Vrancic found form for City but was cruelly denied superb assist during draw with Spurs

Mario Vrancic scored his first Premier League goal during Norwich City's 2-2 home draw with Tottenham 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Mario Vrancic scored his first Premier League goal during Norwich City's 2-2 home draw with Tottenham Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Our latest Norwich City player watch followed Mario Vrancic as the midfielder played a pivotal role during a dramatic 2-2 draw with Spurs at Carrow Road, scoring his first Premier League goal.

4 - Making just his second start of the Premier League season, good play from Emi Buendia gets Vrancic moving forward but through-ball has too much on it and keeper Paulo Gazzaniga beats Onel Hernandez in race to the ball.

9 - Earns applause with a good tackle on Giovani Lo Celso to stop Spurs getting out of their own half.

18 - GOAL - Buendia robs Lo Celso, Vrancic swerves inside Tanguy Nodmbele and can run at goal, low right-footed effort from just inside the area is too powerful for Gazzaniga and is past the keeper before he can react. Gets to celebrate a goal for the first time in over seven months, since the goal which sealed the Championship title at Villa Park back in May.

20 - Gets across well to prevent Lo Celso attacking on the left, putting the ball out for a throw.

22 - BOOKED - A poorly timed tackle on Ndombele earns a yellow card.

26 - Lovely volleyed pass to Teemu Pukki but the striker can't keep hold of possession.

28 - Vrancic the architect of a swift attack, getting away from Lo Celso in midfield to find Pukki, gets it back via Buendia and then dives in to beat Ndombele to the ball and poke wide to Hernandez, who cuts on to his right and shoots but ball is always curling away from the far post.

33 - VAR - Vrancic robs Aurier on the left and then played a sensational curling pass through the middle, which drops and seems to deceive the Spurs defenders, allowing Pukki to control on his chest and stroke in his 10th goal of the season - only for a VAR check to emerge. The celebrations are cut short and it's decided that Pukki was marginally offside as Vrancic played the pass, sparked angry boos and chanting from the Carrow Road faithful, robbing Vrancic of a brilliant assist.

42 - Nice pass down the left to Jamal Lewis and then helps out his left-back to win a corner.

45 - Tries to find Marco Stiepermann in midfield but chipped pass from the left isn't quite on target.

50 - Clattered in a challenge with Lo Celso and stays down hurt. Two physios checking him thoroughly, holding his head. Returns to action after a few minutes of careful treatment. Emerges after the game that he was badly winded and had bit his tongue hard during the impact, causing severe bruising.

60 - Can't quite rob Ndombele but Lewis wins the loose ball.

63 - Curls a lovely pass down the left wing but Pukki gets it wrong and the ball deflects off his heel.

66 - Vital interception on the edge of City's box, stopping Lucas Moura's pass reaching Harry Kane, who had dropped into space.

71 - Helps to disrupt Dele Alli's pass in the box and Christoph Zimmermann clears.

75 - Replaced by Tom Trybull.

VERDICT: Fantastic first half before being knocked out of his flow by a heavy collision early in the second half. Took his goal well but was robbed of a glorious assist by the most marginal of offside calls by VAR, once again leaving fans and pundits to ask why such forensic analysis of tiny infractions are being used to rule out goals, instead of judging whether the on-pitch officials have made a clear error in their decision. Overall a positive performance from Vrancic, working hard, and likely to keep his starting role against Crystal Palace on New Year's Day.

RATING: 7 out of 10

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