Norwich City weathered a second-half wobble to win at Cardiff City and tighten their grip on top spot in the Championship.
Grant Hanley's header and Todd Cantwell's rebound gave the Canaries a 2-0 half-time lead which scarcely reflected their domination.
Joe Ralls' powerful low strike after the break raised the prospect of an improbable Cardiff revival, only for their midfielder Marlon Pack to get sent off after a second booking with 20 minutes left.
Even down to 10 men, the Bluebirds pressed gamely for an equaliser but Norwich resisted their efforts to take another step towards an instant return to the Premier League.
Daniel Farke's side are now seven points clear at the Championship's summit after Bournemouth's home defeat against Luton Town, with second-placed Swansea City aiming to cut the gap back down to four when they visit Barnsley later on Saturday.
Cardiff, meanwhile, remain 15th in the table, closer to the relegation zone than they are the play-off places.
This was the second league meeting between the teams in less than a month, with Norwich strolling to a 2-0 win at Carrow Road in December.
For Cardiff, that was the start of a four-match losing run which had increased the pressure on their manager Neil Harris.
He had admitted his position was increasingly precarious but the feeling among some at the club seemed to be that a game against the Championship's best team was unlikely to decide his future - unless it was a particularly heavy and embarrassing defeat.
Such conjecture was put to one side this week following the news Sol Bamba, Cardiff's immensely popular centre-back, had been diagnosed with cancer.
His team-mates showed their support during the warm-up here, wearing shirts with Bamba's name and squad number 22 on the back and, on the front, the message: "We fight with you."
Bamba watched on from a hospitality box at Cardiff City Stadium as the hosts had the chance to score just 20 seconds into the game, but Harry Wilson's heavy touch saw him lose possession inside the penalty area.
As far as the first half was concerned, that was as good as it got for Cardiff as they were completely outplayed by their opponents.
Norwich took the lead in the third minute, Emiliano Buendia's corner flicked on by Mario Vrancic and headed in by captain Hanley.
As he did at Carrow Road last month, Cantwell ran the game for the Canaries as he cut inside from the left wing at will and drifted infield into pockets of space.
The England Under-21 international twice went close with curling shots from the edge of the box before scoring the goal his dazzling performance deserved as he volleyed into an empty net after Cardiff goalkeeper Alex Smithies had saved from Jordan Hugill.
Norwich kept creating chances after the break, Max Aarons' cross from a quickly taken free-kick finding Vrancic, whose shot was beaten away by Smithies.
Against the run of play, the visitors' lead was halved when Cardiff right-back Leandro Bacuna dribbled his way into space on the left wing to set up Ralls, who whipped the ball into the bottom corner.
However, the home side's hopes of a comeback were dealt a blow just five minutes later when Pack received a second yellow card in the space of 15 minutes for a reckless sliding tackle on Oliver Skipp.
Cardiff's 10 men launched some hopeful long balls into the Norwich penalty area in search of an equaliser - but those did not trouble the visitors as Harris' men slumped to a fifth successive defeat in all competitions.
While their opponents' promotion hopes look increasingly remote, Norwich now sit seven points clear at the top of the Championship and in a strong position to return to the Premier League after just one season away.
Cardiff City manager Neil Harris:
"I'm really proud of the performance - what an effort by the boys.
"What an effort for the 90 minutes, but for the last 25 with 10 men, we went toe-to-toe with by far the best team in the division.
"On the whole, it's a massive positive. It might sound crazy. We didn't get the point, if not three, we wanted, but that's the level of performance my players have got to have for the rest of the season."
Norwich City manager Daniel Farke:
"Pretty pleased, I'm proud I have to say. We had such a difficult week with so many Covid cases - nine in our group. Four players missed this game because of Covid. Also missing other players through flu.
"We also had several key players like [top scorer Teemu] Pukki through injury, so to travel to Cardiff and deliver that performance was outstanding.
"We could have made our life easier in the second half. They got a goal out of nothing but we got over the line. To win in these circumstances was outstanding."