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25 July 2015

Grabban strikes late to see off Augsburg

LEWIS Grabban netted an 89th-minute winner to earn Norwich City a 2-1 victory over FC Augsburg in Prien.

Grabban raced onto Youssouf Mulumbu's pass to turn the friendly around in the Canaries' favour against strong German opposition who are set to play in the Europa League this season.

Mulumbu brought Alex Neil's team level with his first strike in City colours after Piotr Trochowski had put Augsburg ahead with a free-kick shortly after half-time.

The result wraps up City's pre season continental training camp, with their penultimate friendly coming against West Ham United at Carrow Road on Tuesday.

City's team largely utilised the players who sat out Monday's defeat to Maccabi Haifa, with John Ruddy, Russell Martin and Wes Hoolahan among those in Neil's starting eleven.

FC Augsburg, who finished fifth in the Bundesliga last term, fielded ex-Sunderland frontman Ji Dong-Won while Abdul Rahman Baba, recently linked with a move to Chelsea, began at left-back.

They started on the front foot and Ruddy had to be at his best to deny Ji on nine minutes, expertly hooking the ball away with his right palm after it had fell ideally for the Augsburg striker in the box.

Martin blocked another Ji effort but Hoolahan almost punished the German side from the subsequent counter-attack, drilling narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Augsburg continued to control the ball, with Ruddy again called into action just before the half hour mark as he kept out Francisco da Silva Caiuby's well-struck volley.

Donning their new Errea third kit for the first time, City endeavoured to use the creative options in their team to carve an opening but their opponents were well-drilled and difficult to break down.

Seconds before the whistle, Ji spurned another clear opportunity - with only Ruddy to beat, the South Korean international went for power over placement and blazed his shot over the bar.

HALF-TIME: FC Augsburg 0-0 Norwich City

Augsburg brought on Trochowski for the second period, and within six minutes the Germany international had put his new team in front.

He showed his ambition by shooting directly from a set-piece around 30 yards from goal, and the flight of the ball in the air deceived Ruddy and it nestled in the far corner.

Another half-time substitute, Sascha Molders, should have done better four minutes later when set clear in the right channel but his effort was straight at Norwich's goalkeeper and he made the save.

City rallied and Toffolo made Alex Manninger work after Hoolahan's spotted his run into the box, and then Bradley Johnson was thwarted by Ronny Philip as he prepared to pull the trigger.

Grabban should have levelled on 71 minutes when he raced onto Sebastien Bassong's long pass, beating the Augsburg defence's offside trap - but his shot whistled inches wide.

Six minutes later, however, they got their equaliser and it was Mulumbu with his first in City colours as he picked up Hoolahan's pass before coolly finding the net, finishing off a fine move.

City seemed to have outlasted Augsburg and looked the more likely to get a winner, and they did just that in the 89th minute.

Having already made his mark on the game with the leveller, Mulumbu slotted a precise ball through to Grabban, who, this time on his right flank, made no mistake.

FULL-TIME: FC Augsburg 1-2 Norwich City

GOALS: Fuggerstadter: Piotr Trochowski (51) - Canaries: Youssouf Mulumbu (77), Lewis Grabban (89)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Toffolo; Tettey, Mulumbu; Redmond (Howson 61), Hoolahan, Johnson; Grabban. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Turner, Hooper, van Wolfswinkel, Jacob Murphy, Odjidja.

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