NORWICH City's Under-23s secured their place in the Premier League International Cup quarter-finals after coming from behind three times to eventually emerge as 4-3 winners over Aston Villa at Carrow Road on Thursday evening.
The result saw the Canaries convincingly top Group E after impressive victories over Celtic and Valencia, and ensured their progress to the knockout stages of the European competition for the first time.
A ding-dong affair was characterised by City's desire, with the home side's refusal to accept defeat ultimately seeing them earn a deserved three points thanks to goals from James Maddison, Carlton Morris, Glenn Middleton and Diallang Jaiyesimi.
Dmitri Halajko named Matt Jarvis and Maddison in his starting XI, with the latter having recently returned to Norwich following the conclusion of his agreed loan deal with Scottish side Aberdeen.
Both teams had chances inside an opening twenty minutes contested in damp conditions, City the first to significantly threaten when Carlton Morris cut-back for Jarvis who sent straight at Villa goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.
After the visitors went close through Corey Blackett-Taylor's low drive, they went in front just before the half-hour mark when Keinan Davis rose highest to flick home a cross from the left.
City responded well, with Jarvis' cross from the left only marginally too high for Conor McGrandles to be able to make a clean connection after breaking into the box from midfield.
Jarvis' desire to stretch the game continued to cause problems, and on 43 minutes it was his centre which picked out Maddison; the youngster adjusting his body expertly to volley the Canaries level.
Parity would last less than 60 seconds, however, with The Lions almost immediately restoring their lead when Jerrell Sellars cut in from the right to whip home left-footed from outside the box.
Villa had an opportunity to further extend their advantage in injury-time, only for Harry McKirdy to fire into the side-netting in the last notable action of the opening period.
Such profligacy was punished by the Canaries soon after the restart, with Carlton Morris making the most of some hesitant defending to nod his side level once again on 47 minutes.
Moments later, Sellars struck the base of Paul Jones' post as he looked to repeat his earlier effort, before Villa went in front for a third time when Davis prodded home his second from close-range.
City lost Jarvis to injury, but his replacement Glenn Middleton was instantly involved; slotting low into the corner within two minutes of coming on as the hosts hauled themselves back on terms.
Although the flurry of goals halted temporarily, Norwich looked the most likely to notch next, with both Benny Ashley-Seal and Middleton going close ahead of Jamal Lewis' header being hacked off the line.
That pressure eventually told less than 15 minutes from time; Diallang Jaiyesimi showing great technique to bring down a fizzed Louis Ramsay cross and accurately pick out the bottom corner to make it 4-3.
Middleton and Maddison tested Matija Sarkic in the Villa goal as City looked to kill the game off, with Halajko's youngsters coming through the closing stages largely untroubled to close out victory.
GOALS: Canaries: James Maddison (43), Carlton Morris (47), Glenn Middleton (56), Diallang Jaiyesimi (76). Villa: Keinan Davis (29, 54), Jerrell Sellars (44).
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 4-3 Aston Villa
TEAM: Jones; Ramsay, Efete, Crowe, Odusina; Grant (c), McGrandles (Lewis, 46), Maddison; Jaiyesimi, Jarvis (Middleton, 54); Morris (Ashley-Seal). Subs not used: Killip (GK), Cantwell, Wallis, Hlynsson.