Norwich City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur - VAR drama as City hold Mourinho’s men to a point

PUBLISHED: 22:13 28 December 2019 | UPDATED: 22:14 28 December 2019

Mario Vrancic celebrates putting the Canaries ahead.
 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Mario Vrancic celebrates putting the Canaries ahead. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Norwich City held Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur to a draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, but saw Teemu Pukki’s first-half strike controversially chalked off by VAR.

Mario Vrancic gave the Canaries the lead in the first-half, netting in the 18th minute. City thought they'd made it two later in the half, with Pukki's strike being given fractionally offside after a lengthy VAR review.

Christian Eriksen scored Spurs equaliser but a calamitous Serge Aurier own goal restored City's advantage prior to Harry Kane slotting in a penalty after Christoph Zimmermann's foul.

Daniel Farke made four changes to the side who were on the receiving end of a Boxing Day defeat to Aston Villa, with City feeling the effects of a second game in the space of three days.

Mario Vrancic, Marco Stiepermann, Jamal Lewis and Onel Hernandez were all called into the side as Farke looked to revive City's survival aspirations.

Mourinho's resurgent Spurs were forced into two of their four changes, with the suspensions of Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko and Heung Min Son seeing Tottenham's midfield set-up altering.

Christian Eriksen started his first Premier League game in nine matches, and stuck the equaliser in the second half. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdChristian Eriksen started his first Premier League game in nine matches, and stuck the equaliser in the second half. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

That meant Eriksen returned to the XI for his first start in nine Premier League matches. Giovani Lo Celso earned himself a place in the starting XI at Carrow Road following an impressive cameo from the bench during the victory over Brighton on Thursday.

The early tussles were scrappy, with Spurs looking to exploit City's advancing full-backs. City were attempting to assert their possession-based game and had the first shot of the match through Jamal Lewis.

Emi Buendia kept the ball alive before finding Alex Tettey, he teed up Lewis outside the box who drilled his effort wide.

Stiepermann nearly profited from a mix-up in the Spurs midfield after Eriksen and Tanguy Ndombele collided and gifted the German the ball. He drove towards goal, but his toe-poked effort was saved well by Paulo Gazzaniga.

Spurs fired their first warning shot in the 11th minute, after Ndombele's interception set Kane racing away. The England captain played in Dele Alli, but his effort sailed over the bar.

Teemu Pukki put the ball in the back of the net, but it was chalked off by the VAR officials for offside. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdTeemu Pukki put the ball in the back of the net, but it was chalked off by the VAR officials for offside. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Spurs were looking to find their attacking duo with a lofted pass, that was the route that saw Kane locate space between City's centre-backs before his shot was smothered by Tim Krul.

Despite Spurs piling on pressure, it was City who took the lead in the 18th minute.

In possession, Spurs were sloppy, with Buendia robbing Lo Censo before the ball was picked up by Vrancic. The Bosnian was given the licence to drive forward before unleashing an effort beyond Gazzaniga and into the net.

The lack of intensity within Spurs game allowed City to find their rhythm, with a neat passage of City possession resulting in Hernandez firing wide. Mourinho's men allowed the Canaries space to operate within, leading Vrancic to thread a pass to Hernandez but the Cuban's finish was wild.

City's dominance was telling, and they thought they'd scored a second after Vrancic's lofted through pass found Pukki who controlled beautifully before dispatching beyond Gazzaniga.

Emi Buendia was influential once again for City. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdEmi Buendia was influential once again for City. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

VAR intervened to rule the Finn was fractionally offside and disallowed the goal.

With a sense of injustice in the air, the Canaries came out for the second half looking to convert a positive performance into points.

Within seconds of the restart, Eriksen sent Alli racing through, the England international was through on goal but the recovering Zimmermann slided in superbly to block the shot.

Spurs were level within five minutes of the restart, through a sweetly struck free-kick by Eriksen. Jamal Lewis was penalised for a handball outside the area and the Dane took advantage as he swept the ball into the top corner to equalise.

Carrow Road was bouncing again soon after, with City reclaiming the lead through a fortuitous Serge Aurier own goal.

Grant Hanley  wins a header during in the second half Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdGrant Hanley wins a header during in the second half Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Stiepermann was fouled in the build-up but Kevin Friend played an excellent advantage, allowing Buendia to slot in Pukki. His first touch was poor but Toby Alderweireld deflected the ball into Aurier's path, who got his feet mixed up and sent it past Gazzaniga and into the net.

Spurs began to push for a leveller, piling bodies forward in search of a goal. City's defensive wall stood firm until Zimmermann clattered Kane in the area for a penalty.

Trybull was dispossessed inside the Spurs half which prompted them to break through Alli. Hanley attempted to foul him, but he still found Kane who was brought down by the towering German defender.

Kane stepped up calmly to dispatch the penalty into the right-hand corner of the net to equalise for Spurs.

Spurs pressed for a winner, with City defending deep and looking fatigued. Substitute Erik Lamela set his sights before forcing Krul into a save, with the Dutch keeper parrying over the bar.

Todd Cantwell and Toby Alderweireld compete for the ball in the second half. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdTodd Cantwell and Toby Alderweireld compete for the ball in the second half. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley (C ), Lewis; Tettey (Cantwell, 86), Vrancic (Trybull, 75); Hernandez, Stiepermann (McLean, 69), Buendia; Pukki. Subs not used: McGovern, Byram, Amadou, Srbeny.

- Bookings: Vrancic, Lewis, Krul

- Goals: Vrancic 18, Aurier (og) 61

- Tottenham Hotspur (3-5-2): Gazzaniga; Alderweireld, Foyth (Sanchez, 45), Vertonghen (Lucas Moura, 45); Aurier, Ndombele, Lo Celso (Lamela, 75), Eriksen, Sessegnon; Alli, Kane( C). Subs not used: Vorm, Dier, Skipp, Tanganga.

- Bookings: Lucas Moura, Eriksen

- Goals: Eriksen 50, Kane (pen) 83

- Added on time: 2 mins/ 7 mins

- Attendance: 27, 072

- Referee: Kevin Friend

- VAR: Chris Kavanagh

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