Championship Cardiff needed a penalty shoot-out to get past League Two Colchester in the Carabao Cup first round.
Bluebirds goalkeeper Jak Alnwick saved Colchester’s first three attempts from 12 yards, thwarting Jayden Fevrier, Junior Tchamadeu and Tom Hopper after a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes.
It meant successful penalties from Cardiff’s Mahlon Romeo, Sheyi Ojo and Ike Ugbo were enough after their side’s first effort from Rubin Colwill had been saved.
A smart finish by Welsh international Colwill put the home side ahead in the 19th minute.
It was 2-0 10 minutes before the break when Colchester goalkeeper Owen Goodman spilled a shot by Cardiff winger Ollie Tanner, and Kion Etete pounced to fire home the loose ball.
But lethargic defensive lapses allowed the visitors to haul themselves level before half-time, as two close-range tap-ins in the 40th and 44th minutes by forwards John Akinde and Joe Taylor changed the complexion.
Expectations Cardiff would reassert themselves after the break were misplaced and the League Two side more than contributed to an evenly matched affair.
Colchester substitute Samson Tovide was shown a red card in the 89th minute for a boot to the head of Bluebirds left-back Jamilu Collins but his side held out for the seven minutes of added time.