Hull manager Steve Bruce said that the turn of events involved in his side earning automatic promotion to the Premier League at the expense of Watford were "totally ridiculous".
In added time at the end of the game, Hull, leading 2-1, were given a penalty and a chance to seal their fate. However, Nick Proschwitz missed the kick and Cardiff scored a penalty of their own through Nicky Maynard to level the game to 2-2.
Ultimately it didn't matter though, as Watford's 2-1 defeat to Leeds saw Hull return to the top-flight and allowed Bruce a huge sigh of relief.
"I have been around the block and this was wonderful entertainment, but Jesus Christ, it's put us through the ringer," Steve Bruce told Sky Sports 2. "Overall we deserved it. The ref gave them an unbelievable decision to give Cardiff a penalty but it's our day. I would like to say well done to Watford who pushed us all the way.
"We had heard Watford were 2-0 up and they weren't - we could have put it to bed. How many chances have we had? We had a penalty and missed it. This is totally ridiculous. I have said for weeks there would be twists and turns. I have never experienced anything like the last 10 or 15 minutes."
Defender Paul McShane had given up hope and was resigned to a place in the play-offs.
"I thought it was over and was thinking of the play-offs,'' he said. "I couldn't have written this better. We made it hard but we saved the best until the last day."
George Boyd, meanwhile, who will experience Premier League football for the first time in his career, thanked Leeds for the part they played in denying Watford.
"I couldn't watch it," he said. "Leeds have done us a massive favour and well done to them for putting on a show. They could have easily thrown it in but they did us a favour."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.