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28 July 2014

Canaries impressive in victory over Ligue 1 opponents

FIVE goals from five different players was indicative of Norwich City's fluidity in attack after they beat OGC Nice 5-1 in their pre-season meeting at Carrow Road.

Nathan Redmond, Lewis Grabban, Bradley Johnson, Andrew Surman and Elliott Bennett were the ones to benefit on the scoresheet in an extremely promising performance from Neil Adams' Canaries.

Dario Cvitanich notched the visitors' consolation with a first-half penalty, but its significance was minimal in a game that left the home crowd on their feet at the final whistle.

The Canaries welcomed Grabban back to their starting line-up after he recovered from an Achilles injury, while there were also recalls for John Ruddy and captain Russell Martin after Friday's 1-1 draw with SC Bastia, and they couldn't have wished for a better start as Redmond opened the scoring after just five minutes.

Johnson hit a firm pass through to the youngster, and his first touch was perfect, allowing him to slide the ball across the onrushing Mouez Hassen into the bottom corner.

Some more fluid pass-and-move play from City yielded their second just five minutes later - Javier Garrido had the vision to pick out Andrew Surman, and the midfielder cross-come-shot fell perfectly into the path of Grabban who couldn't miss.

Nice settled and Jordan Amavi had their first sight of goal on 20 minutes, seeing his shot deflected wide, before they pegged the Canaries back with a penalty.

Johnson appeared to handle a Niklas Hult corner, and Dario Cvitanich fired the spot-kick high into the net to halve the French side's deficit.

Their revival didn't any longer than five minutes, though, as Johnson stepped up to fire a free-kick home via a deflection after Wes Hoolahan had been felled 25 yards from goal.

Then three minutes before the break, three goals became four with Redmond at the heart once again. The 20-year-old skipped past one challenge down the left and squared for Surman, who got enough on the ball to force it past Hassen at the near post.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 4-1 OGC Nice

Grabban header while leaning back to meet Elliott Bennett's cross signaled City's intention not to sit on their advantage and it was the latter who got their fifth two thirds of the way through the game.

Bennett picked the ball just inside Nice's half and proceedings to drill a shot accurately and powerfully into the bottom left corner, leaving the hapless Hassen no chance.

Neil Adams reacted to the Canaries' big advantage by making a number of changes which included first-team bows for young striker Carlton Morris, defender Kyle McFadden and Reece Hall-Johnson, who all starred in the Club's FA Youth Cup victory in 2013.

Nice substitute Jeremy Pied struck the bottom of the post in once of the opposition's rare ventures forward, but City's were more than deserving of the final four-goal winning margin.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 5-1 OGC Nice

GOALS: Canaries: Nathan Redmond (5), Lewis Grabban (9), Bradley Johnson (30), Andrew Surman (42), Elliott Bennett (60) - Eagles: Dario Cvitanich (pen 25)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker (McFadden 79), Martin (c), Turner (R Bennett 68), Garrido; Johnson (Morris 72); E Bennett (Hall-Johnson 84), Surman (Jacob Murphy 87); Hoolahan (Pilkington 61); Redmond (Josh Murphy 64), Grabban (Loza 56). Subs not used: Rudd (GK).

OGC NICE XI: Hassen; Genevois, Bodmer, Lloris (c); Puel, Mendy, Amavi; Koziello, Hult; Cvitanich, Puel.

REFEREE: Mr D Deadman

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