An open start to the game saw chances for both sides in the early stages. The home side had the first chance on the break, when Lukas Jutkiewicz broke through the middle and, with options either side, made the wrong decision and allowed Cardiff to clear.
After just two minutes, Middlesbrough nearly conceded when Nicky Bailey underhit a backpass, allowing Kenny Miller to intercept but Jason Steele was quick off his line to deny the striker on the edge of his area.
Joe Mason then curled a shot from the left-hand edge of the penalty area which forced Steele into a full-stretch save to get a fingertip to it. The ball bounced down from the underside of the bar before being cleared.
On 11 minutes, Cardiff took the lead. A corner was well delivered into the six-yard box and Ben Turner headed home.
The away side made it two after 18 minutes, as Mason dribbled past Joe Bennett before firing low beyond a helpless Steele.
The sides went in at half time with the score at 2-0.
Middlesbrough came out looking for a way back into the game. Bailey hit a shot at goal on 53 minutes, but David Marshall always had it covered in the Cardiff net.
Marshall was forced into another save on 62 minutes from Barry Robson.
The home side looked a far better side throughout the second half, but struggled to break down Cardiff's defence.
Cardiff never looked really troubled by Middlesbrough's attacks and ran out 2-0 winners.