There was drama immediately from the whistle as Mutch was booked for diving after he had gone over in the penalty area.
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The Cardiff midfielder then headed over from close range with plenty of goal to aim at from Craig Noone's cross.
However, Mutch's start to the match got much better as he gave the Bluebirds an early lead. He picked up the ball midway in the Sunderland half before running towards goal. After reaching the edge of the box, Mutch then hammered his shot past Vito Mannone.
It was almost 2-0 to the home side as Mannone was called into action to tip Kim Bo-Kyung's shot over the bar.
The pressure continued as the Black Cats struggled to get in the game. This time Noone fired across a teasing cross that Steven Caulker glanced straight at Mannone.
However, the Cardiff onslaught continued as the first half progressed. Whittingham arrived late at the back post before trying to cross for Campbell, but the Sunderland defence managed to clear.
Fabio Borini forced Marshall to save down low just before the break as the Black Cats began to up their game.