'My best partner ever' - Buendia thrilled to spark more Pukki power for Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Emi Buendia played a starring role on his return from suspension and was thrilled to help Teemu Pukki rediscover his goal-scoring touch as Norwich City beat Stoke 4-1 in an action-packed encounter.
The Argentine's two-game ban had contributed to a barren run of four matches without a goal but after a fantastic Todd Cantwell opener, Buendia's brilliant work teed up Pukki for 2-0 just before the break, to end a run of eight games without a goal from open play for the Finland star.
Dimitris Giannoulis' error allowed the Potters back into the game in the 61st minute but the Greek left-back rallied and swiftly set up Buendua to make it 3-1, before the playmaker won the penalty from which top scorer Pukki wrapped up the victory in the 80th minute, with his 13th goal of the season.
“I’m always happy when he scores, I think he is my best partner ever," said Buendia, who has enjoyed a good understanding with Pukki since both arrived at City in 2018. "I’m always looking for him, so I’m really happy for him.”
The 24-year-old had initially put the ball on the spot ahead of the penalty but explained: “I talked with Teemu and I asked if I could take it in the beginning and he said yes, but then he asked me if he could and I said ‘of course, you are the main taker, you are our goal-scorer'.
“So I’m happy and pleased for him.”
It was a seventh assist of the season for Buendia, on the same day that he scored his eighth goal of the campaign - from 23 appearances.
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He also praised Giannoulis for the response to his error, after the PAOK loanee had passed across his own penalty area and given the ball straight to Nick Powell.
The Greece international showed skill and determination to beat his marker and pick out Buendia with a cross, who slotted a volley past former Norwich number one Angus Gunn for 3-1.
“He’s a brilliant player, you can see that he is very good in attacking," the former Real Madrid trainee said of the January arrival. "He took a good first touch and then the cross was in the perfect moment.
“So I’m happy for him and also for the goal.”
The victory brought an end to a run of three league games without a win and saw the Canaries reclaim top spot, moving a point ahead of Brentford ahead of the Bees' home game against Barnsley on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a really good game for us," Buendia added. "I think the first half was very, very good, we found the solution in each action and the second half was a bit tight.
“In the beginning we made a few mistakes but we were always trying to play in our style and created a lot of chances in the whole game.
“Obviously to score four goals, I’m very happy for us.”