A two-goal Jimmy Bullard master-class saw Ipswich gain their fifth successive win over Cardiff and deny the Bluebirds a spot in the Championship's top two.
Cardiff controlled the first half with Peter Whittingham supreme, but Marton Fulop somehow kept a clean sheet.
City's profligacy was punished on 67 minutes as Bullard hit a stunning 30-yard angled shot past Stephen Bywater.
The midfielder helped close the game out then blasted in a 40-yard free kick with the help of a cruel deflection.
Third-placed Cardiff had been boosted before kick-off by poor results from their promotion rivals Swansea, Norwich and Nottingham Forest, and they made a bright start to the game.
They came close to opening the scoring when Fulop could only parry a 25-yard shot from Whittingham, and the Ipswich keeper needed his defence to scramble Craig Bellamy's follow-up shot off the line.
A delightful, curling free kick into the box from Whittingham was met by a powerful header from Dekel Keinan, but the ex-Blackpool defender was denied his first Bluebirds goal by the offside flag.
Ipswich struggled to compose themselves, their best chance coming when Bywater fumbled a Bullard free kick from the edge of the area, but the new Cardiff keeper was able to regather safely.
Stephen McPhail delivered a delightful, floated pass over the visitors' defence and into the path of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, the striker collecting well but seeing his shot saved by Fulop.
The Bluebirds' onslaught continued, Whittingham again to the fore as his 30-yard free kick bounced to safety after rattling the underside of the bar.
Somehow the Tractor Boys' goal line remained intact, the visitors relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
Cardiff were soon on the attack again after the break, Bellamy charging down the left before crossing to Emmanuel-Thomas.
Fulop got a hand to the striker's shot, the ball bouncing under the keeper's body then up and over the crossbar.
Jason Scotland was starting to threaten at the other end, though, a double tackle from Keinan and Mark Hudson needed to deny a powerful charge from the ex-Swansea striker.
Cardiff's failure to make their pressure pay was then punished in spectacular fashion by Bullard.
After good closing-down work by Scotland, the midfielder picked up the ball in centre field on a diagonal run to the right, then rifled a rip-roaring shot against the angle and across Bywater to the left of the goal.
Bellamy was denied an equaliser by a fine Fulop save, but Cardiff heads began to drop as their performance turned ragged and Bullard helped the visitors run the game.
With four minutes to go the Bluebirds conceded a free kick 40 yards out, Bullard stepping forward and eyeing the goal.
He smashed in a shot that took a wicked, looping deflection off McPhail's foot to leave Bywater with no chance.
The keeper denied Bullard a hat-trick in the closing moments as the midfielder powered into the box and unleashed a low shot.
But the visitors will head home happy after ending Cardiff's eight-match unbeaten home run and breaking their own two-game losing streak.
90:00+2:28 The ball is delivered by Luciano Civelli.
90:00+1:26 Substitution Connor Wickham goes off and Luciano Civelli comes on.
89:50 Jimmy Bullard takes a shot. Save by Stephen Bywater. Short corner taken by Jimmy Bullard from the left by-line.
88:59 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham, Marton Fulop makes a save.
86:37 Substitution Jon Parkin is brought on as a substitute for Michael Chopra.
85:56 Dekel Keinan challenges Tamas Priskin unfairly and gives away a free kick.
85:56 GOAL - Jimmy Bullard:Cardiff 0 - 2 Ipswich Jimmy Bullard fires in a goal from long distance to the top left corner of the goal. Cardiff 0-2 Ipswich.
Correction - 83:52 Substitution Paul Quinn goes off and Darcy Blake comes on.
Correction - 83:52 Substitution Tamas Priskin joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jason Scotland.
83:52 Substitution Paul Quinn goes off and Darcy Blake comes on.
83:52 Substitution Tamas Priskin replaces Jason Scotland.
81:02 Carlos Edwards takes a shot. Save made by Stephen Bywater.
80:45 Lee Martin produces a cross, Paul Quinn manages to make a clearance.
79:57 Unfair challenge on Stephen McPhail by Jimmy Bullard results in a free kick. Dekel Keinan takes the free kick.
79:23 Substitution Jay Emmanuel-Thomas leaves the field to be replaced by Chris Burke.
78:36 The referee blows for offside against David Norris. Stephen Bywater takes the indirect free kick.
76:06 Foul by Lee Martin on Kevin McNaughton, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Stephen Bywater.
76:06 Booking Lee Martin goes into the referee's book.
69:32 Grant Leadbitter fouled by Michael Chopra, the ref awards a free kick. Carlos Edwards takes the direct free kick.
68:56 Michael Chopra produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
68:47 Craig Bellamy takes a shot. Marton Fulop makes a brilliant save.
66:18 GOAL - Jimmy Bullard:Cardiff 0 - 1 Ipswich Jimmy Bullard finds the net with a goal from outside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Cardiff 0-1 Ipswich.
