Norwich City 3 Newcastle United 1
- Stuart Attwell
Newcastle United suffered a second straight defeat in the Premier League as a Teemu Pukki hat-trick secured a comfortable victory for Norwich City.
It was no less than the newly-promoted side deserved, with the Canaries on top for long periods. Though United should have struck first through frontman Joelinton, they offered relatively little after falling behind to Pukki’s first – a sweetly-struck volley from just inside the penalty area.
Pukki notched his and Norwich’s second shortly after the hour-mark, before the Finnish international secured the match ball with a quarter of an hour remaining to end the game as a contest. Indeed, by the time Jonjo Shelvey pulled a goal back for Newcastle in injury time, the damage had long been done.
Roared on by a vociferous home crowd – witnessing their first top-flight game at Carrow Road for more than three years – Norwich piled the pressure on the Magpies early doors. They nearly took the lead five minutes in through Todd Cantwell, who saw a close-range strike kept out by Martin Dúbravka following Pukki’s cutback. Pukki himself came close with the Canaries’ next attack, dragging a right-footed effort wide of the far post after gathering Marco Stiepermann’s low cross.
It was an unlikely figure, Emil Krafth, who was presented with United’s first opportunity of the game. Making his debut for the club, the Swedish right back picked up Matt Ritchie’s cross at the back post, only to fire wildly over the top from a good position. The Magpies were soon forced to withstand another scare, though, as Pukki brought a parry out of Dúbravka with Norwich again looking threatening down the visitors’ left.
Having been under the cosh for much of the opening 25 minutes, United ought to have broken the deadlock themselves, with another summer recruit, Joelinton, only able to guide Isaac Hayden’s inch-perfect cross wide of the target with a header from an unmarked position.
And, typically, Norwich swiftly made Steve Bruce’s side pay. United managed to deal with a Canaries corner from the right but they had nobody watching Pukki at the far post as Emiliano Buendía swung the ball back in, with the frontman brilliantly volleying home – despite Dúbravka’s best efforts.
Fabian Schär almost equalised for Newcastle before the half-time whistle, forcing Magpies old boy Tim Krul into a fine stop after running onto Shelvey’s searching ball into the danger area. In truth, though, they could have few complaints about trailing at the break.
United got off to a reasonable start after the interval though it wasn’t until the hour mark that they created anything clear-cut, with Krul making a brilliant save to deny Paul Dummett after the defender got a glancing touch to Ritchie’s corner. But, as was the case with Norwich’s opener, no sooner had the Magpies gone close at one end that they found themselves conceding at the other. Pukki was clinical once more, gathering Cantwell’s pass just inside the penalty area before engineering space from which to shoot and drilling the ball into the near corner.
And, with 15 minutes to play, the Finn completed his hat-trick. It was far too easy for Norwich, with Stiepermann splitting the Magpies’ defence open with a threaded pass, which Cantwell held up for Pukki. The former Sevilla and Celtic striker rounded Krafth before duly slotting the ball past Dúbravka.
The only sort of positive from a United perspective came at the death, as Shelvey picked out the far corner of the net to register the Magpies’ first Premier League goal of the campaign. That, however, was scant consolation on a day to forget in the Norfolk sunshine.