Aston Villa's long scoreless streak is over, and they're now comfortably ahead of the bottom three. Cardiff did very well to frustrate the Villains and deny them clear chances in the early going, but Malky Mackay's side were undone by a brilliant free kick and a late insurance goal in Villa's 2-0 victory.
The opening minutes were frenetic, benefiting an athletic Villa side much more than the usually compact and organized Bluebirds, but the hosts were unable to take advantage. As the first half wore on, the pace slowed down and Cardiff were able to keep themselves organized and get into halftime with a clean sheet.
Villa looked lively from the start of the second half, just like they did in the first, and nearly scored 50 minutes in. Libor Kozak was denied by David Marshall off a low header that looked destined to go in at the bottom corner, but Marshall was able to get across his goal and tip wide.
Cardiff continued to keep Villa from generating good shots from inside their penalty area, but Leandro Bacuna came up with a way to score without one in the 76th minute, ending a scoring drought of seven hours for the Villains. After Gary Medel took Bacuna down 25 yards from goal, he stepped up and curled an unstoppable right-to-left banana shot that snuck in at the near post.
With Cardiff needing to take more risks, there was more space for Villa to attack and they took advantage with a second goal, though it was of the scrappy variety. After a cross skipped up off the turf, Matt Lowton headed back across goal towards Kozak, who beat his man in the air and nodded past Marshall to seal the win for Villa.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, El Ahmadi (Lowton 74'), Westwood, Sylla, Tonev, Benteke, Kozak (Bowery 88')
Goals: Bacuna (76'), Kozak (84')
Cardiff: Marshall, Taylor, Caulker, Turnker, Theopile, Medel, Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Mutch 65'), Cowie, Bellamy (Maynard 82'), Odemwingie (Campbell 55')