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Match Reports

Canaries clinch title after comfortable 4-1 win over Reading

1 May 2021

Norwich City were crowned Sky Bet Championship title winners on Saturday following their 4-1 win over Reading at Carrow Road.

The victory, coupled with Watford's defeat at Brentford, meant City sealed their second Championship crown in three seasons with one game left to spare.

City had to come from behind to register their 29th league win of the season, with Josh Laurent’s header giving Reading the lead early on.

However, Kieran Dowell’s double helped the Canaries take the advantage with a goal in each half and the game was put beyond doubt when Xavi Quintilla struck a sensational free-kick into the top corner with ten minutes to go.

 

Daniel Farke once again named an unchanged starting eleven, with Quintilla continuing to deputise at left-back, with Dimitris Giannoulis serving the final game of his three-match suspension.

Reading handed a debut to young Dejan Tetek with their season effectively over after dropping points against Swansea City last week meant they could no longer make the end of season play-offs.

The Royals started well with their tricky ball players shifting the ball around at pace, although it was the hosts who threatened first. Recently crowned Norwich City and Championship player of the season Emi Buendia stole the ball from Lewis Gibson and drove towards goal but his left-footed shot flashed wide of goal.

On 12 minutes, Reading took the lead. A deep free-kick from the right hand side was nodded in at the back post by Josh Laurent.

After a sluggish start, the Canaries set about finding an equaliser and a good spell of play saw them go close twice on 20 minutes. First, a Buendia shot was spilled by Rafael Cabral but eventually cleared by the visitors, before City retrieved the ball in Reading’s defensive area which allowed Pukki to fire pastr Cabral, only for Tom Holmes to clear the ball off the line.

City’s pressure eventually paid off and they equalised on the half hour mark. A poor kick from Cabral put Reading under pressure and Dowell managed to divert past the Royals’ goalkeeper with the help of a deflection.

City continuing to threaten, with Dowell fluffing his lines on 39 minutes following a Pukki cutback, before Pukki had a go himself from distance, but his shot was well held by Cabral.

Reading ended the first-half on top though, with Michael Olise wasting a good opportunity from close range in stoppage time as he sliced the ball wide.

City began the second-half well and Buendia was again in the thick of the action, firing wide with a low shot from the edge of the area. Dowell then flashed an effort wide from a tight angle as City made their matchwinning intentions clear.

From the resulting corner, McLean met Quintilla’s corner and forced Cabral into a superb, reaction save before Buendia fizzed a low effort towards goal with Cabral was equal to.

City continued their ascendancy in the game and Cantwell curled over from a good position on the hour mark after a Max Aarons cutback.

Their second goal came on 64 minutes with Cantwell’s scooped pass into the area falling kindly for Dowell to convert into the bottom corner from a tight angle for 2-1.

On 70 minutes, Pukki had a golden chance to increased City’s lead. He benefitted from a Reading mistake at the back to see himself in the clear with only Cabral to beat but he could only lift the ball over the crossbar.

It looked set to be another one of those days for Pukki, who was through on goal again on 75 minutes following a sublime lofted pass from Dowell. The Finn lifted the ball over Cabral but it bounced wide.

However, there was no need to fret over those near misses as City put the result beyond doubt on 78 minutes – Quintilla curling a sensational free-kick into the top corner from distance for his second goal in as many games.

Pukki eventually got his name on the scoresheet late on, capitalising on another defensive mishap to round Cabral and smash into an empty net.

Norwich City XI: Krul (GK), Aarons, Hanley (c), Dowell (Tettey, 82), Cantwell (Hernandez, 86), Quintilla (Hugill, 86), Buendia (Vrancic, 82), Skipp, Pukki, McLean, Omobamidele
Subs not used: Nyland (GK), Placheta, Stiepermann, Sorensen, Mumba
Goals: Dowell (30, 64), Quintilla (78), Pukki (85)
Bookings: Aarons (17), Skipp (42)

Reading: Cabral (c) (GK), Richards, Olise (Esteves, 68), Swift (Meite, 61) , Ejaria, Gibson, Yiadom, Joao, Laurent, Holmes, Tetek (Semedo, 68)
Subs not used: Southwood (GK), Baldock, Aluko, Puscas, Dorsett, Camara
Goals: Laurent (12)
Bookings: Richards (25)


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