TIME - West Ham United 2-0 Cardiff City
Goals: Cole (13), Nolan (76)
Teams - West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame (Diarra 81), Nolan, Jarvis (Downing 71), Cole (Vaz Te 90), Maiga. Subs not used: Adrian, Tomkins, Rat, Morrison.
Cardiff City: Marshall, Connolly, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham, Medel, Campbell (Mutch 90), Kim (Maynard 74), Gunnarsson, Bellamy (Gestede 74), John. Subs not used: Lewis; Hudson, Smith, Cowie.