Norwich City 1-0 AFC Bournemouth - Canaries win crunch relegation clash courtesy of Teemu Pukki’s penalty
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Teemu Pukki’s penalty ensured Norwich City recorded their first home victory since September as they beat AFC Bournemouth 1-0 at Carrow Road.
Steve Cook and Ben Godfrey were sent off in either half as the game finished with both sides having 10 players on the pitch.
Pukki dispatched a penalty after 33 minutes following Cook's cynical handball inside his area after Ondrej Duda looked certain to score from range.
New signings Duda and Lukas Rupp were both involved in Daniel Farke's matchday squad for the first time, with the Slovakian starting and the German named amongst the substitutes.
Godfrey and Teemu Pukki returned to the starting XI in place of Grant Hanley and Adam Idah respectively.
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Eddie Howe's side had been in freefall prior to this fixture, with the 42-year-old looking to halt their dive down the table with victory at Carrow Road.
The Cherries boss made two changes to his side, with left-back Diego Rico and Philip Billing returning to Howe's team as they looked to arrest their poor form.
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The opening exchanges were nervy as both sides sought a period of possession to put themselves in the ascendancy. Bournemouth were pressing with intent as City looked to work an opening through patient build-up play.
Howe's men worked the first two opportunities of the game, with Callum Wilson meeting Ryan Fraser's cross in the opening five minutes, but he could only direct it into Tim Krul's gloves.
Billing benefitted from Sam Byram's stray pass and set his sights from range, only to see his effort sail over the bar.
City's possession was beginning to prove fruitful, as Duda swept the ball into the path of the on-rushing Aarons. The England Under-21 international stood his cross up towards the back post, but Buendia could only head wide of the target.
The Canaries were enjoying sustained spells of possession inside the Cherries half, but the visitors stood firm to prevent City's technical midfield operators from playing threaded passes through their back line.
In the 27th minute, Buendia played in Aarons down the right, who skipped past Billing before drilling a cross into the area. Bournemouth scrambled clear but it fell to Alex Tettey on the edge of the box, he hit a volley wide from outside the area.
Duda's impact was being felt in City's offensive phases of play, and it was the Slovakian who played a major part in the Canaries opening goal.
Todd Cantwell played a pass through for Pukki to race onto, the Finn was charged down but the ball fell to Duda, who looked to curl the ball into an empty net, only for Cook to handle deliberately to deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
VAR intervened and took time over the decision, but it was upheld. Pukki placed the ball onto the spot and struck it sweetly into the net from 12 yards.
The opening exchanges of the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with City looking to work opportunities. Duda robbed Simon Francis of the ball before Kenny McLean teed up Buendia, but the Argentine's curled effort was wayward.
Set-pieces have been an Achilles heel for Farke's men all season and had it have not been for a Godfrey block, then Nathan Ake would have converted from close-range.
Fraser was picked out down the left and his cross nearly fell for Wilson inside the area, but the England international slipped and squandered the chance.
City's search for the killer second goal continued, with the ever influential Buendia slotting Pukki through on goal. The Finn's uncharacteristically lacked precision, and his effort was gathered easily by Ramsdale.
In the 72nd minute, Buendia intercepted a pass inside Bournemouth's half, Aarons' low cross from the right eventually fell to Duda. The Slovakian stabbed the ball towards goal, but the effort was straight at Ramsdale.
Buendia danced through the Cherries defence soon after, but saw his effort saved well by Ramsdale. City were hoping their failure to convert chances wouldn't prove costly.
VAR was involved again soon after, with Wilson on the receiving end of a rash challenge from Godfrey. Paul Tierney issued a yellow card before VAR advised him to check the pitch-side monitor, Tierney overturned the decision and Godfrey was sent off.
Bournemouth pushed for an equaliser and Wilson intelligently won a free-kick after a challenge from Christoph Zimmermann. Fraser clipped the ball onto the head of Ake, but his header was saved well by Krul.
City did hang on, and upon the full-time whistle, Carrow Road was a cauldron of belief. It may be some task that the Canaries have on their hands to ensure survival, but one characteristic they possess in abundance is fight.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram; Tettey (C), McLean; Buendia (Rupp, 90), Duda (Hanley, 78), Cantwell; Pukki (Drmic, 84). Subs not used: Fahrmann (GK), Lewis, Trybull, Hernandez
- Bookings: Buendia, Krul
- Red Card: Godfrey
- Goals: Pukki 33 (pen)
- AFC Bournemouth (4-3-3): Travers; Smith, Cook (C), Ake, Rico; Harry Wilson (Francis, 35), Gosling (Cook, 86), Lerma (Solanke, 78), Billing, Fraser, Wilson. Subs not used: Boruc (GK), Simpson, Surman, Cook, Surridge
- Bookings: Smith
- Red Card: Cook
- Goals: None
- Added on time: 2 mins/ 5 mins
- Attendance: 26, 781
- Referee: Paul Tierney
- VAR: Jonathan Moss