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Match Reports

City fall to Boxing Day defeat at Watford

26 December 2020

Norwich City's unbeaten run came to an end on Boxing Day as they were beaten 1-0 by Watford at Vicarage Road.

Ismaila Sarr scored the only goal of the game on 40 minutes, tapping in from close range after Ken Sema's low cross had evaded City shirts in the area.

City pressed for an equaliser in the second-half but couldn't find anything to threaten Ben Foster's goal.

Daniel Farke made one change to his starting eleven from last Saturday’s win over Cardiff City with Kieran Dowell returning to the starting eleven in place of Mario Vrancic, who dropped to the bench. Previous absentees Ben Gibson and Xavi Quintilla returned to make up the substitutes.

Watford started the better of the sides with Andre Gray and Sarr causing problems down City’s left. Inside the opening 15 minutes, Dowell had to intervene with Tom Cleverley set to smash the ball towards goal before Gray lashed over on 14 minutes after City failed to clear Sarr’s cutback.

Following the fast start from the hosts, City settled into their usual rhythm with the ball moving around at pace as they looked for an opening.

However, they were restricted by their structured hosts and any danger to Watford’s goal came from distance. Kenny McLean and Dowell both struck from range but to no avail.

Instead it was Watford who went in at half-time ahead. Sema’s trickery earned him room for a crossing opportunity and his low ball evaded all City men in the area and allowed Sarr to tap in from a couple of yards.

It almost got worse for the Canaries on the stroke of half-time when Gray fluffed his lines once more. Troy Deeney tried to divert a Kiko Femenia cross towards goal but instead, the ball inadvertently fell to Gray but he lashed over.

Watford started the second-half the better of the two sides and City were being forced deeper and deeper as their opponents chased a second.

However, City had the first effort of the second 45 on 56 minutes - Dowell fizzed a ball into the area and Todd Cantwell decided to shoot first time but his volley was well wide.

With City struggling to gain a foothold in the second-half, Farke introduced Ben Gibson, Mario Vrancic and Jordan Hugill in an attempt to switch things up.

The changes brought fresh impetus with the physicality of Hugill in particular giving City a new threat in the final third. His knockdown allowed Buendia room to run into but his low effort was straight at Foster.

City had a huge shout for a penalty with just under ten minutes remaining when Pukki went down after being found by a sensational Vrancic pass however replays showed substitute Adam Masina had done superbly to get a toe on the ball.

Lukas Rupp and Josh Martin came on for the closing minutes but it wasn't enough as City fell to defeat.

Watford: Foster (GK), Ngakia (Masina, 69), Wilmot, Cleverley (Hughes, 74), Deeney (c), Sema, Gray (Perica, 73), Femenia (Navarro, 85), Sarr, Capoue (Chalobah, 85), Sierralta
Subs not used: Bachmann (GK), Garner, Hungbo, Crichlow
Goals: Sarr (40)
Bookings: Capoue (18), Cleverley (63), Sarr (78), Hughes (87)
Red cards: None

Norwich City: McGovern (GK), Aarons, Hanley (c), Zimmermann, Dowell (Vrancic, 67), Cantwell (Hugill, 67), Buendia, Sorensen (Gibson, 67), Skipp, Pukki, McLean
Subs not used: Barden (GK), Rupp, Quintilla, Martin, Tettey, Omotoye
Goals: None
Bookings: None
Red cards: None

HT: 1-0
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: John Brooks

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