Pukki scores again as City win first friendly against Darmstadt
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Teemu Pukki was on target again as Norwich City beat Darmstadt 3-2 in the first of today’s friendly matches, as the Canaries made it four wins from four pre-season games.
In the first of back-to-back friendly games against the Lilies at City’s training base in Marienfeld, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, Alex Tettey was again used in central defence with Grant Hanley working his way back to fitness and Timm Klose nursing a knock.
Summer signings Xavi Quintilla, Oliver Skipp, Kieran Dowell and Przemyslaw Placheta were all starting as well.
The Canaries took the lead in the eighth minute after good work from Dowell to close down Darmstadt keeper Florian Stritzel, with the ball rebounding kindly to allow Placheta to slot the ball into an empty net.
The German side - who finished fifth in Bundesliga Two last season - almost responded within two minutes as Marvin Mehlem was played into the right channel and fired low across Tim Krul only to hit the post.
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Pukki made it 2-0 in the 24th minute, adding to his first goal of pre-season during the 2-0 win over Dynamo Dresden on Wednesday, as he calmly side-footed past the advancing keeper into the bottom-right corner after a pinpoint cross from left-back Quintilla.
Fabian Schnellhardt fired a swerving shot just over from 25 yards in the 30th minute and soon after striker Serdar Dursun hit the post after holding off Ben Godfrey to get his shot away on the turn - but Norwich kept hold of their 2-0 lead until half-time.
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Josh Martin was the only City change at the break and just before the hour mark the 18-year-old had his third goal of pre-season, after Marco Stiepermann had been tripped 25 yards from goal, just to the left of the D.
Martin was left to line up the shot by his team-mates and their faith in the youngster was rewarded as he thumped a dipping shot over the wall, with the pace of the shot beating the sprawling keeper.
City were yet to concede during pre-season but Krul - ahead of joining up with the Holland squad for the first time since 2015 - had to make a fine save as Mehlem rolled away from Godfrey in the box and fired towards the top corner, only for Krul to stick out a strong left hand and tip the ball over his bar.
Pukki should have had another in the 74th minute, as Martin exchanged a one-two with Max Aarons, but the Finn could only poke the right-back’s low cross beyond the far post.
A first concession of pre-season did arrive though, as a Godfrey back-pass bobbled and forced Krul into a scuffed clearance, which Darmstadt pounced on to allow Dursun to flick the ball past City’s exposed number one.
Darmstadt pulled another back with the final touch of the game, as Braydon Manu got away from Quintilla on City’s left and his fine cross cut out Godfrey and was nodded in from close range at the near post by Dursun.
The victory continued building momentum for City ahead of next Saturday’s League Cup first round tie at Luton Town, when Daniel Farke will be without 13 players due to international action - with a record of 14 goals scored and two conceded during four pre-season games so far.
CITY (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Tettey (C), Godfrey, Quintilla; Skipp, McLean; Dowell (Martin 46), Stiepermann (Vrancic 76), Placheta; Pukki (Hugill 76)
GOALS: Placheta (8), Pukki (24), Martin (61)