Match ends, Cardiff City 3, Leeds United 1.
Cardiff overcame Leeds to consign Neil Redfearn to defeat in his first match as the visitors' permanent head coach.
Bruno Ecuele Manga and Federico Macheda put Cardiff 2-0 up before Alex Mowatt halved the deficit.
But Kenwyne Jones took advantage of a dreadful mix-up in the Leeds defence to give Cardiff boss Russell Slade a third victory from his first four matches.
Leeds, who announced Redfearn's appointment less than 90 minutes before kick-off, are winless in seven games.
Redfearn previously had a successful spell as caretaker boss earlier this season, picking up three wins and a draw from his four matches at the helm.
His appointment came after Darko Milanic's brief tenure, and the first game of Redfearn's full-time reign came against a Cardiff team who had also endured their fair share of upheaval this season.
Including caretaker managers, Cardiff and Leeds have had seven people in charge between them in this campaign.
Having struggled for stability off the pitch, neither team played with much fluency on the field in an untidy first half.
There were a handful of half-chances for either team before the break. Peter Whittingham's curling free-kick was saved by Marco Silvestri, while Wales striker Steve Morison headed over from Leeds' best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes.
The second half began with tempers flaring and tackles flying in, and Cardiff seized on the hostile atmosphere to take the lead after an hour.
It was the hosts' two centre-backs who combined for the goal, Sean Morrison heading across goal for Ecuele Manga to nod in his first goal for Cardiff.
Slade's side doubled their lead six minutes later, as Macheda's shot took a big deflection off Jason Pearce and bounced high into the net.
Victory seemed secure for Cardiff at this point but, against the run of play, their advantage was cut in half as Mowatt fired in a fierce shot.
Leeds' hopes of a comeback were undermined by their own farcical defending, however, as indecision between Silvestri and Giuseppe Bellusci allowed substitute Jones to slot into an empty net and ease Cardiff's nerves.
Cardiff manager Russell Slade: "It was a bit of a non-event of a first half in many ways, with not much in it and not too many chances. I don't think anyone expected that in the second half: four goals and an entertaining game.
"The players put a really good shift in, and particularly in the second half we needed to find a little bit more energy, a little bit more intensity.
"We found that and the front two (Adam Le Fondre and Federico Macheda) led by example.
"The game was always a worry for me. They (Leeds) are very unpredictable in the way they play.
"They've got some talented players, so it was important for us to be compact and keep our discipline."
Leeds head coach Neil Redfearn: "I spoke to (owner) Massimo (Cellino) and we talked about things going forward, which was a key point for me.
"I asked if he sees me as the future and he said he does, which is great for me.
"It was not a dazzling performance but for an hour it was a good away performance. But that period after half-time was where the damage was done."
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 3da Silva
- 19PilkingtonSubstituted forRallsat 45'minutesBooked at 52mins
- 14MachedaSubstituted forJonesat 75'minutesBooked at 84mins
- 10Le FondreSubstituted forMorrisonat 81'minutes
- 12BerardiBooked at 28minsSubstituted forByramat 85'minutes
- 6PearceBooked at 10mins
- 23L Cook
- 14BianchiSubstituted forSlothat 76'minutes
- 27MowattBooked at 50mins
- 19MorisonSubstituted forDawsonat 69'minutes
- Andy Woolmer
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 3, Leeds United 1.
Foul by Lewis Cook (Leeds United).
Ravel Morrison (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Lewis Cook.
Foul by Giuseppe Bellusci (Leeds United).
Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Leeds United. Sam Byram replaces Gaetano Berardi.
Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Cardiff City 3, Leeds United 1. Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner following a fast break.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by John Brayford.
Attempt blocked. Chris Dawson (Leeds United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Stephen Warnock.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Ravel Morrison replaces Adam Le Fondre.
Goal! Cardiff City 2, Leeds United 1. Alex Mowatt (Leeds United) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Souleymane Doukara.
Substitution, Leeds United. Casper Sloth replaces Tommaso Bianchi.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Kenwyne Jones replaces Federico Macheda.
Hand ball by Chris Dawson (Leeds United).
Alex Mowatt (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Noone (Cardiff City).