REPORT: Chelsea 4-1 City
Cardiff City were consigned to a harsh 4-1 defeat despite taking the lead in a determined performance against Premier League challengers Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Jordon Mutch put the Bluebirds ahead just ten minutes into the game as he chipped over Chelsea stopper Petr Cech to make the most of a poor Ramires back pass, with City looking good value for their early lead.
But it was a game that hinged on a Chelsea equaliser just after the half hour mark, Samuel Eto'o dispossessing City stopper David Marshall as he bounced the ball as he looked to clear, before Eden Hazard slotted home to equalise for Jose Mourinho's side.
After the break a reinvigorated Chelsea took command after the hour mark, Eto'o grabbing his first goal for the hosts before substitute Oscar and a second of the match for Hazard made the result look comprehensive for London club.
City boss Malky Mackay made two changes to the side that faced Newcastle United last time out, as Mutch and Don Cowie came in to replace Fraizer Campbell and Kim Bo Kyung who dropped to the bench.
The home side looked to control the ball from the off, passing it neatly around in the early stages, but it was a loose Blues' pass that gave City the opportunity to raise a few eyebrows with just ten minutes on the clock.
Capitalising on Ramires' backpass for David Luiz, the chasing Mutch pounced to take control and clinically chip the ball over Chelsea stopper Petr Cech to put the Bluebirds into a stunning early lead.
And they soon looked good value for it. Continuing to pass the ball well and look a danger on the attack, City were almost two up as Peter Odemwingie flicked-on a Peter Whittingham free-kick, only for Cech, making his 300th appearance for Chelsea on the day, to palm it wide.
The home fans were frustrated, but Chelsea were threatening an equaliser; John Terry heading over the bar before Gary Medel broke up a strong Chelsea counter attack moments later.
But the equaliser came in bizarre fashion. Eto'o dispossessing City'keeper Marshall in the penalty area before Hazard slotted home from close range.
Luiz and Hazard both saw their shots dealt with soon after before Cowie picked up City's first booking of the game for a foul on Juan Mata as half-time approached.
HALF TIME: Chelsea 1-1 Cardiff City
No changes for either side at the break but it was the home side who provided the test early on; Eto'o in search for his first goal for Chelsea seeing his dipped effort saved well by Marshall.
And a reinvigorated Chelsea side took the lead as the hour mark passed. Cutting in from the left, Eto'o fired home at the near post to making the most of some space and grab that elusive first Premier League goal.
Malky introduced Fraizer Campbell into the proceedings in place of Odemwingie in response, and the Bluebirds almost grabbed a leveller as substitute Kim Bo Kyung fired a wicked shot towards the near post soon after, only to see Cech palm it wide to City's frustration.
Just three mimnutes later the Blues got the all important third; Substitute Oscar firing home his fifth Premier League goal of the season to put the Blues in command with ten minutes to go.
In shades of a last meeting with Chelsea in the FA Cup in 2010, City's half-time optimism was soon a distant memory as Hazard grabbed his second of the game just four minutes later.
It consigned the Bluebirds to a harsh result at Stamford Bridge given their excellent first half performance as City were forced to quickly cast their minds onto next weekend's crucial trip to face Chirs Hughton's Norwich City.
FULL TIME: Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City
Teams - Cardiff City: Marshall; Taylor, Caulker (C), Turner, Whittingham, Medel (Kim 56), Odemwingie (Campbell 67), Gunnarsson (Gestede 80), Mutch, Cowie, Theophile-Catherine. Subs not used: Lewis, Hudson, Noone, Maynard.
Goal: Mutch (10)
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry (c), Bertrand (Torres 64); Ramires, Lampard; Willian, Mata (Oscar 59), Hazard; Eto’o (Azpilicueta 69). Subs not used: Schwarzer, Cahill, Essien, De Bruyne.
Goals: Hazard (33, 82), Eto'o (66), Oscar (78)
Attendance: 41,475 (Stamford Bridge, London)