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Match Reports

Norwich beat Leeds 3-1 at Elland Road

2 February 2019

Norwich City beat league leaders Leeds United 3-1 at Elland Road to take their place at the top of the table.

City took the lead early on with a 5th minute free-kick from Mario Vrancic which took a deflection and flew into the top corner. Teemu Pukki made it two half an hour later to give Norwich a two-goal cushion going into the break.

Leeds worked hard to dominate possession, but Norwich kept fighting and got a third in the 78th minute with Vrancic netting his second of the game.

Leeds managed to pull a goal back in extra time with a header from Patrick Bamford, but it was too late to put them back into the game.

Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting eleven for the third game running, with Alex Tettey retuning to the bench after being out with an injury for City’s last two games. He replaced Felix Passlack.

A minute’s applause was held ahead of the game to celebrate the lives of young Leeds fan Toby Nye and Canaries fan Sophie Taylor, two youngsters claimed by cancer at the ages of six and five respectively. Leeds captain Liam Cooper and City skipper Christoph Zimmermann exchanged special shirts from each club in their honour. The minute’s applause was also held to honour former United player Phil Masinga who recently died at the age of 49.

There was an electric atmosphere right from the whistle, with Leeds having the first attack of the game with a low shot from the edge of the area by Jack Harrison, but Tim Krul made the save comfortably.

A couple of minutes in and Leeds won a free-kick which was taken by Ezgjan Alioski. The ball was eventually cleared but only as far as Mateusz Klich who hits wide from 30 yards out.

City then won a free-kick up the other end for a challenge on Onel Hernandez and Mario Vrancic’s superb effort took a deflection off the wall and flew into the top corner to give Norwich the lead five minutes in.

Leeds looked for a response and a good chance came with a deep cross from the right put in by Jack Harrison, which Alioski met with a fierce volley which arrowed wide of the far post.

United continued to dominate the game and put City’s defence under pressure, while Norwich struggled to keep possession and create anything going forward.

Just before the half hour mark a great chance came for Leeds again with Tyler Roberts on the break who attempted to lift the ball over Krul as he ran out of goal. A yellow card was shown to Krul for the challenge.

City started to look more dangerous on the counter attack and a lovely run from Emi Buendia saw him skip past three challenges and get a shot away, although his effort was blocked.

Norwich doubled their lead after 35 minutes with another lovely shot from Vrancic which deflected back into the path of Teemu Pukki to slot home for his 19th goal of the season.

Up the other end, Kemar Roofe got his effort on target, but it was well saved by Krul to deny the hosts.

City almost made it three just ahead of the break with a lovely cut back from Jamal Lewis to find Emi Buendia at the back post, but the Argentine shot it well over.

Leeds thought they had got one back as Ayling found the back of the net on 45 minutes, but Krul had been fouled in the build-up and the referee awarded a free-kick to City.

Leeds made two changes at the start of the second half with Jack Clarke and Barry Douglas replacing Jack Harrison and Pablo Hernandez.

City were awarded two free-kicks early on after fouls on Max Aarons and Mario Vrancic, both taken by Buendia but both claimed by the United keeper.

Leeds appealed for a penalty on the hour mark as Kemar Roofe went down under pressure from Ben Godfrey, but the referee waved the shouts away. Alioski tried his luck from outside the area moments later, but he couldn’t get enough power behind it and Krul comfortably made the save.

Leeds made their final change of the game in the 63rd minute, with Patrick Bamford on for Roberts.

Moments later a brilliant chance came for Hernandez who did well to get the ball across the area, falling to Aarons to power it home but his shot flashed just wide of the post.

With less than 15 minutes to go Aarons made a crucial block to deny Roofe the chance to see home Clarke’s cross and the Canaries worked hard to close down their players and win back the ball.

Norwich made it 3-0 in the 78th minute as Vrancic got his second of the game, tucking home Lewis’ cross.

Farke made a double substitution in the 84th minute with Tettey on for Tom Trybull and Kenny McLean on for Buendia, followed by his final change with Jordan Rhodes replacing Pukki.

Four minutes of added time were announced giving Leeds the chance to win a corner after a shot was deflected off the bar. The visitors then got a goal back with Patrick Bamford converting the header to make it 3-1.

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