Neil Warnock felt missing striker Emiliano Sala "was with us" after Cardiff boosted their bid to beat Premier League relegation with an emotional 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.
Warnock was tearful at the final whistle of Cardiff's first home game since record signing Sala and pilot David Ibbotson went missing.The plane they were travelling in the English Channel disappeared on January 21.
Warnock added: "I've never seen anything like it, and I will remember it for the rest of my life".
Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and other boardroom members paid tribute to Sala. The striker was signed for a record £15million from French club Nantes two days before his disappearance.
Both the player and his pilot, David Ibbotson received tributes in the match day programme, which carried the Argentinian striker's photograph on the front.
Cardiff captain Sol Bamba and his Bournemouth counterpart Andrew Surman laid flowers on the halfway line before kick-off.
The players gathered on the centre circle to observe what Cardiff had described as a "minute's reflection", and fans held cards aloft behind one of the goals to spell out Sala's name in the colours of Argentina.
Fans wore daffodils handed out to them by the club and many also sported scarves combining the colours of Cardiff and Sala's former team Nantes. Sala's name was sung throughout a game which Cardiff won with a Bobby Reid double.
Reid's fifth-minute opener from the penalty spot was celebrated by Cardiff players holding up a blue shirt with Sala's photograph on, the win taking Warnock's side to within two points of 17th-placed Burnley.