Cardiff City 2, Norwich City 2

PUBLISHED: 15:37 23 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 10 September 2010

Cureton rolls his penalty wide of goalkeeper's Heaton's right-hand post. Paul Hollands/Focus Images

Cureton rolls his penalty wide of goalkeeper's Heaton's right-hand post. Paul Hollands/Focus Images

Substitute Arturo Lupoli proved to be the Norwich City hero when he scored twice in the space of five minutes to earn a point in dramatic fashion at Ninian Park this afternoon.

Jamie Cureton can't bear to look as his penalty goes wide. Paul Hollands/Focus Images

Substitute Arturo Lupoli proved to be the Norwich City hero when he scored twice in the space of five minutes to earn a point in dramatic fashion at Ninian Park this afternoon.

The Canaries appeared to be drifting towards defeat when the Italian was introduced after 73 minutes with his side trailing 2-0 to Cardiff City.

But within three minutes he reduced the arrears by diverting a shot from Lee Croft past goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Then, five minutes later, Lupoli provided a superb equaliser with a diving header from a cross by Croft.

Norwich City substitute Arturo Lupoli scores his first for the club with the home defence left somewhat stunned. Paul Hollands/Focus Images

Cardiff took the lead after little more than two minutes thanks to Ross McCormack.

Jamie Cureton squandered a chance to level the scores five minutes later when he shot wide from the penalty spot after Matty Pattison had been brought down by Joe Ledley.

Norwich's penalty woes continued in the second half when the conceded a spot kick for the third league match in a row and McCormack beat David Marshall from 12-yards to score his second of the match - a goal that looked certain to given the Bluebirds victory before Lupoli's dramatic intervention.

Darel Russell won a recall to the starting line-up as City manager Glenn Roeder made one change to the side who drew 1-1 at home to Blackpool last week.

Lee Croft and Mark Fotheringham celebrate with Arturo Lupoli as the Italian got the Canaries back into the game. Paul Hollands/Focus Images

Russell, whose equaliser earned a point against the Seasiders, was included at the expense of Italian striker Arturo Lupoli, who was named among the five substitutes.

Northern Ireland international Sammy Clingan recovered from the shin injury he suffered playing against Scotland on Wednesday night to keep his place in midfield.

Cardiff showed two changes to the 11 who started last week's 1-1 draw at Doncaster.

Darcy Blake was recalled in place of injured defender Kevin McNaughton, while striker Jay Bothroyd was preferred to Peter Whittingham, relegated to the bench. Hungarian defender Gabor Gyepes, one of Cardiff's new signings, was also among the substitutes.

Lupoli celebrates his second goal of the game to earn Norwich City a point at Ninian Park. Paul Hollands/Focus Images

City kicked off, attacking the goal behind which their travelling fans were assembled.

Stefanovic tried to set up a City attack with a long ball down the left, but it was cut out by Purse and as Cardiff counter-attacked, they took an early lead.

McCormack was the man to open the scoring as he made inroads deep into Norwich territory and cut inside on to his left foot before firing a powerful shot past Marshall.

It was the worst possible start for the Canaries on a ground where they had won twice in their previous three visits.

The goal gave the home side great confidence and Bothroyd, wearing bright red boots, weaved his way into the penalty area before being closed down by Stefanovic.

City were immediately handed a way back into the game, however, when they were awarded a penalty in the eighth minute.

Pattison was clearly brought down by Ledley on the right side of the Cardiff area and referee Taylor pointed straight to the spot.

Cureton stepped up to take the spot-kick, but spurned the opportunity by rolling the ball wide of goalkeeper's Heaton's right-hand post, much to the delight of the home crowd.

It was certainly a dramatic start to the afternoon and the visitors, struggling for goals in their first three games of the season, could ill afford to pass up such a golden chance.

A foul by Stefanovic gave Cardiff a free-kick 15-yards into the City half, McCormack taking it and it was cleared only as far as Ledley, who tested Marshall with a first-time shot.

McCormack, confident after his early goal, let fly from the edge of the area after 16 minutes, but his effort struck Stefanovic on the back and as City broke forwards, Russell, playing in attack alongside Cureton, seemed unfortunate not to win a free-kick when he was barged in the back by Johnson.

There was a delay while Johnson was treated for a knock, but the defender was soon back in the action.

Apart from the penalty, the Canaries had not really carved out a chance and in a rare attack, Bertrand's cross was too strong for Cureton.

With less than a quarter of the match gone, Roeder appeared on the touchline and angrily remonstrated with Cureton before sending Koroma down the touchline to warm-up.

A foul on Russell gave City a free-kick less than 10-yards outside the Cardiff area and, after some dispute over the position of the defensive wall, Clingan fired a low shot straight into the wall and the home side were able to push forward again.

The first corner of the afternoon finally came after 26 minutes when McCormack forced the ball out off Kennedy.

The kick was taken short, but as the cross came in from Ledley, Kennedy was in the right place to head clear.

Pattison showed a bit more urgency when he took a pass from Fotheringham and cut inside on to his left foot to test Heaton with a low drive that the keeper grabbed at the second attempt by his left-hand post.

City won another free-kick when Cureton was obstructed by Purse five-yards outside the area. Fotheringham's kick fell to Kennedy, whose shot was deflected to give City their first corner. Fotheringham's flag-kick was too strong, however, and cleared the six-yard box, making it easy for Cardiff to clear up field.

Russell needed attention briefly after taking a bang in the face from Cardiff's Kennedy, but the stand-in striker was soon on his feet.

