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Late Vrancic free-kick rescues vital point for City

19 April 2019

Mario Vrancic's 95th minute free-kick salvaged a dramatic point for Norwich City in a 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday.

Marco Stiepermann gave City a 17th-minute lead with a low drive from the edge of the box, but Fernando Forestieri equalised before half-time with a stunner from 30 yards.

Wednesday controversially took the lead early in the second-half when Steven Fletcher appeared to bundled a cross over the line with his arm. 

However, Vrancic was fouled on the edge of the D in the last minute of stoppage-time and stepped up to curl a superb free-kick into the top left corner and rescue a point for City.

Daniel Farke made one change to the side which drew 1-1 at Wigan Athletic on Sunday, with Moritz Leitner coming in for his first start since December in place of Todd Cantwell. Tom Trybull passed a late fitness test to start alongside Leitner. On the bench, Alex Tettey and Aston Oxborough appeared for the first time since the Millwall victory at the start of March.

It was a frenetic opening start to the match, with both sides keen to make a fast start to proceedings. The first chance fell to City’s leading marksman Teemu Pukki as he cut inside onto his left foot, however his shot through plenty of bodies went well over.

City then enjoyed an effort on target, thanks to a mistake from Owls goalkeeper Cameron Dawson when he handled the ball outside the area. Marco Stiepermann leathered the free-kick straight at the stopper but it was hit with such force that he could only beat the ball away.

Wednesday looked sharp early on and Fernando Forestieri tested Tim Krul with a long-range before George Boyd put the ball in the net, only to be rightfully flagged offside.

At the other end, City were finding pockets of space in and around the Wednesday penalty area. On 17 minutes, Onel Hernandez was played in by Leitner but his low strike was thwarted by Dawson.

City took the lead just moments later after patient build-up around the Wednesday box lead to Hernandez moving the ball inside to Stiepermann who unleashed a fierce low effort into the bottom corner.

The goal gave City a spring in their step and they began to move the ball around with more confidence, although the lead only lasted 15 minutes when Forestieri unleashed an unstoppable right-footed effort which flew into the top corner.

City almost regained the lead in first-half stoppage time when Max Aarons exchanged passes with Hernandez but was thwarted by Dawson’s feet.

Shortly after the restart, Ben Godfrey flashed a header wide of goal from a corner as City continued their mission to restore their lead. At the other end, Forestieri almost added to his tally but another one of his long-range strikes was, this time, spectacularly saved by Krul.

However, Wednesday took the lead shortly after when a deep Forestieri cross was converted by Fletcher sliding in at the back post, although replays suggested he put the ball over the line with his arm.

City were behind in the match for the first time and set about looking for a way back in, with Kenny McLean heading Aaron's cross narrowly wide on 63 minutes. Wednesday were still a threat at the other end though and Fletcher tested Krul with a powerful half-volley on 70 minutes.

Farke made an attacking change on 80 minutes, bringing on Mario Vrancic for Tom Trybull, in an attempt to rescue something from the game. Minutes later, striker Dennis Srbeny came on for Jamal Lewis.

The City boss threw on Timm Klose in stoppage-time as the home side went for broke and they had a lifeline when Vrancic was fouled on the edge of the area in the last minute of the game.

The Bosnian playmaker stepped up and curled the ball into the top corner past the despairing Dawson to help City to what could be an important point come the end of the season.

Today’s Golden Goal times were:
1st Goal: 18:41
2nd Goal: 32:02
3rd Goal: 52:46
4th Goal: 90:00
Lucky Number 2904

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