Vrancic 27 (pen),
Coventry City F.C
Late heartbreak for injury-plagued City as Biamou's late strike rescues a point for Coventry
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Maxime Biamou's late equaliser prevented Norwich City from recording an important win at Carrow Road.
The injury-plagued Canaries were without 12 members of their first-team squad and almost claimed victory before late heartbreak after they failed to clear their lines from a cross.
Mario Vrancic put City ahead from the penalty spot after Przemek Placheta was brought down by Coventry keeper Ben Wilson in the area. Vrancic confidently dispatched down the middle to secure all three points for Daniel Farke's men.
The full extent of the Canaries injury crisis was drastically exposed in the team news, with Farke only able to name five substitutes. Christoph Zimmermann was the only regular first-team option on the bench.
Academy players Daniel Barden, Andrew Omobamidele, Reece McAlear, Tyrese Omotoye and Tom Dickson-Peters took their places amongst the substitutes. Emi Buendia was serving his suspension following his dismissal against Stoke City in midweek, and Lukas Rupp wasn't deemed fit enough to make the bench.
Tim Krul's thigh strain handed Michael McGovern a chance to prove his worth in goal and Marco Stiepermann was chosen as City's makeshift striker after they saw top-goalscorer Teemu Pukki ruled out with a minor hamstring strain.
Sky Blues boss Mark Robins was without Canaries loan export Sam McCallum who was ineligible to face his parent club. Coventry made five changes from their win over Cardiff City on Wednesday. Former City keeper Lee Camp made the bench.
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Both sides observed a minute's silence to honour football legend Diego Maradona who sadly passed away earlier this week at the age of 60.
The Canaries placed a greater onus on retaining possession in their quest to claim control of the fixture in the opening 10 minutes, without necessarily making inroads forwards.
It was the visitors who had the first real chance of the game. Fankaty Dabo exchanged passes with Callum O'Hare and found himself in space on the right. His cross found the unmarked Jamie Allen, who should have got his header on target.
Thereafter, it was City who had a flurry of opportunities to take the lead.
Stiepermann was sent racing through on goal by Josh Martin and looked to lob the goalkeeper, only for Wilson to stand firm and produce a smart save.
Moments later, Jacob Sorensen's quick feet allowed Ollie Skipp to hit the byline and cross. His cutback fell kindly to Martin, but the youngster saw his effort saved by Wilson.
The rebound fell kindly for Przemek Placheta but the Sky Blues keeper denied him from close range. From the same passage of play, Max Aarons skipped past Ryan Giles and unleashed a fierce effort at goal, only for Wilson to save.
After the heroics produced by Wilson minutes before, it was the goalkeeper who conceded a penalty after referee Keith Stroud judged that Placheta had beaten him to the ball inside the area, much to the visitor's protests.
Vrancic stepped up to confidently dispatch the spot-kick down the middle and put the Canaries in front.
McGovern found himself with his heart in his mouth after juggling a routine catch and providing a sniff of a chance to the visitors. Fortunately for the Canaries, all of the Sky Blues options in the box had turned their backs - much to Robins frustration.
Coventry were getting joy exploiting the pace of Placheta in the early stages of the second period. The Polish international neatly exchanged passes with Vrancic before delivering a cross designed for Martin. The winger failed to control the ball and the attack subsequently broke down.
Coventry were coming increasingly into the fixture. A counter-attack saw Callum O'Hare played through in the right-hand side of the penalty area. His fierce shot was on-target, but McGovern did well to turn it wide for a corner.
The Sky Blues five substitutes did tip the balance of the fixture, with the visitors enjoying more possession and territory. Gustavo Hamer's corner was met by Tyler Walker, only for the striker to get his effort all wrong.
City went closer after Kyle McFadzean's header was pushed onto the post by McGovern's fingertips.
The Sky Blues snatched a point at the death when substitute Biamou fired into the net at the second attempt after City failed to clear a cross.
The Canaries saw Aarons limp out of the game late-on with what looked like a concerning ankle injury. City travel to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town on Wednesday evening.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): McGovern; Aarons (McAlear, 90), Hanley (C), Gibson, Sorensen; Skipp, Tettey; Placheta, Vrancic, Martin (Zimmermann, 85); Stiepermann. Subs not used: Barden (GK), Omobamidele, Omotoye, Dickson-Peters
- Bookings: Sorensen (foul on Dabo, 55), Aarons (foul on Giles, 89)
- Goals: Vrancic 27 (pen)
- Coventry City (3-4-3): Wilson; Ostigard, McFadzean, Hyam; Dabo (Jobello, 77), Sheaf (Shipley, 61), Kelly (Biamou, 77), Giles; Allen (Hamer, 61), O’Hare; Bakayoko (Walker, 61). Subs not used: Camp (GK), Thompson, Rowe, Bapaga.
- Goals: Biamou 89
- Added on time: 1 min/4 mins
- Referee: Keith Stroud