Norwich City 1-0 Birmingham City: A late Vrancic strike seals Canaries all three points
NORWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Mario Vrancic of Norwich City celebrates with Adam Idah after scoring his team's first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Norwich City and Birmingham City at Carrow Road on October 20, 2020 in Norwich, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

An 87th minute Mario Vrancic goal secured a 1-0 Norwich City victory against ten men Birmingham City at Carrow Road.

In a game where the Canaries dominated possession, it was tough to believe that the score line remained goalless approaching the final whistle.

Despite poor finishing from midfielder Todd Cantwell, the yellow's still managed to secure their first home win since February alongside the victory being their second successive one in the Championship.

Story of the match

It was the hosts who dominated early procedures of the game. Half chances from Jordan Hugill and Emi Buendia failed to test the goalkeeper but were both products of convincingly controlling possession for the opening ten minutes.

Norwich continued to pressure the visitors as a Lukas Rupp long shot forced Neil Etheridge into his first save, one that was comfortable albeit.

Hugill squandered his second opportunity of the evening in the 23rd minute after completely mishitting a volley just inside the box. It was a chance that the striker really should have put on target.

Chances became slim and the game fell into a state of the Canaries holding the ball without creating any opportunities, this was until the 37th minute.

It was Cantwell who wasted these golden chances, not to mention they were only in the space of a couple of minutes. The first was set up by a Teemu Pukki pass across the face of goal which the English midfielder failed to strike on target. The second was due to selfish behaviour as Cantwell found himself one-on-one with multiple teammates to square the ball too. Instead he went for glory and fired his attempt straight at the keeper.

The halftime whistle blew on a forgettable half of football. Norwich could boast about their 76% possession, but only two shots on target from 13 attempts belittled any potential positive reviews.

For Birmingham, it was a half that lacked an attempt on goal, but one they may be pleased with considering the score line still read 0-0.

The story of the first half continued into the second as Hugill skyed an opportunity just minutes after kick-off.

Another 15 minutes passed, and the story-line stayed the same, the Canaries continued to control the ball but did not create anything of danger. A half chance from Pukki was all they had to show for their continued domination.

Birmingham finally registered their first shot on target in the 61st minute through Jeremie Bela. The winger managed to power a shot straight at Tim Krul following some silky skill on the edge of the box, nothing that ever looked like beating the dutchman, however.

Cantwell finally buried a chance just seconds later, only to be greeted by a correct offside call. The midfielder just could not catch a break.

The game was rapidly approaching the final ten minutes, Daniel Farke had bought on Adam Idah to try and give his side that extra push but, alas, it came to no prevail.

It was Canaries captain Grant Hanley who almost clinched the all-important goal, a header from a corner flew just wide of the post. It would have been a spectacular way to score only his second goal in two years.

The game was entering the final five minutes and looked destined to finish a stale-mate; however, a second yellow card for Birmingham midfielder Adam Clayton blew some second wind into the Canaries depleted wings.

And they capitalised. Substitute Vrancic found the bottom corner from outside of the box with a powerful low driven effort. Sounds of relief exploded from the Norwich bench as they knew with just minutes to go the three points had been secured.

Takeaways

Norwich need to become more clinical, specifically Todd Cantwell.

The Englishmen had countless opportunities to bury the tie, but each and every time he failed to convert.

For a man who was linked with clubs such as Liverpool in the summer, it is hard to believe he did not get at least one goal tonight.

A huge learning curve for the youngster as his career continues to develop.

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