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Match Reports

Norwich City v Manchester City

12 March 2016


NORWICH City held off Manchester City to earn a battling 0-0 draw at Carrow Road.

Alex Neil's men defended superbly throughout yet went the closest of either team when Patrick Bamford rattled the crossbar in the first half.

Man City dominated the ball for large periods but they couldn't fashion a breakthrough, and the Canaries pocketed a morale-boosting point to prepare for a Premier League run-in that will determine their league status for next season.

They made four changes from the 1-0 loss at Swansea City as Bamford came in for his first start since joining on loan from Chelsea.

Also introduced were Ryan Bennett, Martin Olsson and Matt Jarvis as the Canaries searched for their victory since January 2. Missing out through injury were Robbie Brady and Steven Naismith.

Man City were without Yaya Toure but both Wilfried Bony and Sergio Aguero started in attack for Manuel Pellegrini's title outsiders.

The visitors made an energetic start at Carrow Road, with City committing a number of fouls in the early stages as they adjusted to the fluid movement of Man City's front four - Bennett was booked for a late slide on David Silva.

When Gary O'Neil was adjudged to have pushed Fernandinho 25 yards from goal, Aguero stepped up to test John Ruddy - with City's goalkeeper equal to the challenge as he turned his free-kick over the bar.

Aguero then dragged a left-footed effort wide after steady build-up play by his teammates, but Norwich slowly gained confidence with Olsson causing issues down the left flank.

Ruddy made a good save from Aguero's low shot just before the half hour mark, but the Canaries by this point had settled into the game after a nervous start.

Their tempo increased even further as half-time approached, and Bamford went desperately close to his first goal in yellow and green when he smashed a shot off the bar from close to 30 yards.

The crowd were in fine voice but Neil was forced into a change just before the break when Nathan Redmond hobbled off to be replaced by Graham Dorrans.

There was still time for a much-improved City to go close again though as Jarvis spun on the edge of the box before he watched his deflected shot loop high and just wide of Joe Hart's post.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Manchester City

City needed to maintain their intensity at the start of the second half, and the game was stretched as both teams looked to make their mark on an even contest.

Pellegrini was the first manager to make a tactical switch as he took off Bony for Raheem Sterling with ten minutes played after the break.

Man City had regained their control of the match, so Neil saw fit to change plan, introducing forward pair Cameron Jerome and Dieumerci Mbokani for Wes Hoolahan and the tiring Bamford.

Silva flashed a shot wide but Ruddy saw it all the way, though Man City continued to probe.

Dorrans flashed a shot wide for Neil's men from the edge of the box in a rare foray forward, before Aguero lifted one over Ruddy's bar up the other end.

In the end, City's resilience in defence - lead by the superb Timm Klose - left them meriting a point in the Premier League survival race.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Manchester City

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin (c), Bennett, Klose, Olsson; Howson, O'Neil; Redmond (Dorrans 45), Hoolahan (Mbokani 67), Jarvis; Bamford (Jerome 67). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Bassong, Mulumbu, Pinto.

MANCHESTER CITY: Hart; Sagna (Zabaleta 85), Kompany (c), Otamendi, Clichy; Navas (Iheanacho 77), Fernandinho, Fernando, Silva; Aguero, Bony (Sterling 58). Subs not used: Caballero (GK), Kolarov, Demichelis, Garcia.

REFEREE: Jonathan Moss


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