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Match Reports

Ayew and Hourihane inflict 2-0 defeat on City

5 February 2021

Goals either side of half-time saw Norwich City beaten 2-0 at Swansea City in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday night.

Daniel Farke made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Millwall on Tuesday night, Kenny McLean and Jacob Sorensen returning to the starting line-up in place of Mario Vrancic and Dimitris Giannoulis.

In a balanced, end-to-end first half of both sides looking dangerous, it was the hosts who had the first chance of the game when Marc Guehi was fouled just outside the area by Todd Cantwell.

Conor Hourihane went to shoot under the wall, but the ball clipped Grant Hanley and Tim Krul came to collect it.

City had a free-kick of their own at the other end after Max Aarons was fouled by Hourihane, and it was Przemyslaw Placheta who sent the dead ball to the far post, but Freddie Woodman could catch unmarked.

Norwich had their best chance of the first half when Sorensen found Cantwell in the middle of the park, the latter driving forward and weighing a pass perfectly into Teemu Pukki's path. The City forward shot first time and saw the ball go just wide of the far post, however.

A Swansea corner came out to Matt Grimes to curl one from distance moments later, his left-footed strike straight at Krul.

The Canaries put another nice move together in the 25th minute, Placheta coming in from the right wing and killing the ball for Cantwell to take in the opposite direction. He found Pukki, who couldn't get a clear sight of goal and shot further wide of the post.

Alarm bells were ringing just shy of the half-hour mark though, as Guehi perfectly found the run of Jamal Lowe behind the City defence. He attempted to open his body up and look for the far corner with a side footed effort, but couldn't get enough whip on it and gave Krul a routine save to make.

After a coming together with Lukas Rupp, Andrew Ayew had to receive treatment for a short period of time but was able to continue.

As the first half wore on, Swansea began to take control. A long throw went all the way to the far post for Hourihane to get on the end of, and he would likely have scored but for Aarons' vital block.

Unfortunately, the resulting corner did lead to the Swans' opening goal. Krul spilled the ball into the box and Ayew was on hand to pick up the pieces, shooting past a handful of Norwich bodies for 1-0 on the brink of half-time.

Norwich came close to equalising when Placheta's 45th minute free-kick was met by Grant Hanley, but Woodman got up to his left to save the header, that was destined for the top right corner.

ayew goal.jpg

The second half began in the worst possible way for Norwich, McLean unable to control Ben Gibson's clearance and Hourihane receiving the ball in plenty of space. He lined up the shot from distance and smashed it into the bottom right corner for 2-0.

Norwich responded with a couple of speculative efforts, Gibson shooting just wide from around 30 yards out, before McLean did the same following a one-two with Cantwell.

In the 57th minute, Daniel Farke made a triple substitution with Vrancic, Onel Hernandez and Adam Idah coming on for Oliver Skipp, Rupp and Placheta.

The changes certainly gave Norwich more attacking impetus and variety in their approaches going forward, but clear-cut chances still proved difficult to come by.

For instance, McLean looked to pick out Idah with a cross from a deep position on the right wing, but the 19-year-old couldn't quite get it under control to get a shot away.

Steve Cooper then introduced Jordan Morris to replace Lowe in the 75th minute.

It was the 83rd minute when City came closest to a way back into the game, Vrancic and Hernandez linking up in a crowded penalty area before the latter laid it off for Pukki to hit over the bar.

Aarons saw a cross looking for Idah sail wide for a goal-kick before Kieran Dowell came on for Cantwell.

Another Aarons cross was then skied by Hernandez in the 87th minute.

Idah connected with an aerial pass forward from Gibson in the first minute of stoppage time, Woodman parrying the header around the post. The following corner was eventually worked out to Aarons who sent a left-footed shot over the bar.

In truth, Norwich were on top for the majority of the second half, at least in terms of possession, but Hourihane's early sucker punch ultimately made the comeback insurmountable for Daniel Farke's side.

Swansea City XI: Woodman, Roberts, Naughton, Bennett, Guehi, Bidwell, Fulton, Grimes (C), Hourihane, Ayew, Lowe (Morris 75')
Unused substitutes: Hamer, Freeman, Latibeaudiere, Cabango, Manning, Dhanda, O. Cooper, Whittaker
Bookings: Bennett (64'), Bidwell (69')

Norwich City XI: Krul, Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Sorensen, Skipp (Vrancic 57'), Rupp (Idah 57'), Cantwell, McLean, Placheta (Hernandez 57'), Pukki
Unused substitutes: Barden, Mumba, Zimmermann, Giannoulis, Tettey
Bookings: Idah (67'), Vrancic (78')

HT: 1-0
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: None

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