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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
12:35 5th December 2011

LEADERS TOO STRONG FOR CANARIES

BARCLAYS Premier League leaders Manchester City grabbed a 5-1 win over the Canaries in front of a full house at the Etihad Stadium.

Norwich defended in depth in the first half, Steve Morison missing a glorious chance to put them in front before Argentinian international Sergio Aguero scored to give the Blues the advantage at the break.

Elliott Bennett couldn't take another great opportunity to level the scores after the break but then came the concession of a soft goal from Nasri's harmless-looking free-kick, which neither the defence nor goalkeeper John Ruddy dealt with.

Yaya Toure scored a third for the home side but Norwich hit back when Morison headed home his fourth goal in five Premier League games to give the scoreline some respectability.

Unfortunately the Canaries were further punished by two further goals, Balotelli shouldering home a cheeky effort and then substitute Adam Johnson firing home the fifth in injury time.

After the game Paul Lambert commented: "They're a top side there is no two ways about that, but we never helped ourselves at times. When you get punished you get punished heavily at this level.

"The last two goals were very disappointing, but all in all we were well beaten. The good thing at 3-1 was that we kept on going, which was pleasing. With any game like that you move on as quickly as you can."

And on Steve Morison's fourth goal in five outings, Lambert said: "I think he's playing really well. He's got a really hard job playing up there on his own, but he's playing really well at the moment."

Paul Lambert made two changes to his Canary squad who had beaten QPR last weekend at Carrow Road, with Elliott Bennett coming back into the starting eleven in place of Simeon Jackson who dropped to the bench, with City reverting to 4-5-1 with Steve Morison on his own up front.

There was also a return to the squad for Zak Whitbread, whose last appearance was against Chelsea back in August when he was substituted with a hamstring injury.

For Man City several changes were made to their team that beat Arsenal at the Emirates 1-0 in the Carling Cup midweek, including England internationals Joleon Lescott and James Milner dropping to the bench, and Edin Dzeko returning to the starting line-up.

And in the third minute it was Dzeko who got the first sight of goal, dragging a shot just wide of John Ruddy's far post.

A moment later however it was Joe Hart diving across his goal when Morison hit a volley but it was unfortunately wide of Man City's goal.

On 10 minutes a defensive error from the Blues' centre-backs gave Morison a great chance to run in on goal but a heavy touch just on the edge of the box gave Hart the chance to block and although the Welshman did well to recover posession, Kolo Toure regained his composure to clear their lines.

It was then the home side's turn to attack, winning successive corners and putting the Canaries under pressure but the visitors did enough to see away the danger.

On 17 minutes Aguero deep inside Norwich's penalty area cut back the ball for Samir Nasri to have a shooting opportunity but the Frenchman skied his effort high into the stand.

Andrew Surman picked up the first yellow card of the match after a challenge on David Silva.

The home side were dominating possession with the Canaries being pressed back deep into their half but working hard to repel the searching balls of Silva and Nasri looking for a chink in the armour.

On the half-hour a Canary break was repelled and Man City quickly released the ball for Dzeko to power forward but Marc Tierney blocked his shot for a corner.

But just a minute later the home side did take the lead through Aguero for his 11th of the season, who was found by a good cut-back by Micah Richards in the box and the Argentinian jinked his way through City tackles to place his low shot into the far corner.

Moments later it could have been two for both the Blues and Aguero after a good break but this time he placed his shot high over the bar.

On the stroke of half-time the Canaries won their first corner of the game after Morison layed the ball off for Crofts who found Bennett out on the right, the winger's cross deflecting off Clichy for the set-piece. Unfortunately Surman's delivery was headed clear and referee Howard Webb blew his whistle for the break.

Half-time:
Manchester City 1, Norwich City 0

It was a bright start to the second half for the visitors and two minutes in Bennett broke away from the defence and bore down on goal, but unfortunately a heavy touch pushed him wide and off balance and he couldn't then cross to find another yellow shirt.

But the home side were given a soft second goal to extend their lead after 51 minutes. They were awarded a free-kick far left which Nasri stepped up to take and his effort ended up straight in the back of the net with seemingly no challenge to prevent it.

The Canaries were still looking to go forward but this did leave space for the home side to attack - Ruddy forced to deny shots from both Silva and Aguero.

On the hour Paul Lambert made a double change, Pilkington and Bennett being replaced by last week's supersubs Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt.

They made an impact with City's forages forward but the quality of the home side's attacking options were evident again on 68 minutes. David Silva's corner was worked back out to Yaya Toure on the edge of the box and the Ivorian scored with a curling effort into the far corner of the goal for 3-0.

Two changes then came in quick succession for Man City, Adam Johnson and Mario Balotelli coming on for Nasri and Aguero respectively.

The Canaries made a final change on 77 minutes David Fox coming on for Bradley Johnson.

With eleven minutes left the visitors went close when David Fox's free-kick whizzed acoss the area but nobody could connect, but two minutes later the Canaries did have one back.

Good build-up play on the left saw Fox deliver a good ball to the far post for Morison to head home past Hart for his fourth goal in five games.

With five minutes left Morison and Crofts combined well and found Surman on the edge of the box, he controlled well but his shot went wide of the post.

But the stuffing was finally knocked out of the visitors with late goals from substitutes Mario Balotelli and Adam Johnson.

Ruddy had managed to get something on the Italian's effort on 87 minutes but it looped up and the striker followed up on the rebound to shoulder it into the net and then with the game opening up Johnson had space to slot home to make it 5-1 at the final whistle.

Final score
: Manchester City 5, Norwich City 1

MAN CITY
: Hart, Richards, Kompany, K. Toure, Clichy, Y. Toure, Barry, Nasri (A. Johnson 68), Silva, Aguero (Balotelli 72), Dzeko (De Jong 82). Subs not used: Pantilmon, Lescott, Savic, Milner.
NORWICH
: Ruddy, R. Martin, Johnson (Fox 77), Morison, Crofts, Surman, Pilkington (Hoolahan 60), Bennett (Holt 60), Barnett, Tierney, Naughton. Subs not used: Rudd, Whitbread, Jackson, Wilbraham.

    Data provided by Press Association

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