ALEX Tettey's wonder-strike was the highlight for Norwich City as they beat Sunderland 2-0 at Carrow Road to earn three vital Premier League points.
The midfielder's dipping volley from 25 yards added to Robert Snodgrass' opening goal as Chris Hughton's men cruised to victory against a poor Sunderland outfit.
City had other chances to extend their winning margin through Snodgrass and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, but they will be grateful for a victory that comes at a crucial time in their campaign.
The visitors' best opportunity came at the start of the second half through Wes Brown, bu their day was summed up by Marcus Alonso's red card in the final moments.
The result left the Canaries seven points clear of their opponents and the relegation places, with seven matches left in the Premier League this season.
Hughton freshened his team up once more before kick-off, with five changes from the side that lost to Southampton, which included the selection of Wes Hoolahan and Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Jack Colback and Jozy Altidore came in for Gus Poyet’s Sunderland, in place of Seb Larsson and the injured Steven Fletcher.
The rattle of clap banners rung around the stadium before kick-off akin to scenes at this stage last season and the Canaries started the game on front foot in the Norfolk spring sunshine.
Jonny Howson’s deflected shot on 12 minutes saw Vito Mannone make his first save as a confidence spread through the Canaries, and it warranted the game’s first goal eight minutes later.
Martin Olsson’s low cross was poorly dealt with by the Sunderland defence, and Elmander showed tremendous composure to pick out Snodgrass, who finished calmly past Mannone.
Howson again stung the Black Cats’ ‘keeper’s gloves from distance as City looked to double their lead, and they had a fantastic chance too through van Wolfswinkel.
The Dutchman’s run to the near-post was timed perfectly but he couldn’t connect properly with Olsson’s delivery and the ball spun wide.
The visitors were being dominated by City’s brand of high-tempo football, but it was a moment of pure individual brilliance that led to their second goal on 33 minutes.
Sunderland’s clearance looked to be effective but Tettey connected sweetly with full volley from 25 yards that whistled into the net, leaving the home crowd on their feet.
It was just the Norwegian’s second goal since he joined the Club in the summer of 2012, but one that will live long in the memory of those who were there to witness it.
Poyet made a double change five minutes before half-time to try and stem the flow of Norwich’s play, but the hosts were solid in the final moments and took a two-goal advantage into the break.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 2-0 Sunderland
Van Wolfswinkel’s downward header three minutes into the second period forced a stretching save from Mannone as City started where they left off.
However, the visitors had their best chance up to that point in the game moments later from a corner as Wes Brown rose to meet Larsson’s delivery, but John Ruddy
made himself big to make the stop.
It preceded their most threatening spell of the match but with less than half an hour of the match left, Hughton’s men still retained their two-goal cushion.
Gary Hooper replaced van Wolfswinkel but it was Hoolahan who tested Mannone next, forcing a save from Italian down to his left.
Larsson's trip on Hooper offered the chance for Snodgrass to get his second goal with a trademark free-kick, but it skimmed the top of the crossbar before going over.
The crowd was raucous in the closing minutes, only buoyed by Alonso's red card, and they rose to their feed to applaud an outstanding display at the final whistle.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 2-0 SunderlandGOALS
: Robert Snodgrass (20), Alexander Tettey (33)
: Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong (c), Olsson; Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Hoolahan (Redmond 89); Elmander (Johnson 87), van Wolfswinkel (Hooper 71). Subs not used
: Bunn (GK), Whittaker, Gutierrez, Becchio.
: Mannone; Bardsley, Brown, O’Shea (c), Alonso; Bridcutt, Ki (Cattermole 40), Colback (Larsson 40); Johnson (Scocco 71), Borini, Altidore. Subs not used
: Ustari (GK), Celustka, Giaccherini, Vergini.
: Phil Dowd