Match Report: Crystal Palace 2-0 Norwich City - Canaries suffer third consecutive defeat on the road
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City suffered their third consecutive defeat away from home as they were beaten 2-0 by Crystal Palace. Canaries correspondent Connor Southwell reports from Selhurst Park.
Goals from Luka Milivojevic, who coverted a first half penalty, and Andros Townsend in stoppage time left Norwich rueing opportunities they created in the first half.
Norwich City travelled to Crystal Palace in search of their first win in 15 outings at Selhurst Park. They haven't won in these quarters since 1996, a hoodoo that continues with defeat on Saturday.
City boss Daniel Farke made three changes to his starting XI, with Max Aarons completing his rapid recovery to start at right-back.
Ralf Fahrmann passed a late fitness test to play whilst Moritz Leitner returned to the team, partnering Kenny McLean in midfield.
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Crystal Palace made one change to the side who drew 1-1 with Wolves last Sunday, with Martin Kelly replacing the injured Mamadou Sakho in the Eagles backline.
Farke spoke pre-match regarding the importance of the Canaries approach, stating that they needed to opt for the offensive game that brought them promotion rather than settling for pragmatism away from home.
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Wilfried Zaha, Palace's influential right-winger, sought to take the game to the Canaries early on, with an energetic burst down City's left comfortably watched over the bar by Fahrmann.
Unlike Burnley last weekend, Palace displayed a greater reluctance to press City when they held possession in their own third of the pitch. Instead, Hodgson's side deployed a more stubborn, pragmatic defensive shape designed to prevent the space they allowed Norwich in the central area of the pitch.
Another venture forward from Zaha led to Cantwell chopping him down, and from the subsequent free-kick, Fahrmann relieved the pressure with a commanding catch inside his area.
In the 13th minute, the home side got their first sight of goal. Striker Jordan Ayew was played in after Cantwell conceded possession inside his own half. The shot was well saved by Fahrmann.
The opening exchanges were slow in tempo, but Palace possessed the energy and pace to get in behind the Canaries backline at regular intervals.
Palace continued to pile on the pressure, with a prolonged spell of possession leading to Ibrahim Amadou's desperate lunge on James McArthur being penalised. Referee Jonathan Moss was left with no choice but to point to the spot.
Milivojevic confidently dispatched the penalty into the top right corner of Fahrmann's net after 22 minutes.
The German keeper looked to be struggling from the off, and the penalty was his final piece of action of the game for him, limping off to be replaced by understudy Michael McGovern on 23 minutes. Another injury, it doesn't rain but it pours for Farke's men at present.
Norwich's first meaningful foray forward saw Emi Buendia float a ball over the top of the home sides defence for Pukki to bring down. His left-footed volley was helped over by Vincente Guaita.
Cantwell was presented with a glorious chance just after the half-hour mark, Buendia's pass to Stiepermann unlocking Palace's defensive shape. Jamal Lewis burst forward from the left, but Cantwell's effort from the cut back was tame and blocked by Martin Kelly.
Pressure from City continued to lead to chances, this time Stiepermann found Buendia who drove into the Palace area and unleashed a low drive that was well saved by Guaita low to his left on 40 minutes. Moments later, Stiepermann was again involved as Pukki exchanged passes with the German, but Kelly got a pivotal foot on the ball across to take it away from the strikers' path.
The half concluded with more dominance from City but they were unable to captilise on their chances. The Palace faithful began to get agitated at their side as they continually gifted possession to the away side.
It was the Eagles who began proceedings the sharper after the break, with a lack of City pressure allowing Gary Cahill to find Ayew who fed McArthur but his shot was blasted over the bar.
Periods in games are critical in this division, with moments swinging the pendulum from one side to the other. At current, City don't possess the nous required to navigate those periods successfully, conceding in the opponent's spell of dominance but failing to make their own count.
As the away supporters roared, yet more sights of goal passed for City.
Cantwell shifted the ball onto his right foot but couldn't generate the power to trouble the goalkeeper on 57 minutes.
Josip Drmic's introduction saw City revert to a conventional 4-4-2 shape in possession, the Swiss providing the physicality and Pukki's bringing the willingness to run beyond.
A lull was evident at this point, with Palace holding their 1-0 lead and City unable to break them down despite plenty of huff and puff.
80 minutes and City's approach became seriously disjointed - their approach had descended into hopeful long passes. Palace were in complete control, retaining possession and frustrating the Canaries.
Andros Townsend provided the hosts with another dimension, causing havoc down the right-hand side. His cross on 81 minutes found the head of Zaha only for the Ivory Coast international to scoop his effort over the bar.
Still, Norwich probed. Palace comfortably sitting behind the ball in two banks of four, the game would now come down to guile and whether City had enough to unlock the Palace door.
The game was sealed after Amadou was brushed off all too easily by Zaha who found Townsend who cooly dispatched past McGovern to ensure the three points would be Palace's.
Endeavour without convinction - that was the story of another difficult trip on the road for the Canaries.
- Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Kelly, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic (c), Kouyate (Townsend 69), McArthur (McCarthy 79); Schlupp, Zaha; Ayew (Meyer 90) (subs not used) Hennessey, Dann, Tomkins, Meyer, Benteke
- Bookings: Ayew, Schlupp
- Goals: Milivojevic (22), Townsend (90+2)
- Norwich: (4-2-3-1): Fahrmann (McGovern 23); Aarons, Godfrey (c), Amadou, Lewis; Leitner, McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann (Drmic 66), Cantwell (Roberts 80); Pukki (subs not used) Byram, Hanley, Srbeny, Idah
- Bookings: Stiepermann
- Goals: None
- Added on time: 3 mins/ 5 mins
- Referee: Jonathan Moss (Yorks)