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Match Reports

Three wins on the spin for City as Pukki scores again

22 September 2018

Norwich City made it three wins in a row with a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

In a match where the Canaries dominated possession, the decisive moment came on 71 minutes when Teemu Pukki notched his sixth goal of the season with a controlled finish from a Marco Stiepermann cross.

Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting eleven for the match, with Todd Cantwell keeping his place in the attacking midfield three behind top scorer Pukki. There were two alterations to City’s bench with Michael McGovern and Louis Thompson replacing Aston Oxborough and Felix Passlack.

After a quiet start to the contest, an intricate move on eight minutes down the left saw City fashion an opening. Cantwell scooped the ball through to Pukki who cut back to Marco Stiepermann on the edge of the area and he tested Hoops goalkeeper Joe Lumley with a crisp, low strike.

QPR’s best chance of the opening exchanges was a speculative one. On 13 minutes, Alex Baptiste skied an effort after a Luke Freeman free-kick was nodded down

Despite not testing Lumley the following half an hour after Stiepermann’s early chance, City were looking in confident mood and moving the ball around at pace. Jamal Lewis was set free down the left and his low cross just eluded Pukki sliding in at the back post.

Another intricate move on the half hour mark against saw Stiepermann take a strike at goal. Cantwell and Pukki linked up once more to feed Stiepermann but his effort, from a much closer distance on this occasion, was a tame one and Lumley comfortably held onto it.

After their dominant opening 30 minutes, City then struggled to find gaps in the QPR defence and the hosts began to grow into the match. However, their only real chance came when a Nakhi Wells half-volley rolled straight into Tim Krul’s hands.

Similar to the start of the first-half, the opening second-half minutes saw little action although on 52 minutes a Pukki burst down the left saw the ball worked to Cantwell in the penalty area but he skied his shot from a central position.

More good play from City five minutes almost reaped reward with Pukki again crossing from the right. Tettey’s strike was blocked by Cantwell who controlled well but his goalbound strike was blocked well by Baptiste.

On 68 minutes, Farke introduced Mario Vrancic for Emi Buendia in a bid to freshen up City’s attack.

Within minutes, City went in-front. Stiepermann’s cross took a deflection in the penalty area and Pukki had to readjust in but he managed to cushion the ball past Lumley with his chest to give the Canaries the advantage.

QPR almost responded on 79 minutes when a persistent run by Freeman ended with him forcing Krul to tip the ball over his crossbar with a stinging drive.

Ebere Eze then went close when his low strike from the edge of the box whistled wide, just before Steve McClaren introduced the aerial threat of Matt Smith with five minutes to play.

Long balls were repeatedly punted into the City penalty area but, as a unit, the team defended superbly to hold on for the three points.

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