Birmingham news Blues vs Norwich player ratings: Gardner shines but Pukki wins it PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Birmingham City turned in a much-improved home performance but the result refused to change as Norwich continued their winning run with a 3-1 victory
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Birmingham City backed up their win at Sheffield Wednesday with a commendable display against Nowich - but no points. Instead the Championship leaders took all three and continued their march to promotion with a clinical display built around the finishing of Teemu Pukki. The Finn scored twice, missed a penalty and proved the difference in an entertaining encouter in which Blues more than played their part. Unfortunately for them Ivan Sanchez's equaliser, his second of the season, might have given his team hope of a surprise result - but that was all it was. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will auto-play soon8Cancel Play now Aitor Karanka kept faith with the team which won at Sheffield Wednesday and was rewarded with a superb first half performance - but unfortunately only a 1-1 half time scoreline. Blues should have been ahead after just two minutes when Jeremie Bela lifted a free kick from the right to Gary Gardner coming round the back. The midfielder, who was otherwise really impressive, failed to apply the necessary touch from ten yards. Ivan Sunjic blazed over from the D in the sixth minute and in the 21st Gardner’s downward header from Sanchez’s corner was deflected behind. Emiliano Buendia of Norwich City battles for possession with Gary Gardner of Birmingham City (Image: Getty) So when Norwich took the lead just before the half hour it was totally against the run of play. Pukki was slipped into the box and lashed a shot past Neil Etheridge to score for the fourth game in a row. Blues came straight back and Maxime Colin clattered in a 25-yard volley that Tim Krul couldn’t hold. The visitors should have landed a sickening body blow with eight minutes to play in the half. Todd Cantwell of Norwich City battles for possession with Rakeem Harper of Birmingham City (Image: Getty) Etheridge brought down Todd Cantwell affording Pukki the chance to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot. The Blues goalkeeper atoned and beat the Finn’s shot away. Seconds later Karanka’s team was level after Scott Hogan won the ball back upfield and passed into the middle where Sanchez’s drive was blocked by Krul. The Spaniard reacted quickest to poke home the rebound. Hogan should have put the hosts in front just before the break after being released by Gardner. One of one with Krul he blazed over. Sign up to our Birmingham City newsletter for the latest news and comment Why should you sign up? In our daily Birmingham City bulletin, we'll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans. How do you sign up? It's easy and only takes seconds. Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit sign up. And that's it, you're all set. You can also sign up here. If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters - but we don't think you'll want to. And what's more, it's absolutely free! You can also get all the latest updates by following us on social media here Facebook and Twitter. We also have a free app which you can download. It is always up-to-date with the latest news from across the region. Google Play Store and App Store The Canaries were far more assertive at the start of the second half and pushed Blues back. Clarke-Salter had to sweep up behind Harlee Dean after Todd Cantwell got to the bye-line and Etheridge saved Emi Buendia's long-range header. Blues' first opening came when Hogan forced an errant pass and Sunjic squared for Bela. Instead of crossing to one of the three team-mates in the box Bela optimistically swung in a shot from the corner of the box which was straight at Krul. Norwich got their winner with a quarter of an hour to go. Buendia shot was half blocked by Dean but the ball broke to Pukki who was free in the box to poke home. Oliver Skipp added insult to injury with a late goal after Mikel San Jose misjudged a bouncing ball deep in added time. STARTING FORMATION 4-1-4-1 PLAYERS ETHERIDGE 7 Beaten by a good hit by Pukki but saved his poor spot kick well and an important early block from McLean.
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. Exposed for the winner. COLIN 6 Plenty to think about in the first half as Norwich had some joy down his side. Unable to contribute much going forward but not too bad a display. DEAN 7 Strong in the air, decisive in the tackle and good on the ball. Another decent display backing up his effort at Hillsborough. CLARKE-SALTER 7.5 Another good showing from the Chelsea defender. His positional sense and cover play were first rate. Such a positive return to the starting line-up.
Ivan Sanchez of Birmingham City celebrates with teammates after scoring
PEDERSEN 7.5 His best game for months. Set the tone with an early, surging run and kept it up. Really good in the air and studious against Buendia. HARPER 7 Good in possession, quick to second balls and played with his head up. Taken off with a quarter of the game to play after another impressive showing. SANCHEZ 6.5 A good first half lit up by his second goal of the season. The strike was decent, the reaction was even better. More please. SUNJIC 6 Gave away his fouls, did his closing down and worked hard for his team. Good effort from the Croat.
Emiliano Buendia of Norwich City is tackled by Ivan Sunjic of Birmingham City
GARDNER 8* Irrpressible in the first half, should have scored early on, had one assist, might have had two . Ran himself into the ground before going off late on. BELA 6.5 Excellent set-piece delivery and caused Aarons plenty of first half problems. Not as influential in the second period. HOGAN 7 Perpetual motion on the press, which contributed to Sanchez's goal. Really should have put Blues 2-1 up though. Never stopped running. SUBSTITUTES San Jose (for Harper, 68) 5 Sloppy Valery (for Sunjic, 75) N/A Jutkiewicz (for Gardner, 83) N/A Roberts (for Bela, 83) N/A Not used: Prieto, Roberts, Friend, McGree, Leko, Halilovic. OPPOSITION NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Zimmerman, Giannoulis; Skipp, McLean; Buendia (Sorensen 90+4), Vrancic (Hernandez 63 (Hugill 90+4)), Cantwell (Rupp 89); Pukki (Idah 89) Not used: Barden, Quintilla, Tettey, Dowell. GOALS BLUES: Sanchez (38) NORWICH: Pukki (26, 75), Skipp (90+5) REFEREE: Oliver Langford The commenting system on BirminghamLive has undergone an overhaul and we want to get even closer to what you're thinking by getting your comments and feedback on all of our stories, particularly where Blues debates are concerned. Let us know how you rated the players by having your say in the comments section below.
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