Sorensen 45+2, Buendia 77
City return to Championship summit with Forest win
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
For Norwich City, this was a case of a copy and paste from their last fixture against Sheffield Wednesday - with the same result.
Once again, Nottingham Forest posed a test of patience and City displayed their quality by overcoming another side intent of making it a night of frustration. The 2-1 victory ensures the Canaries return to the summit of the Championship with a tricky double-header of away games coming up.
Jacob Sorensen's first goal for the club set Daniel Farke's men but a fortuitous goal from Anthony Knockaert ensured Chris Hughton's men scored a goal for the first time in five matches.
Emi Buendia's second-half strike saw the Canaries return to the summit of the division, this time with a three-point cushion over Bournemouth.
The Canaries were boosted by the return of a quartet of key players to the bench. Todd Cantwell, Jordan Hugill, Kieran Dowell and Kenny McLean all returned from the treatment table to give City a timely lift. Teenager Josh Martin started as he replaced the injured Przemek Placheta.
Max Aarons made his 100th appearance for the club and Christoph Zimmermann came in for the injured Ben Gibson.
Former City boss Hughton has been in charge of the two-time European champions since October but is yet to really stamp his mark on this Forest side.
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The visitors made three changes, with Tobias Figueiredo replacing Scott McKenna in central defence, Samba Sow coming in for the suspended Ryan Yates in midfield and Sammy Ameobi replacing Knockaert in attack.
City controlled the opening exchanges and faced a similar game state to that as they encountered on Saturday against Tony Pulis'. That saw creators in chief Emi Buendia and Mario Vrancic enjoy plenty of the ball.
When the Argentine was chopped down by Samba Sow on the edge of the area, the responsibility fell to Vrancic from the resulting free-kick. The Bosnian failed to get his effort on target on 7 minutes.
The next chance that fell the hosts' way landed to Buendia. Martin slipped the midfielder into the box on the left-hand side but his shot was blocked by Figueiredo. From the resulting corner, Vrancic stung the hands of Samba Sow with a fierce drive from outside the area.
City's pressure continued, this time it was Buendia who tested Samba after curling an effort at goal on 21 minutes. The Argentine scuffed his initial effort but it allowed him to shoot on his left, which was palmed away by the Forest keeper.
The visitors did possess a threat on the counter, with Sammy Ameobi's physicality at the back post causing problems. The winger rose above Aarons to flick Cyrus Christie's delivery just wide of the post.
A mistake from Sorensen nearly gifted Forest the opening goal. Joe Lolley seized upon the loose ball and fired a low effort towards goal. Michael McGovern was beaten all ends up only for the post to come to the Canaries rescue.
City's offensive trio behind Teemu Pukki were occupying spaces between the lines and a lofted pass by Martin was nearly perfect for the Finn, only for Harry Arter to intervene and nod it behind for a corner.
On the cusp of half-time, City did get their breakthrough courtesy of a Sorensen volley.
Some nice play down the left saw the Dane slot Stiepermann through. His cross was cleared by Arter but he could only divert his header into the path of Sorensen, who powerfully smashed his effort into the net.
City had a golden opportunity to make it two on 53 minutes after Stiepermann's snapshot was saved by Samba. The rebound fell kindly for Pukki to collect and find Buendia, who spun superbly but couldn't keep his balance to get a shot at goal.
Buendia's concession of a free-kick after a foul on Cafu in the 60th minute allowed Lolley to strike a free-kick at goal. The winger's effort was well-struck but failed to hit the target.
Despite being without a goal in their last five games, Forest did strike through substitute Knockaert. Just two minutes after replacing Arter, the on-loan Fulham midfielder's cross-cum-shot curled beyond McGovern and into the net.
Todd Cantwell's introduction injected some fresh impetus into the City attack and it was his clever play that saw Buendia's strike from the edge of the area deflect into the net off the head of Forest defender Joe Worrall.
Sorensen's smart pass found the City academy graduate in the area. He held off the attentions of the visitors' defence before teeing up Buendia to convert.
A nervy period prior to the final whistle ensued, with Forest throwing the kitchen sink at City's defence. Cross after cross was met with several decisive clearances.
Farke's side were second best in the second period, but once again they found a way to emerge as victors. As City's boss orchestrated the waves in front of the 2,000 supporters, behind the numerous face masks were wry smiles. They had managed to do it again.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): McGovern; Aarons, Hanley (C), Zimmermann, Sorensen; Skipp, Vrancic; Buendia (McLean, 82), Stiepermann (Cantwell, 76), Martin (Tettey, 76); Pukki (Omotoye, 90+3). Subs not used: Barden (GK), Omobamidele, Dowell, Hugill
- Bookings: Skipp (foul on Christie, 54), Buendia (foul on Cafu, 59), Cantwell (foul on Ribeiro, 87)
- Goals: Sorensen 45+2, Buendia 77
- Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Samba; Christie (Jenkinson, 86), Worrall (C), Figueiredo, Ribeiro; Cafu, Sow (Mighten, 86), Arter (Knockaert, 71); Lolley, Taylor (Guerrero, 63), Ameobi. Subs not used: Smith (GK), Soh, Dawson, Ioannou, Swan
- Bookings: Sow (foul on Martin, 27)
- Goals: Knockaert 73
- Added on time: 2 mins/ 4 mins
- Attendence: 2,000
- Referee: Darren Bond