Cardiff City fell to a crushing home defeat at Cardiff City Stadium as Steve Bruce’s Hull City beat the Bluebirds by four goals to nil.
The Bluebirds were unfortunate to go behind, as Tom Huddlestone’s shot deflected off Andrew Taylor and into the net after just 18 minutes. Nikica Jelavić, who joined Hull from Everton in January, then helped himself to a brace either side of half-time, before Jake Livermore completed the scoring to claim the Tigers' biggest away Premier League victory.
For the first-ever top-flight meeting between Cardiff and Hull in Wales, Juan Cala made his Barclays Premier League debut at the heart of the Bluebirds’ defence having impressed in last week’s FA Cup with Budweiser tie with Wigan. Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær made four changes to his starting line-up in total, with the injured Gary Medel replaced by Don Cowie with Craig Noone, Fábio, and Kenwyne Jones also coming in for Mats Dæhli, Kévin Théophile-Catherine and Jo Inge Berget. Hull City boss Steve Bruce welcomed back Liam Rosenior to his side after his thigh injury, while James Chester was fit enough to make the bench.
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan will have had a keen eye on this one as both sides fielded one of his selected stoppers. It was Hull’s Allan McGregor who was called into action first, saving comfortably from Wilfried Zaha after he had earlier produced a less-than-assured clearance with Kenwyne Jones bearing down.
David Meyler, who was with Steve Bruce at previous club Sunderland, was fortunate to escape with only a telling-off from referee Howard Webb after a seventh-minute late challenge on Magnus Eikrem, another man making his first league start for the Bluebirds.
The Norwegian linked with Zaha for City’s next attack, with the on-loan Manchester United man proving untouchable to the Tigers’ defence before bringing a save from McGregor. Kenwyne Jones made a similar impact moments later as he powered into the penalty area, only for the former Beşiktaş stopper to get down low to make the save.
A slip by Eikrem presented Hull’s big-money strike partnership of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavić the opportunity to link-up, with Cardiff’s goalkeeper initially making a great stop to deny the Croatian International. Cardiff failed to clear their lines however, as the ball rebounded to Livermore, who promptly tee'd up Huddlestone to find the net via a huge deflection off full-back Taylor.
The Bluebirds needed a quick reply and they nearly got it from Fraizer Campbell, who headed a Noone corner goalwards only for McGregor to pluck the ball out of the air. A great tackle from Eikrem denied Jelavić on the break.
Campbell could have and perhaps should have hit the target when Fábio delivered a sweet cross on the half-hour. Strike partner Jones was next to come close on thirty-six minutes as he headed the ball wide after Eikrem’s stab had come off Hull defender Maynor Figueroa.
Despite their endeavour to bring parity however it was Hull who doubled their advantage through Jelavić after he played an extended one-two with strike partner Long and then blasted beyond the helpless Marshall.
The long wait for a Cardiff City penalty in the Premier League continued soon after as Nikica Jelavić appeared to bring down Jones in the area as he looked to head home only to see appeals from the Bluebirds waved away by referee Howard Webb.
HALF-TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-2 HULL CITY
Looking for a response, Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought on Mats Møller Dæhli to replace Zaha at the break. Hull almost quickly claimed a third however as the Bluebirds struggled to clear their lines before Jelavić shot wide right at the beginning of the half.
Campbell was beaten to the ball by Tom Huddlestone as another chance for City to pull one back went begging, before Juan Cala headed over from the resulting corner. Kenwyne Jones was unable to flick an Eikrem cross goalwards on fifty-four minutes.
Hopes of a comeback were soon dashed as Hull put themselves out of sight with their third goal after fifty-six minutes. Liam Rosenior was afforded space to turn and play in a cross, with Jelavić guiding his header beyond Marshall for his second of the game.
The Croatian international was clearly buoyed by his brace when he attempted a shot on Marshall from about forty yards. George Boyd replaced Tom Huddlestone on sixty-two minutes, shortly before Rosenior’s half-volley went wide of Marshall’s post.
Just as Cardiff started to enjoy some possession, they were punished again. Taylor’s loose pass fell to Ahmed Elmohamady, who broke on the right wing and centred for Livermore, who squared it for Jake Livermore to side-foot Hull’s fourth. The Bluebirds, now looking for mere consolation, saw another chance pass by as Campbell took could not get a shot away, before Steve Bruce withdrew son Alex and sent on James Chester.
Juan Cala headed wide as the game rolled into its final twenty minutes, before Jelavić missed another chance for his hat-trick by scuffing wide. Craig Noone managed a shot on target when he brought a first save from McGregor of the half, before volleying over with City’s next chance. Declan John replaced Taylor and Stephen Quinn came on for Long as both sides made 75th-minute substitutions.
Jo Inge Berget had replaced Campbell for Cardiff, before Jelavić found the side-netting as the visitors threatened once more. George Boyd's late booking for a cynical tackle on Noone did little to tarnish the result for the away side.
For Cardiff, Declan John produced a mazy run that ended in the young full-back finding the side-netting late on, but full time signalled a massively disappointing afternoon for Cardiff as Steve Bruce collected his 100th Premier League win as a manager.
FULL-TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-4 HULL CITY
Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor (John 74), Caulker (capt), Jones, Campbell (Berget 79), Eikrem, Noone, Cowie, Cala, Fábio, Zaha (Dæhli 46). Subs not used: Lewis, Turner, Whittingham, Gunnarsson.
McGregor, Rosenior, Figueroa, Bruce (Chester 70), Davies (capt), Meyler, Huddlestone (Boyd 63), Livermore, Jelavić, Long (Quinn 75), Elmohamady.
Subs not used: Harper, Koren, Sagbo, Aluko.
Goals: Huddlestone (18), Jelavic (38, 57), Livermore (67).
Attendance: 26,167 (800 from Hull)