The 21-year-old, who completed a loan move from Manchester United on transfer-deadline-day, came on as a 38th-minute substitute as Cardiff trailed Norwich City 1-0.
And within a quarter of an hour Cardiff were 2-1, with Zaha supplying the pass for Craig Bellamy’s opener and stretching visitors Norwich with his direct running.
Cardiff boss Solskjaer said: "I was hoping we'd be in a better position, but I felt we needed some spark, and that's what we got from Zaha.”
Zaha has endured a frustrating time since finalising his move to Manchester United from Crystal Palace in the summer.
He made his debut for the Premier League champions in the Community Shield, and won his second senior England cap three days later in the friendly victory over Scotland, but has started only one competitive match for United.
Born: Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 10 Nov 1992
Clubs: Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Crystal Palace (loan), Cardiff City (loan)
International: England Under-19, U21, Seniors
Senior debut: v Sweden 14 Nov 2012 Senior caps: 2
He joined Cardiff with the Bluebirds bottom of the top flight - but Saturday’s 2-1 victory gave Solskjaer his first league win since taking over four weeks ago.
And the Norwegian former United goal-getter believes Zaha has all the raw materials to be a major force.
"He has pace, power and technique. We just have to teach him defending."