Cardiff manager Malky Mackay felt his side were dealt a lesson in the harsh realities of the Premier League as Paulinho's stoppage-time winner condemned them to a 1-0 defeat against Tottenham.
Spurs dominated large passages of the game at Cardiff City Stadium, and registered 29 shots to Cardiff's six, but were in danger of failing to capitalise as they found home keeper David Marshall in fine form.
The Scotland international made a string of saves from Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Paulinho and Gylfi Sigurdsson, and even when former Swansea man Sigurdsson did beat Marshall, he was denied by the crossbar.
But Paulinho finally broke the deadlock as he backheeled in Erik Lamela's pass from close range in the 92nd minute for his first league goal for the club.
Mackay praised Marshall's display, but felt the nature of the defeat showed the challenge his side face in the top flight.
When asked if Marshall had deserved to be on the losing side, he said: "I don't think what you deserve comes into it, that's the harsh reality, they were clinical in the last minute and we weren't in the first minutes when we were through on goal.
"David is a top goalkeeper, I think their goalkeeper cost £9million and I look at my keeper and I have seen him step up. He was the best in the Championship and he is in the Premier League, back in the Scotland squad and he has looked so comfortable in the games we have played against some top teams."
Cardiff felt they had twice been on the wrong end of decisions by the officials.
The first came when Hugo Lloris appeared to handle outside his area as Fraizer Campbell attempted to round him, although replays suggested it was a very tight call.
The second saw Ben Turner's header from a corner chalked off after Aron Gunnarsson was adjudged to have impeded Lloris.
Mackay was particularly dissatisfied with the disallowed goal.
"Hugo Lloris will see it and realise he is a lucky man and the referee will be disappointed in his decision," said the Scot.
"If you look at it again, it is Lloris who has his hand on Gunnarsson and then completely misses the track of the ball so for me it is a clear goal.
"The incident with Fraizer is one people will look at whether it was out or in, but we had a one-on-one and Fraizer is invariably brilliant at those, and he is more disappointed he did not skip by him. Whether it was a foul or not is open to question."
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, unsurprisingly did not agree.
He said: "I haven't seen it (the first incident), but I understand he was right on the limit. I'm not sure if there is some controversy there.
"Most people I have spoken to told me his hand is right on the line. I think if that is the case the referee made the right decision."
Of the disallowed goal, he added: "I think it was a foul for holding Hugo's arm. We spoke about it between us at half-time and he said he would have been fine if he had not been fouled."