Stiepermann strike delivers crucial win over high-flying Swansea City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City left it late at Carrow Road again to beat high-flying Swansea City, with Marco Stiepermann’s strike in the 82-minute proving the difference between the sides.
The Canaries had substitute Bali Mumba to thank for breaking the deadlock, with the teenager injecting some real offensive quality after replacing Jacob Sorensen in the second half. His cross found Emi Buendia and his lay-off was rifled in by Steipermann.
Despite the bloated injury bulletin delivered by Daniel Farke on Friday, only two changes were made from the side who drew with Millwall in midweek.
The influential Lukas Rupp was replaced by Kenny McLean whilst Ben Gibson missed out with a tightness in his back, that allowed Christoph Zimmermann to make his first start since the defeat to Derby County last month.
Todd Cantwell was also absence with an ankle knock, with Xavi Quintilla yet to shake off the hip flexor injury that has ruled him out of action for the last three matches.
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Steve Cooper made one change to his side as Bristol City loanee Kasey Palmer replaced Yan Dhanda in the attacking midfield position. Former Canaries trio Ryan Bennett, Korey Smith and Kyle Naughton all started for the visitors.
The first major opportunity of the game fell to the Canaries. Max Aarons’ drive to the byline was impressive and his cutback fell kindly for Przemek Placheta, but his shot from inside the box was blocked by Connor Roberts.
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City began the brighter, with Buendia hitting two free-kicks into the wall and then a slick spell of possession saw Ollie Skipp play in Teemu Pukki, but his snapshot didn’t trouble Freddie Woodman.
Andre Ayew was described by Cooper as being the Swans ‘main man’ prior to this fixture, and it through the Ghanaian that the visitors nearly took the lead. Roberts corner was whipped in and met by Ayew, who saw his header crash against the post.
The pressure continued; Smith worked his way into the box but saw his shot blocked by Grant Hanley. City had the Scot to thank again when Ayew’s shot was blocked moments after.
Swansea made the game scrappy thereafter but both sides technical proficiency helped them to construct dangerous offensive passages of play. Jamal Lowe’s pace was causing problems and his low shot from the left side of the box was tipped wide by Tim Krul.
Despite struggling to create any noticable chances in the first period, City had a great one to take the lead courtesy of Pukki. Skipp’s tackle won back possession for the Canaries and he found Stiepermann. The German’s flicked pass to Buendia allowed him to slot in the Finnish international but Roberts recovered well to tackle.
Swansea’s formation change at the break allowed them to defend their box tighter and offered them more offensively, with Lowe nearly opening the scoring. He beat Zimmermann and was bearing down on goal. His shot was straight at Krul, who saved well.
The visitors pressure continued and the Welsh side felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Aarons’ heavy touch allowed Jake Bidwell to capitalise and the left-back threw himself to the fall, but Darren England decided against pointing to the spot.
The Canaries had Krul to thank again after the Dutch international denied Lowe’s effort from the edge of the box. The former Wigan Athletic man combined with Ayew before unleashing a fierce effort at goal, only for City’s keeper to beat it away.
Bali Mumba’s introduction offered City a fresh injection of pace down the left. He got to the byline before cutting back to Pukki, but his shot was blocked.
Good work from the 19-year-old helped City break the deadlock. His mazy run down the left resulted in a pass into Buendia, he teed up Stiepermann who curled the ball beyond Woodman and into the net.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley (C), Zimmermann, Sorensen (Mumba, 68); Skipp, McLean; Buendia (Tettey, 90), Stiepermann, Placheta (Martin, 68); Pukki. Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Vrancic, Idah, Hugill
- Bookings: Aarons (time wasting, 88)
- Goals: Stiepermann 84
- Swansea City (3-4-1-2): Woodman; Naughton (Grimes, 45), Bennett, Guehi; Roberts, Fulton (Dhanda, 86), Smith, Bidwell; Palmer (Gyokeres, 59); Ayew (C), Lowe. Subs not used: Benda (GK), Latibeaudiere, Manning, Routledge
- Bookings: Guehi (foul on Pukki, 16), Naughton (foul on Aarons, 36), Bennett (foul on Pukki, 38), Fulton (foul on Stiepermann, 56), Roberts (foul on Pukki, 90)
- Goals: None
- Added on time: 1 min/ 4 mins
- Referee: Darren England