The Blues went into the encounter riding high in Pool Two following victories at home to Lyon and away at Toulouse.
Following Toulouse’s narrow victory over Lyon on Thursday, their lead at the top of the group was cut to a single point and they were unable to build upon it in bitterly cold conditions at the AJ Bell Stadium.
AJ MacGinty booted his side into a 9-0 lead at the interval and quickly stretched his side’s lead after the break.
There was still a glimmer of hope for Danny Wilson’s men but that was dashed after Will Cliff claimed the game’s opening try with MacGinty maintaining his 100 per cent record.
And to compound the Blues’ woes Marc Jones Rumbled over at the death.
Cardiff Blues return to the Arms Park on Sunday, December 17 when they welcome the same opposition in what is now a crucial encounter.
The Blues were dealt a blow minutes before kick-off when Blaine Scully pulled up in the warm-up and was replaced on the bench by Lewis Jones.
They made an erroneous start to the encounter, failing to secure the kick-off cleanly and then conceding a penalty at the breakdown.
AJ MacGinty duly opened the scoring after two minutes and the restart was then put out on the full, but the Blues slowly worked their way into the game.
In increasingly snowy conditions both sides were prone to errors but it was Wilson’s side that enjoyed the majority of territory.
When they did not have the ball they kept the home side in their own half with Rey Lee-lo making a pair of thunderous hits within seconds of each other.
After earning a penalty, Cardiff Blues kicked to the corner but the lineout was lost and Sale cleared.
Alarm bells were soon ringing after the ball was lost on the right and Mark Jennings and Rohan Janse van Rensberg broke out. A try appeared certain but Owen Lane had other ideas and showed impressive pace to catch the centre and force a knock on.
MacGinty added a second penalty on 25 minutes to double the Sharks’ advantage and while the Blues had limited opportunities they were unable to turn them into points.
Sale on the other hand were earning penalties from referee Piere Brousset and with the final kick of the half MacGinty made it 9-0.
The USA fly-half kept the scoreboard ticking with his fourth penalty shortly after the break and while the Blues had opportunities to bisect the post they went to the corner and the lineout was lost.
Sale were also unable to turn kicks to the corner into points but they claimed a decisive try as the hour mark approached as Cliff scampered over following a scrappy charge down.
Wales’ Capital Region refused to throw in the towel with Seb Davies, Aled Summerhill and Matthew Morgan combining down the left but they were unable to breakthrough.
But despite their efforts the Blues left Salford with no reward and Sale crossed in the closing stages with Marc Jones rumbling over, after peeling from a close-range driving line-out.
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