Norwich City stretched their unbeaten run to five games in the Championship with a comprehensive victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Story of the match
The gulf in class was there for all to see as Norwich routed Bristol City 3-1. Things got off to the perfect start for the Canaries after Teemu Pukki latched on to a brilliant through ball from Marco Steipermann, before smashing it past Daniel Bentley in the seventh minute.
Just seven minutes later, Pukki made it 2-0 with his second of the afternoon after Jacob Lungi Sorensen's eye of the needle pass split the Robins defence perfectly for the Finn to run on to and dispatch his shot past Bentley again.
The home side pulled one back shortly after the restart as Callum O'Dowda and Jamie Paterson combined but the latter's tame shot was parried by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul. Paterson got the ball back and chipped it to the back post, where Jack Hunt headed in calmly as the Norwich defence scrambled.
On the stroke of half time, Emiliano Buendia restored the away side's two goal advantage as a long, diagonal pass from Ben Gibson was brought down expertly by the Argentinian and slotted home.
The second half was a much tighter affair and Bristol City looked more confident going forward and comfortable in possession. Chris Martin almost reduced the deficit with a beautiful long range, curling effort in the 59th minute, but it rattled the post with Tim Krul well beaten in the Norwich goal.
With 15 minutes remaining, the Robins were given a golden opportunity to pull a goal back after Tomas Kalas was dragged down in the box giving the home side a penalty. Nakhi Wells was the man to step up for the spot kick, and Tim Krul did all he could to get in the striker's head with some words before he stepped up. It seemed to work as Wells attempted a Panenka but chipped the ball well over the crossbar.
Buendia then had another opportunity to add to his tally for the day, but after an excellent first touch to bring down Przemyslaw Placheta's ball in from the left, his shot on the turn was well saved by Bentley.
Relegation from the Premier League doesn't seem to be weighing too much on the shoulders of the Norwich players. This was a classy display, cool and calm, yet ruthless in front of goal. The key to this season was always going to come down to which players they could hang on to after the transfer window and retaining Teemu Pukki, and Emiliano Buendia, in particular, will definitely help in their quest for promotion.
Bristol City grew into the game and had chances too, probing the weaknesses of the Norwich backline when possible, and maybe with a little more luck they could have picked up a point from this game, but that would have been very harsh on Norwich.
The penalty could have set up a nervy finish for Norwich, but questions but be raised about Nakhi Wells choice of trying to chip the goalkeeper from the spot at 3-1 down. It was an odd decision from the striker, arrogant in some ways, and surely one which Dean Holden will want to speak to him about. Tim Krul, however, did have a lot to say in the build up before Wells' penalty. Whatever was said seemed to work, the goalkeeper has a history of getting into the head of players before penalties.
Bristol City: Bentley, Vyner, Kalas, Moore, Hunt, O'Dowda, Brunt, Paterson, Dasilva, Wells, Martin
Subs: Nagy, Diedhiou, O'Leary, Semenyo, Rowe, Bakinson, Massengo
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Sorenson, Skipp, Rupp, Buendia, Stiepermann, Placheta, Pukki
Subs: Vranscic, Hugill, Cantwell, McLean, Mumba, Tettey, McGovern