Southampton easily dispatched Cardiff 3-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, as the Saints raced ahead early on.
A quick-fire double from Jay Rodriguez and a Rickie Lambert strike did the damage during 13 first half minutes, as Cardiff were stunned by the clinical finishing from the South Coast club.
Malky Mackay’s men tried to get back into the game, but Saints recorded a shutout and were unlucky not to extend their lead with several second half chances.
With the win Southampton move onto 27 points and stay ninth, while Cardiff are now just one point above the drop zone in 16th place.
After protests against Cardiff’s controversial owner Vincent Tan before the game, the Bluebirds struggled early on as Southampton took the game to the them and Rodriguez got in down the left but his touch failed him.
The Saints controlled possession but Cardiff should have gone ahead as Craig Noone found Peter Whittingham found completely unmarked in the box with a great right-wing cross, but the Englishman somehow volleyed over from close range.
That miss proved to be costly as Southampton went ahead in the 13th minute when Rodriguez grabbed his first. The England winger ghosted in at the back post to finish coolly after Adam Lallana had set him up perfectly with a sublime through ball.
Six minutes later it was 2-0 to the Saints, and that man Rodriguez bagged another after Lambert’s pinpoint ball again found Rodriguez at the back post and he finished calmly to send the South Coast club into dreamland.
A few minutes later it was 3-0 to the Saints as Lambert pounced in the box to volley home his 99th league goal for Southampton to net Saints’ third goal in 13 minutes.
After that Lambert had a chance to make it 4-0 but skewed his effort wide after a delightful ball, then Paolo Gazaaniga made a good stop from Jordon Mutch’s effort as Cardiff tried to get back into the game.
In the second half Cardiff bombarded Gazzaniga’s goal and put plenty of pressure on the Saints from set pieces as the Argentine ‘keeper somehow managed to claw the ball away from under his own bar. Despite the Bluebirds best efforts, Southampton looked incredibly dangerous on the break and could’ve gone further ahead with strikes from Steven Davis, Rodriguez and Luke Shaw all going close.
Saints saw out the win with ease as the traveling supporters were treated to about as comfortable an away win win as they’ll ever see.
Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor (John, 61), Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Kim, 81), Mutch, Noone; Odemwingie (Cornelius, 45), Campbell
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 80), Rodriguez (Ramirez, 86), Lambert (Gallagher, 93)
Goals: Rodriguez (14 &20), Lambert (27)