The Bluebirds were denied a fourth successive league victory as they let slip a two goal lead against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
City were in the driving seat at half time after they scored two quick-fire goals for the second match in a row. Aron Gunnarsson had scored the opener, powering in to the box past several Palace defenders, before slotting the ball calmly past Speroni. And just moments later it was two. An optimistic effort from Craig Bellamy was deflected in to the air, with the ball falling to Don Cowie just outside the box. The Scotsman fired the ball home in a similar fashion to his goal on this ground on the final day of last season.
The second half saw a complete swing in momentum, however, as two penalties helped Palace to turn the game on its head. The referee first pointed to the spot in the 52nd minute, adjudging that the ball had hit Andrew Taylor's hand in the wall, following a free kick. Glenn Murray made no mistake to pull one back for his side. And the striker was involved in the equaliser too, as his goal-bound effort was turned over the line by Matthew Connolly. Finally, Murray completed the comeback, converting another spot kick after Helguson's clumsy challenge, leaving the final score at 3-2.
City kicked off at Selhurst Park in their new black and red third strip for the first time, and they looked composed on the ball, enjoying some early possession in the opposition half. This led to the Bluebirds earning the first corner of the game as Gunnarsson's half volley was deflected wide following a Helguson knock down.
But it was Palace who created the first chance of the game as Zaha's trickery on the left flank created a shooting opportunity for Brazilian attacking midfielder André Moritz. The City defence put their bodies on the line to keep it out though. Kagisho Dikgacoi was next to try his luck, having recovered from minor concussion suffered in Palace's midweek draw with Forest. He forced David Marshall into an excellent save, as his deflected long range effort was heading towards the top corner.
The Eagles built upon this early spell of pressure as they earned a string of corners in the opening 15 minutes.But it was City who took the lead against the run of play. Aron Gunnarsson showed a burst of pace to break through several Palace defenders, taking advantage of a fortunate bounce of the ball, before slotting the ball past Speroni in to the bottom corner, to the delight of the travelling Bluebirds faithful.
GOAL: CRYSTAL PALACE 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Aron Gunnarsson, 13 mins)
City scored two goals in a couple of minutes at The New Den in midweek and the feat was amazingly repeated on this trip to South London as well. In the very next attack, Bellamy's optimistic shot was deflected up in to the air, and Don Cowie was first to capitalise on the bouncing ball, firing it into the far corner. The goal would have reminded City fans of his winner on this ground on the final day of last season.
GOAL: CRYSTAL PALACE 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Don Cowie, 15 mins)
Palace seemed to be shell shocked after City's double and could only muster up tame long range efforts from Jedinak and Dikgacoi in the next ten minutes. But, if City were fortunate to take the lead earlier on, they were unlucky not to make it three with just 25 minutes played. After an aerial battle on the edge of the box, the ball fell to Craig Bellamy, but the Welshman's volley flew marginally over the bar.
Substitution Palace: Joel Ward on for Peter Ramage (29 mins)
Helguson was winning more than his fair share of aerial battles against the palace centre halfs, but weak claims for a penalty were waved away as Gunnarsson ran on to yet another knock down from the Iceman. At the other end, the Eagles' wide men Zaha and Bolasie looked lively, but despite earning several more corners, the South London side struggled to create any clear-cut goal scoring opportunities as half time approached. City did have to endure one final scare before hearing the whistle, however, but Zaha was booked for diving after taking a tumble in the box.
HALF TIME: CRYSTAL PALACE 0-2 CARDIFF CITY
The second half started in a scrappier fashion and Palace won themselves a central 25 yard free kick with a few minutes played. André Moritz left-footed effort was deflected behind, but the referee adjudged that it had come off Andrew Taylor's hand in the wall. Glenn Murray stepped up and sent Marshall the wrong way from the penalty spot to get the Eagles back in to the game.
GOAL: CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (Glenn Murray (pen), 52 mins)
And it was Glenn Murray who was next to sting the palms of Marshall, his effort comfortably saved by the Scotsman as Palace failed to capitalise on a 3 on 1 attacking situation. City then carved out a great chance, playing some beautiful football as they looked to restore their two goal advantage. Bellamy and Helguson had combined well, before laying the ball off to Cowie, who fired over.
However, Palace went up the other end of the pitch and punished the Bluebirds for wasting that chance. Marshall had done very well to keep the ball out after the ball fell to Glenn Murray a couple of yards out. However, with the ball bouncing on the line, Matthew Connolly was unable to prevent himself from knocking the ball over as he was running back to clear.
GOAL: CRYSTAL PALACE 2-2 CARDIFF CITY (Connolly og, 62 mins)
Connolly partly made up for his mistake with an excellent last ditch challenge on André Moritz just moments later after Hudson had let the Brazilian past him too easily. Cardiff were hanging on as the momentum was most certainly with the Eagles in the second period.
As the game seemed to be swinging completely in the favour of the South Londoners, Helguson launched in with a late sliding tackle right on the edge of the box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot once more, giving Glenn Murray the opportunity to score his second of the afternoon. The former Brighton front man made no mistake again, to complete the comeback for his side.
GOAL: CRYSTAL PALACE 3-2 CARDIFF CITY (Glenn Murray (pen), 72 mins)
Substitution Cardiff: Craig Noone on for Don Cowie (75 mins)
Substitution Crystal Palace: Jonathan Williams on for André Moritz (75 mins)
City looked to Craig Noone to get them back in to the game after the young winger's excellent performance against Millwall on Tuesday. But Palace still looked dangerous at the other end as Zaha and Bolasie caused problems for the full backs and Dikgacoi continued to shoot on sight.
Substitution Cardiff: Joe Mason on for Craig Bellamy (81 mins)
The Bluebirds hoped that youth was the answer, as Joe Mason was also brought into the frame late on. But the match was becoming ever more scrappy as they were unable to sustain any sort of pressure in the final third. A long range Whittingham drive was the only chance that City were able to create as the match entered the final 10 minutes.
Substitution Crystal Palace: Dean Moxey on for Yannick Bolasie (86 mins)
Substitution Cardiff: Kim Bo-Kyung on for Tommy Smith (88 mins)
The announcement of 5 minutes of injury time gave Cardiff some hope of grabbing a late equaliser. But, if anything, Palace looked more likely to score in the closing minutes as City had committed everyone forward, leaving holes in the defence. In the final move of the game Craig Noone fired well wide of goal from distance to condemn City to their second defeat of the season.
FINAL SCORE: CRYSTAL PALACE 3-2 CARDIFF CITY