After such an eventful start, the game had subsided into a fairly dull affair, with little in the way of clear opportunities at either end.

There was another delay when Cardiff skipper Purse went down on the edge of the penalty area clutching his left leg and he too needed treatment before being able to resume.

A fumble by Marshall almost handed Cardiff another corner, but he just managed to keep the ball in play and attempted to set up an attack with a long throw out of his area.

Cardiff were soon back on the attack, however, and Kennedy did well to head clear from a McCormack free-kick.

At the other end, Cureton and Russell combined to give Pattison a shooting opportunity, but his effort struck the referee and fell kindly for the home side to clear.

Two minutes before the break, Blake showed good control close to the corner flag and his low centre reached Ledley, but he did not connect cleanly and his attempted left-foot shot squirmed wide of the target.

Roeder had remained on the touchline for the rest of the half, issuing instructions to his players and could not have been too happy with what he had seen in the opening 45 minutes.

In first half stoppage time, Cardiff's Kennedy aimed a long free-kick into the City area but his namesake was there to head clear once again.

The hosts won yet another free-kick before the break after a foul by Bertrand and referee Taylor had to move the Norwich wall back a couple of yards before the ball was touched to Bothroyd who fired left-footed just wide of the target.

t Half-time: Cardiff City 1, Norwich City 0

Roeder made one change to his line-up at the break when Croft was sent on in place of Hoolahan and took up the same position wide on the left, rather than his more usual right-wing role

Bothroyd tried to get Cardiff going in their first attack after the break, but his stray pass was cut out by Fotheringham and the opportunity went begging.

Omozusi conceded a corner under pressure from McCormack three minutes into the half and Parry stabbed his shot wide from Ledley's flag-kick.

Lupoli and Koroma were limbering up on the touchline and it remained to be seen whether Roeder would make further changes in a bid to spark more life into his side.

There were angry appeals for a penalty from the home crowd when Kennedy challenged Bothroyd in the penalty area but the referee waved him aside before earning ironic cheers moments later for awarding the home side a free-kick for a foul by Clingan.

There was more anger from the crowd and in the Cardiff dug-out when Croft was awarded a free-kick on the halfway line after a fairly tame challenge, but the Canaries were unable to make any headway from the dead ball situation.

The game was littered with stoppages and there had been little since the interval to generate any real excitement at either end.

Cardiff won a free-kick when Croft fouled Blake and Johnson stole in to head narrowly wide from McCormack's dead ball kick.

Russell was working hard in an unfamiliar role but was getting very little change out of Johnson and his frustration continued when a passing move with Omozusi broke down, the fullback's return pass rolling out for a goal-kick.

With just over an hour gone, Roeder made his second change by sending on Koroma in place of Cureton.

Croft and Pattison had now swapped flanks and Pattison tried to send Koroma clear on the left but the youngster ran into the intimidating frame of Purse and was unable to stay on his feet.

In the 64th minute, Pattison produced probably Norwich's best effort when his curling, right-foot shot from a pass by Croft was only just wide of the target.

Kennedy had been outstanding at the back and came to the rescue again when he cut out a low centre from Bothroyd.

City's penalty woes continued after 66 minutes when, for the third league match in a row, they conceded a spot-kick.

McCormack was the man to go down, possibly after a touch from Kennedy, and referee Taylor once again pointed straight to the spot.

Unlike Cureton earlier in the day, McCormack made no mistake from 12-yards, hammering his penalty straight down the middle to make it 2-0.

The goal scorer was immediately replaced by Whittingham, with Parry taking up the striker's role.

Within a minute, Norwich almost reduced the areas when Pattison got behind the defence and beat keeper Heaton, but his goal-bound shot was hacked off the line by Johnson.

Norwich's final change came after 73 minutes when Clingan was withdrawn and another striker came on in the shape of Lupoli.

Cardiff manager Jones made another change with 15 minutes to go when Thompson replaced Bothroyd.

The Canaries gave themselves a lifeline after 76 minutes, however, when substitute Lupoli scored his first goal for the club.

Fotheringham's corner was cleared as far as Croft, whose off-target effort was diverted past Heaton by Lupoli with the home defence left somewhat stunned.

One minute later, the hosts made their last change as Comminges replaced Kennedy.

Lupoli was only just off target with a curling left-foot shot, but the Italian did not have to wait long for his next celebration when he equalised with less than 10 minutes to go.

Croft was the provider with the cross which Lupoli met with a diving header and it went just inside the post to complete a dramatic comeback by City.

It was all action now and twice in a matter of seconds, Cardiff came close to regaining the lead, first when they were denied by Pattison's header off the line and then when Marshall tipped a shot from Whittingham over the top.

With just a few minutes to go, some home fans began drifting towards the exits after seeing their side lose a two goal lead thanks to Lupoli's intervention.

Lupoli was in the thick of the action and forced a save out of Heaton with a low shot from Pattison's cross as City went in search of a late winner.

With the fourth official indicating three minutes of stoppage time, Cardiff pushed forward again to try to snatch a late winner.

t Result: Cardiff City 2, Norwich City 2

t Cardiff: Heaton, Purse, Johnson, Kennedy, Blake, McPhail, Parry, Ledley, Scimeca, McCormack, Bothroyd.

Subs: Enckelman, Gyepes, Whittingham, Comminges, Thompson.

t Norwich: Marshall, Kennedy, Stefanovic, Bertrand, Omozusi, Clingan, Hoolahan, Fotheringham, Pattison, Cureton, Russell.

Subs: Shackell, Croft, Lupoli, Koroma, Nelson.

t Referee: Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester)

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