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20 July 2015

Canaries defeated in Kufstein

MACCABI Haifa inflicted the first defeat of Norwich City's pre-season as they edged a tight match 1-0 in Kufstein, Austria.

Alon Turgeman got the game's only goal late in the first half, and although Alex Neil's team dominated the second period they couldn't make the breakthrough.

The result may not have been what the Canaries would have been targetting, but they can be encouraged by many aspects of their play in a competitive friendly against the Israeli Premier League outfit.

Neil's selection was notable for containing Nathan Redmond for the first time this pre-season after his later break following internationals. Sebastien Bassong, Tony Andreu and Jonny Howson also started after missing Friday's 3-1 win at Cambridge.

The Austrian mountains provided a scenic backdrop as City started their quest for their fourth win out of four, but it was the Greens who started with more promise.

Itay Shechter kept Declan Rudd on his toes before Dekel Keinan saw a header flash wide, while Bradley Johnson fired off target in the Canaries' first meaningful attack moments later.

The step up in quality in opposition was evident in an evenly-contested opening portion of the match, and Shechter threatened once again on 24 minutes although his header drifted harmlessly wide.

City started to keep possession more effectively, however, and Redmond was freed for the first time on right flank on 35 minutes, but Howson couldn't direct his effort beyond Vladimir Stojkovic.

Maccabi's front three were always a threat, though, and six minutes before half-time they took the lead.

Turgeman had been a thorn in the Canaries' defence from the off, and he met a square ball with confidence, curling it with power beyond Rudd and in.

HALF-TIME: Maccabi Haifa 1-0 Norwich City

Neil made three changes to his team at half-time; Bassong, Redmond and Gary Hooper were replaced by Michael Turner, Vadis Odjidja Ofoe and Ricky van Wolfswinkel for the half.

Andreu almost nudged the Canaries' level just two minutes in when he raced onto Johnson's pass, but a Maccabi defender had retreated and was able to hook it away off the line.

The Frenchman and sub Odjidja then had successive efforts blocked from the edge of the box as City pushed for the leveller, but their opponents were sitting deep to restrict space, with Turner and Ryan Bennett regularly in possession on the halfway line.

Graham Dorrans' charge into the box on 70 minutes allowed him to fire a dangerous ball into the six-yard box, but van Wolfswinkel was crowded out by defenders as he tried to poke it home.

The introduction of Jacob Murphy added a direct threat to City's play, and he fashioned a good opportunity for van Wolfswinkel with ten minutes left on the clock.

Murphy darted into the area and provided a pinpoint low cross, but the Dutchman's effort flew the wrong side of the post.

Andreu then drove an effort just wide from van Wolfswinkel's lay-off, and in the end it wasn't to be Norwich's night in front of goal.

FULL-TIME: Maccabi Haifa 1-0 Norwich City

GOALS: Greens: Alon Turgeman (39)

NORWICH CITY: Rudd; E Bennett, R Bennett, Bassong (Turner 45), Johnson (Toffolo 62); O'Neil, Dorrans, Howson (Jacob Murphy (62); Redmond (Odjidja 45), Andreu, Hooper (van Wolfswinkel 45). Subs not used: Ruddy (GK).

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