Norwich’s play-off hopes dented by Swansea drubbing
Norwich’s faltering bid to make the Championship play-offs suffered a potentially fatal blow when they were beaten 3-0 by in-form Swansea at Carrow Road.
The Canaries were forced to play for over 50 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Sam McCallum for a professional foul but were already two down by then after well-taken headers from Joel Latibeaudiere and Josh Cullen.
Swansea went on to dominate the second period, adding a third goal through Oliver Ntcham, to join Norwich on 62 points, although with just two games to play their promotion hopes are, like their hosts, slim to say the least.
It was a fourth home game without scoring for Norwich and with just one win in eight they were booed off the pitch at the end, with their fans calling for the head of sporting director Stuart Webber as the match went from bad to worse for their side.
After an even start to the game, with few clear-cut openings at either end, Swansea stunned their hosts by opening the scoring after 23 minutes.
Goalkeeper Angus Gunn did well to deny Cullen with an outstretched leg after being slipped in by Ntcham but Norwich’s relief was shortlived as Ryan Manning’s corner was nodded home with ease by an unmarked Latibeaudiere.
The Swans doubled their advantage six minutes before the break after another good delivery from Manning, this time from the left flank.
After looking as though he was being blocked out by a home defender, Manning somehow managed to hang up a cross to the back post where Cullen outjumped McCallum to nod home from virtually on the goalline.
Worse was to follow for the hosts a couple of minutes later when McCallum was shown a red card for hauling down Cullen as the Swansea man bore down on goal after more slack defending.
Joel Piroe’s free-kick came to nothing but the Swans nearly made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time when Manning fired inches wide after being picked out by Piroe’s superb diagonal pass.
Swansea completely dominated the possession against Norwich’s 10 men during the early stages of the second half, without ever troubling Gunn.
The game resembled a training session at times, with the hosts vainly chasing the ball, and the frustration of the home fans increased further when Ntcham made it 3-0 on 64 minutes.
The powerful midfielder picked up the ball just outside the box and outmuscled two home defenders before coolly slipping the ball past an exposed Gunn.
There was a brief moment of alarm for Swansea when Matt Grimes brought down Josh Sargent after he broke clear on the left but with other defenders covering referee David Webb decided a yellow card was sufficient punishment.
The Canaries had more of the ball in the closing stages as their opponents took their foot of the pedal but the visitors comfortably saw out the game to maintain their impressive end-of-season form.
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