64:43 Close range effort by Michael Chopra goes over the bar.
64:11 The ball is crossed by Lee Martin, Kevin McNaughton manages to make a clearance.
62:54 Shot by Jimmy Bullard. Blocked by Dekel Keinan. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jimmy Bullard, clearance made by Peter
59:55 Corner taken by Jimmy Bullard from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Jay Bothroyd.
57:01 Jason Scotland takes a shot. Dekel Keinan gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken by Jimmy Bullard from the right by-line
played to the near post, clearance made by Jay Bothroyd.
56:20 Damien Delaney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jay Bothroyd. Direct free kick taken by Paul Quinn.
54:04 Unfair challenge on Lee Martin by Stephen McPhail results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Jimmy Bullard, save made by
52:32 Jay Emmanuel-Thomas takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Marton Fulop makes a fantastic save. Peter Whittingham takes
a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post. The ball is swung over by Stephen McPhail, save by Marton Fulop.
Michael Chopra takes a shot. Save by Marton Fulop. Inswinging corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line, save
by Marton Fulop.
46:53 Jay Bothroyd delivers the ball, Damien Delaney makes a clearance. Corner from the left by-line taken by Craig Bellamy, Marton
Fulop makes a save.
45:44 Corner from the left by-line taken by Craig Bellamy, save made by Marton Fulop.
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+1:30 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+1:09 Peter Whittingham has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
45:00+0:48 Jay Emmanuel-Thomas takes a shot. Save by Marton Fulop.
42:44 Jason Scotland gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Quinn. Free kick taken by Stephen Bywater.
41:36 Foul by Stephen McPhail on Jason Scotland, free kick awarded. Gareth McAuley restarts play with the free kick.
40:29 Jay Bothroyd takes a shot. Blocked by Gareth McAuley. Inswinging corner taken by Peter Whittingham, clearance by David Norris.
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Craig Bellamy, save made by Marton Fulop.
39:26 Foul by Lee Martin on Craig Bellamy, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Stephen McPhail.
38:22 Foul by Darren O'Dea on Michael Chopra, free kick awarded. Stephen Bywater restarts play with the free kick.
36:34 Carlos Edwards produces a cross, clearance made by Kevin McNaughton.
34:37 Corner taken by Craig Bellamy from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Connor Wickham. Inswinging corner
taken from the left by-line by Craig Bellamy, clearance by David Norris.
33:18 The assistant referee flags for offside against Lee Martin. Indirect free kick taken by Stephen Bywater.
30:30 Damien Delaney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Strike comes in from Peter Whittingham
from the free kick, save by Marton Fulop.
29:44 Jay Emmanuel-Thomas takes a shot. Save by Marton Fulop. Peter Whittingham takes the inswinging corner, save by Marton Fulop.
28:52 Substitution Darren O'Dea comes on in place of Mark Kennedy.
26:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Quinn on Jason Scotland. Jimmy Bullard produces a strike on goal direct from the free
kick, save by Stephen Bywater.
25:46 The ball is swung over by Lee Martin, clearance by Mark Hudson.
24:59 Pass corner from right by-line taken by Jay Bothroyd to short, Damien Delaney makes a clearance.
23:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Carlos Edwards by Stephen McPhail. The free kick is swung in right-footed by
Jimmy Bullard, Dekel Keinan makes a clearance.
23:28 Shot by Jay Bothroyd. Save by Marton Fulop.
22:30 The ball is delivered by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Gareth McAuley makes a clearance.
20:44 Long range effort by Craig Bellamy goes wide right of the target.
18:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jay Bothroyd by Mark Kennedy. Peter Whittingham crosses the ball in from the
free kick. Dekel Keinan is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Marton Fulop restarts play with the free kick.
16:33 The ball is swung over by Jay Bothroyd, Carlos Edwards manages to make a clearance.
13:39 Dekel Keinan challenges Lee Martin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Jimmy Bullard from
right wing, clearance made by Dekel Keinan.
12:45 Connor Wickham takes a shot. Blocked by Mark Hudson.
12:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth McAuley by Jay Bothroyd. Free kick taken by Jimmy Bullard.
8:30 Effort from 25 yards by Peter Whittingham. Save by Marton Fulop. Michael Chopra takes a shot. Save by Marton Fulop. Peter
Whittingham delivers a pass corner to short.
6:38 Mark Kennedy produces a cross, Dekel Keinan makes a clearance.
5:16 Craig Bellamy sends in a cross, clearance by Damien Delaney.
3:27 Kevin McNaughton fouled by Lee Martin, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Craig Bellamy from left
wing, Connor Wickham makes a clearance.
2:35 The ball is swung over by Kevin McNaughton, clearance by Mark Kennedy.
0:52 Unfair challenge on Stephen McPhail by Grant Leadbitter results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Bywater.
0:00 The match gets underway.
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