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Nikica Jelavic's double left Cardiff City in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone as Hull City claimed their third away victory of the season.
The hosts went into the match looking for just a second League triumph since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reins as manager. Things did not go to plan, however, as Hull City - buoyed by having January recruits Jelavic and Shane Long back in the fold after they were ineligible for the FA Cup 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion - grabbed their second Barclays Premier League victory in eight matches.
Having been set on their way by Tom Huddlestone's deflected strike, the visitors took a fortuitous 2-0 lead into the break as Jelavic netted his second goal since signing in the transfer window following a one-two with Long.
Things did not improve for Cardiff after the break as Jelavic headed home his second before Jake Livermore stroked home a fourth.
Hull could take plenty of encouragement from a triumph that leaves them looking up rather than over their shoulders following a recent poor run.
Boasting plenty of pace on the counter-attack, Cardiff looked threatening during the early stages - even if a series of promising openings ultimately amounted to little.
They were almost rewarded for their industry in the 12th minute, though, following some beautiful skill from Wilfried Zaha.
The on-loan winger, who had struck straight at the goalkeeper from just outside the area a few moments earlier, jinked his way past three defenders in the box and forced a smart save from Allan McGregor. The Scotland international had to be alert again soon after when denying Kenwyne Jones.
Not to be outdone, McGregor's opposite number, David Marshall, matched his countryman by pulling off a fine stop of his own as he kept out Jelavic's effort from point-blank range following the striker's fine one-two with Long.
Yet Marshall could do little as Hull took the lead from the resulting clearance. The ball found its way to Huddlestone, who unleashed a vicious strike that deflected past the shot-stopper.
To their credit, Cardiff responded impressively and almost levelled matters when Jones headed just wide from three yards. But Hull hit the hosts with a sucker-punch as the Jelavic-Long combination bore fruit once more in the 38th minute. Having got on the end of his partner's through ball, Long returned the favour and Jelavic slid the ball past Marshall emphatically.
Having struck wide with a decent chance in the immediate aftermath of the restart, Jelavic made no mistake when glancing Liam Rosenior's cross home. And they increased their advantage in the 67th minute as Livermore side-footed past Marshall after being found by Ahmed Elmohamady.
Hull manager Steve Bruce was subsequently afforded the luxury of being able to withdraw the hard-working Long as the visitors comfortably saw out the match.
Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "We just weren't good enough in both boxes. Their first two chances in the first half, they scored.
"We wont lay down and give up. We were knocked back today, but we'll keep working hard and stick together."
Hull City manager Steve Bruce: “It’s a terrific feeling because, if I’m being honest, I didn’t think we played that well in the first half in particular.
"We kept giving the ball away cheaply but, as I've said many times, you’re only as good as your strikers, and if you’ve got a couple like we’ve got now then they can rip teams open.
“They’re clinical, they’ve got a bit of pace running in behind and we’ve got the strength of Jelavic, and for me that’s what has won us the game today.
“It’s not going to take away from the clean sheet – defensively we’ve been rock solid and put bodies on the line – but you need at this level, in my opinion, something like we’ve got.”
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|22 Mar 2014||v Liverpool (H)|
|29 Mar 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|05 Apr 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|