Report: Norwich 1 Swans 0

8th March 2019
First team

A stunning Emi Buendia strike condemned Swansea City to defeat at Norwich on a sodden night at Carrow Road.

Graham Potter’s Swans had the better of the first half against the Championship leaders and limited their hosts to a solitary shot on target in the entire game.

Unfortunately for the visitors, that proved to be the winner as Buendia lashed a left-footed drive into the net nine minutes into the second half.

It means Swansea have lost their last four away games, but Potter will surely take encouragement from the manner in which his side performed in such assured fashion against a Norwich side who have been in excellent freescoring form.

There was just one change for the Swans as Oli McBurnie was ruled out through illness, with Bersant Celina coming into the side, while Norwich were unchanged for the fourth game in a row.

Norwich has lost just one of their last 11 league games here, but it was the visitors who were the more assertive from the outset.

The Swans had numerous bright moments in the early going, with Daniel James firing a low effort at Tim Krul before then causing the Dutch keeper alarm when he blocked his attempted pass.

The winger worked Krul again in the seventh minute as he raced on to a lovely reverse ball from Wayne Routledge.

It was an encouragingly slick start, and George Byers became the latest Swan to have a crack at goal as his low, curling effort was held by a diving Krul.

Norwich did look a threat when breaking quickly, with topscorer Teemu Pukki lively, but it was the Swans who were having the better of the contest.

But they needed some superb defensive work from Routledge to snuff out a dangerous Norwich attack after the ball had fallen to Marco Stiepermann in midfield.

The ball was worked to Max Aarons in space, but the Swans winger had tracked him all the way ensure there was no route to goal.

And the Swans had a let-off on the half-hour when Onel Hernandez rolled an enticing ball along the six-yard box and beat Kristoffer Nordfeldt’s attempt to cut it out, only for there to be no yellow shirt in close attendance for what would have been a simple finish.

Seconds later, Pukki fired wide after spinning in behind the defence from a clever lay-off.

Swansea responded, Krul uncomfortably parrying after a Celina shot from distance had flicked Kenny McLean on the way towards goal.

And the first half ended with James sprinting away from his men, only to see his cross to Routledge diverted over the Canaries bar.

James’ pace again troubled Krul as the keeper proved laboured with his footwork early in the second period, before the hosts took the lead against the run of play.

Hernandez picked out Buendia on the edge of the area, and he cut onto his left foot before smashing a ferocious drive past Nordfeldt and into the net.

It was cruel on the Swans as they conceded from the home side’s first shot on target in the match.

Stiepermann saw a shot blocked as Norwich sought a second, shortly before Potter made his first changes as Courtney Baker-Richardson came on for Routledge, and Barrie McKay was also introduced in place of Nathan Dyer with 22 minutes remaining.

A great chance fell to captain Mike van der Hoorn inside the final 10 minutes, but the Dutchman was left with his head in his hands as he headed a Matt Grimes corner over, while Pukki beat Nordfeldt but not the post after Celina had been robbed of possession in the dying seconds.

Swansea City: Kristoffer Nordfeldt; Kyle Naughton, Mike van der Hoorn (captain), Cameron Carter-Vickers, Connor Roberts; George Byers (Declan John 81), Matt Grimes; Nathan Dyer (Barrie McKay 68), Bersant Celina, Wayne Routledge (Courtney Baker-Richardson 68); Daniel James.

Unused Subs: Erwin Mulder, Cian Harries, Jay Fulton.

Norwich City: Tim Krul, Ben Godfrey, Christoph Zimmermann (captain), Jamal Lewis, Emi Buendia (Moritz Leitner 90), Marco Stiepermann (Mario Vrancic 84), Tom Trybull, Teemu Pukki (Timm Klose 90), Kenny McLean, Onel Hernandez, Max Aarons.

Unused Subs: Michael McGovern, Jordan Rhodes, Grant Hanley, Todd Cantwell.