2 years ago
Norwich City were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United on Sunday, despite a string of impeccable first-half saves, including two from penalties, by Tim Krul.
VAR was regrettably the talk of the town once again, as referee Stuart Attwell twice had decisions overruled to award Manchester United penalties.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial missed one each, however, as Krul shined in an incredible first half performance between the sticks.
There was little he could do about the goals from Scott McTominay, Rashford and Martial though, as United took home all three hard-fought points in the Premier League, Onel Hernandez's late goal a mere consolation.
Carrow Road was bouncing ahead of kick-off, and after immaculately paying respects to City legend Duncan Forbes, it was United who began the game on the front foot.
However, the first real chance dropped to Todd Cantwell, who curled a first-time effort just over the bar after picking up a cross from Max Aarons who had darted down the right wing at speed.
But it was a first-half of defending for the most part for City, and Emiliano Buendia carried out his duties admirably on the eighth minute, putting in crucial, well-timed tackles on Rashford and Ashley Young.
United had their first sight of goal when Andreas Pereira curled a shot from just outside the 18-yard box wide of the post, as Alex Tettey cleaned up almost everything United threw at Norwich.
It was in the 19th minute when Krul made the first of a string of top-draw first half saves. Having played a tidy one-two with Martial, Rashford found himself in a dangerous shooting position, but Krul closed the angle and saved Rashford's low shot with his right foot.
But it was bread and butter for goalkeepers. What was outstanding, by anyone's standards, was the save that followed one minute later. A United corner was flicked onto Martial by Rashford, and it looked like any connection from the forward would put the ball in the back of the net. Yet, Krul made himself look big once again and somehow denied Martial from incredibly close range to keep the scores level.
There was nothing he could do about McTominay's strike another minute later, as the United midfielder pounced on Cantwell's touch and picked out the bottom right corner from a Pereira delivery. His celebration, knee-sliding in front of The Barclay, only riled City fans up further, something that would come in handy.
VAR has been making all the headlines this weekend and it was no different at Carrow Road, first over-ruling Stuart Attwell's decision not to give United a penalty when Ben Godfrey mistimed his challenge on Daniel James, who had been played in on goal by Martial.
The length of time it took VAR to decide to award the penalty allowed Krul to gee up the City fans behind him, and by the time Rashford stepped up to take the spot-kick, Carrow Road was a cauldron of noise. When Krul dived to his right and saved it, the roof came off.
It was rather anti-climatic then when, one minute later, James sent a long ball forward to Rashford. One-on-one with the man who had just denied him from the spot, Rashford cooly slotted into the bottom right corner for 2-0.
With just under 40 minutes played, Cantwell had another go for City, winning a corner with a shot from distance that David De Gea tipped over the bar, but nothing came of the resulting set-piece.
42nd minute. A Fred volley strikes the elbow of Cantwell. It doesn't look obvious but VAR has to check it nonetheless. Attwell had pointed for a corner but he was over-ruled again, and yet again Krul had something to say about it. Rashford surrendered penalty-taking responsibilities as Martial took control. United's numer nine stepped up, and once again the noise levels rocketed as Krul made his second penalty save of the first half.
This time, City didn't concede straight after a moment of magic, although Fred came close to making it three with a volley from outside the box that Krul tipped over the bar.
A late foul by Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Jamal Lewis only warranted a yellow card, but had City fans chanting 'VAR', incensed that it should have been a red. Breathaking, dramatic, action-packed. It was some first half.
The half-time break gave Daniel Farke time to assess his options, and he introduced Marco Stiepermann and Hernandez at the start of the second half in place of Moritz Leitner and Cantwell.
City began the second half looking lively, as an Aarons cross fell to Teemu Pukki who blasted his first-time effort over the bar.
At the other end, Krul kept City in the game once again, saving a low effort from Martial inside the penalty area after James had put a tasty delivery in - it would have been a goal not dissimilar to the one Rashford buried against Liverpool last weekend.
City had reason to think United might have gone down to ten men on the hour mark, as a nasty, late challenge from Young on Aarons only warranted a booking from Attwell.
Martial looked to be in on goal again when a lung-busting run down the left wing from Rashford sent him through on goal, but Godfrey timed his interception to perfection as City kept the margin at two.
With just under 25 minutes remaining, Farke made his final change of the evening, sending Sam Byram on to replace Lewis at left-back.
Hernandez had a half-chance for City, cutting inside and shooting straight at De Gea with just under 20 minutes to go, before United went up the other end and made it 3-0 through Martial's dink over Krul.
3-0 up, United were in cruise control and it was effectively game over at Carrow Road. Jesse Lingard sought to make an impact when he came on as a substitute, but shot well over the bar with an effort from distance.
With minutes to spare, Hernandez gave City fans something to cheer about, taking it upon himself to run through the United defence and beat De Gea with a cool finish into the bottom right corner for 3-1. Any hope of a comeback was rather slim, but when the fourth official awarded six minutes of stoppage time there was certainly an element of belief about the place.
United were clearly the more clinical team on the night and created chances aplenty, but 3-1 arguably flattered Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as the Canaries put in a good defensive performance for much of the game.
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis (Byram 66'), Tettey (C), Buendia, Leitner (Stiepermann 46'), McLean, Cantwell (Hernandez 46'), Pukki
Subs not used: McGovern, Trybull, Drmic, Srbeny
Goals: Hernandez (88')
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young (C), McTominay, Fred, James (Lingard 80'), Andreas (Garner 82'), Rashford, Martial (Greenwood 75')
Subs not used: Romero, Rojo, Williams, Mata
Goals: McTominay (20'), Rashford (30'), Martial (73')
Bookings: Wan-Bissaka (45'), Young (60')
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Kick-off time: 4.30pm
Venue: Carrow Road
Today’s Golden Goal times were:
1st Goal: 20.04
2nd Goal: 29.56
3rd Goal: 72.00
4th Goal: 87.30
Lucky Number 1498