Match ends, Cardiff City 0, Everton 3.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice as Everton ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats with victory at relegation-threatened Cardiff.
Former Swansea midfielder Sigurdsson stroked home the first after timing his run into the box perfectly to meet Seamus Coleman's cutback from the right.
The Icelandic playmaker thumped in his and Everton's second after a fine run from substitute Bernard, a rare moment of quality in a scrappy encounter.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin added a third late on with a neat finish from Idrissa Gueye's pass, ensuring a victory which moves Everton up to ninth in the table before Sunday's Merseyside derby against Liverpool at Goodison Park.
For Cardiff, a second home defeat in four days leaves them one place and one point above the bottom three.
Everton snap out of their slump
Everton had not played since 9 February and may well have welcomed the respite in their schedule, having lost five of their previous six matches in all competitions.
It took time for Everton to grow into the game in south Wales but, as they gradually began to control possession and territory, they looked a side playing themselves into form.
The opening goal was a case in point: Morgan Schneiderlin threading a ball through to the onrushing right-back Seamus Coleman, whose cutback was finished neatly and in one touch by Sigurdsson.
Everton seemed to be untroubled at this point, without exactly dominating the match.
They had some uncomfortable moments in defence, such as the surging runs into the wide channels from Cardiff striker Kenneth Zohore which had visiting centre-backs Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka scrambling.
But after navigating Cardiff's purposeful start to the second half, Everton took the game away from their opponents.
Bernard, on for a subdued and frustrated Richarlison, jinked his way to the byeline and saw his powerful low cross palmed away by Neil Etheridge - but only as far as Sigurdsson, who nonchalantly swung his left foot through the ball to launch it powerfully into the net.
And Cardiff's meek capitulation was complete when their defence parted to allow Calvert-Lewin the opportunity to confidently curl in the visitors' third.
Cardiff's survival hopes take another hit
Cardiff were aiming to recover from Friday's 5-1 thrashing at home by Watford, a rude awakening after the Welsh side had claimed back-to-back top-flight victories for the first time since 1962.
They started in more urgent fashion on this occasion and, inside two minutes, Zohore played a dangerous low cross across the Everton six-yard box which was well cleared by Lucas Digne.
Despite that early promise, Cardiff still looked vulnerable in defence and overrun in midfield.
In that particular part of the field they missed Victor Camarasa, the midfielder on loan from Real Betis whose recent absence with a calf injury had been a sore subject for Neil Warnock.
The Cardiff manager was incensed Camarasa had been seeking the advice of his own medical staff - or "Tom, Dick and Harry from abroad" as Warnock described them - instead of the Bluebirds' physios, who believe he is fit to play.
The Spaniard is Cardiff's most accomplished player in possession, particularly adept at turning defensive transitions into counter-attacks.
But without him, whenever the hosts did manage to get the ball back, they did not keep it for long.
Aside from Zohore and Bobby Decordova-Reid's occasional bursts forward, Cardiff barely troubled their opponents.
Their attacking shortcomings have been a concern all season but, perhaps most alarmingly, so have their defensive frailties.
Cardiff have now conceded 31 goals at home in the Premier League during this campaign, more than any other side.
And with eight of those coming in two matches against Everton and Watford over the course of four days, this has been a dismal week for the Bluebirds' hopes of avoiding relegation.
Man of the match - Gylfi Sigurdsson
'I want people in the trenches' - what they said
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock told Match of the Day: "It was elementary marking that cost us and we got punished twice. Some of the lads are saying Bobby Reid was fouled before the first goal, but I couldn't see us scoring tonight and we have to get on with it.
"We will probably be in the bottom three when we go to Wolves on Saturday and people will be writing us off. I know my team for the Wolves game and I want people who will be in the trenches because I was let down by one or two tonight. I'm not going to throw the towel in and I'll make sure we are ready for Saturday."
Everton manager Marco Silva: "We are happy with the win. We played with more freedom after the goal and you can see the type of football we can play. We were in command of the match."
On their 17 days between matches: "We had time to prepare which was important and we could work on what we wanted to. The most important thing for us is winning points to boost our confidence and now we have to rest and recover.
"We have a big test on Sunday and I know how important it is for the fans and our opponents. We know how we lost the first game at Anfield and we can achieve victory at our own ground."
Cardiff suffer midweek blues - the stats
- Cardiff have won just one of their last six home league games (D1 L4), after winning four of the five before that (L1).
- Everton have done the league double over Cardiff for the first time since 1928-29.
- Cardiff have never won a midweek Premier League game (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), drawing three and losing seven. They've scored just two goals in those 10 games and have conceded at least twice in each defeat.
- Cardiff are the only side to fail to direct a single shot on target in more than one home Premier League game this season, doing so against Everton and against Huddersfield in January.
- Everton scored with their first two shots on target and with three of their four shots on target overall in the game.
- Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson has been involved in more Premier League goals in games played in Wales than any other player (35 - 14 goals, 21 assists in 68 appearances).
- Sigurdsson is now the Premier League's outright top-scoring Icelandic player with 57 goals, eclipsing Eidur Gudjohnsen's haul of 55.
- Sigurdsson has scored 15 Premier League goals for Everton since the start of the 2017-18 season, five more than any other player.
Cardiff visit Wolves on Saturday, 2 March (15:00 GMT), while Everton host Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Sunday, 3 March (16:15).
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 4MorrisonBooked at 14mins
- 19Mendez-LaingSubstituted forPatersonat 69'minutes
- 15BacunaBooked at 7mins
- 33HoilettSubstituted forMurphyat 68'minutesBooked at 81mins
- 14De Cordova-Reid
- 10ZohoreSubstituted forWardat 81'minutes
- 23K Harris
- 12DigneBooked at 50mins
- 11WalcottSubstituted forLookmanat 82'minutes
- 10G SigurdssonSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 88'minutes
- 30RicharlisonSubstituted forBernardat 61'minutes
- 8André Gomes
- Kevin Friend
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, Everton 3.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Seamus Coleman.
Goal! Cardiff City 0, Everton 3. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Idrissa Gueye with a through ball.
Attempt missed. Danny Ward (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Joe Bennett with a cross.
Substitution, Everton. André Gomes replaces Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Foul by Michael Keane (Everton).
Josh Murphy (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. Ademola Lookman (Everton) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Seamus Coleman.
Offside, Everton. Michael Keane tries a through ball, but Seamus Coleman is caught offside.
Substitution, Everton. Ademola Lookman replaces Theo Walcott.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Danny Ward replaces Kenneth Zohore.
Josh Murphy (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Seamus Coleman (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Josh Murphy (Cardiff City).
Attempt missed. Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Michael Keane.
Attempt missed. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Offside, Cardiff City. Neil Etheridge tries a through ball, but Kenneth Zohore is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Seamus Coleman (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Theo Walcott.