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Match Reports

City show class and grit to beat Cardiff 2-1

16 January 2021

A dominant opening 45 minute period was followed by a defensive second half as Norwich City beat Cardiff City 2-1 on Saturday thanks to goals from Grant Hanley and Todd Cantwell.

Daniel Farke made five changes to the side that knocked Coventry City out of the FA Cup on Saturday, with Max Aarons, Hanley, Oliver Skipp, Mario Vrancic and Emi Buendia coming in as Bali Mumba, Christoph Zimmermann, Xavi Quintilla, Alex Tettey and Przemyslaw Placheta made way.

Teemu Pukki wasn't included in the squad after suffering a side strain in training on Friday.

Norwich came flying out of the traps, Hanley heading in from a Buendia corner that had been flicked on by Vrancic in the fourth minute.

Playing out from the back calmly was a strength of City's in the first half, initially demonstrated by Kenny McLean, who played a nice one two with Buendia and sent Cantwell running down the left wing. He won a free-kick which Vrancic flicked over the bar.

Cantwell continued to be heavily involved, picking up a cleared Aarons cross and turning the ball onto his right foot to fire just high and wide.

Cardiff had their first shot on goal in the 18th minute, Robert Glatzel coming in from the right wing to shoot straight at Daniel Barden on his left foot.

But Norwich doubled their lead moments later, Hanley showing composure under pressure to play out from the back and find McLean deep in Cardiff's half. The latter drilled the ball into Jordan Hugill's path via the dummy of Cantwell and it was Hugill who had his shot well saved by the onrushing Alex Smithies. However, the Bluebirds' keeper looked on helplessly as the rebound fell to Cantwell to score for 2-0.

The home side looked to respond through a Harry Wilson free-kick moments later, but Joe Bennett scooped it well over the bar.

McLean almost headed Norwich three in front on the half-hour mark, his effort from Buendia's corner going into the side netting.

It was Buendia who found the wrong side of the post next, playing a neat one two with Hugill and going for goal from an angle that was just too narrow.

cantwell v cardiff.jpg

Cardiff looked to pull one back early in the second half as a free-kick dropped for Vaulks to volley towards the bottom left corner, Barden equal to it.

Junior Hoilett then curled a shot over the bar for the hosts.

Norwich almost found their third goal from a well-worked free-kick routine, as Buendia opted to send Aarons down the right wing instead of putting the ball into the box. Aarons took care of that, Vrancic on the end of his delivery to shoot straight at Smithies.

But Cardiff did reduce the arrears in the 65th minute, as Leandro Bacuna played the ball inside to Joe Ralls to pick out the bottom right corner.

Cardiff's attempt at a comeback was made more difficult five minutes later though, as Marlon Pack was shown a second yellow card for a late foul on Skipp.

Cantwell went for his brace in the 71st minute, sending a powerful half-volley straight at Smithies to push around the post.

Vrancic then fired over the bar before being replaced by Placheta.

There were no signs of Norwich sitting on their 2-1 lead, however, as the Canaries cotinued to get forward and in the 80th minute had an Aarons cross volleyed over the bar by Placheta.

It was Placheta who had the next attempt, retrieving the ball from Skipp and seeing his effort pushed over the bar by Smithies.

Cardiff City XI: Smithies (GK), Bennett, Vaulks, Bacuna (Murphy 87'), Ralls, Glatzel (Moore 58'), Nelson, Pack (C), Wilson, Bagan, Hoilett (Ojo 58')
Unused substitutes: Phillips (GK), Sang, Harris, Evans, Patten
Goals: Ralls (65')
Bookings: Pack (54'), Hoilett (58'), Wilson (89')
Red cards: Pack (70')

Norwich City XI: Barden (GK), Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Sorensen, Skipp, McLean, Vrancic (Placheta 76'), Buendia (Omobamidele 90+3'), Cantwell (Tettey 90+2'), Hugill
Unused substitutes: McCracken (GK), Dowell, Hernandez, Omotoye
Goals: Hanley (4'), Cantwell (23')
Red cards:

HT: 0-2
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Tony Harrington
Attendance: None

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