Digital Football Journalist
Goals from Sergio Aguero and Rodri not enough to avoid first Man City defeat since January
Last Updated: 14/09/19 7:46pm
Teemu Pukki scored one and made another as Norwich inflicted a shock first defeat of the season on Man City, who went down 3-2 at Carrow Road.
The setback leaves champions City five points behind Liverpool in the Premier League table.
“This is not just a result that will reverberate around the Premier League, but the whole of Europe,” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher.
“It is a thoroughly deserved result, but what a big blow to Pep Guardiola and Man City.”
City were chaotic defensively without the injured Aymeric Laporte and fell behind when Kenny McLean was left unmarked to power in Emi Buendia’s near-post corner after 18 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse 10 minutes later when Kyle Walker played Pukki onside and he raced onto Buendia’s pass before squaring for Todd Cantwell to tap in a second.
Sergio Aguero totally changed the half-time complexion when he glanced in Bernardo Silva’s cross moments before the interval, but another defensive lapse saw Buendia rob Nicolas Otamendi on the edge of the City box before squaring for Pukki to restore the hosts’ two-goal lead within five minutes of the restart.
Norwich: Krul (7), Byram (7), Godfrey (8), Amadou (8), Lewis (8), Tettey (8), McLean (7), Buendia (9), Stiepermann (7), Cantwell (8), Pukki (8).
Subs: Drmic (n/a), Srbeny (n/a).
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (5), Stones (4), Otamendi (3), Zinchenko (6), Rodri (6), D Silva (5), Gundogan (5), B Silva (6), Aguero (6), Sterling (5).
Subs: De Bruyne (6), Jesus (5), Mahrez (5).
Man of the match: Emi Buendia
Rodri netted his first City goal from outside the box in the final two minutes but Norwich held on for victory, meaning Pep Guardiola’s side have already dropped more points in the opening five games of this season than they did in the entire second half of 2018/19.
How Norwich stunned the champions
Laporte’s injury absence was far from ideal for Guardiola but the main pre-match injury story concerned Norwich’s four enforced absentees, and goalkeeper Tim Krul was a doubt even during the warm-up.
City looked like their normal selves early on, dominating possession and penning Norwich in but from the hosts’ first attack they were left stunned. Sam Byram’s cross was blocked behind and Buendia’s delivery exposed their Achilles heel at the near post, where McLean rose above Rodri to leave Ederson with no chance.
The hosts’ dogged defending held up to the renewed scrutiny after that goal but their back four could breathe easier once they doubled their lead. Buendia flicked the ball over Rodri, released Pukki with the retreating Walker stuck in two minds, and once he reached the area he squared to Cantwell who sent the home fans into delirium.
Aguero nodded over from a tight angle from a Raheem Sterling cross as City tried desperately to find a way back, and soon Guardiola swapped the England winger’s position with Bernardo Silva to present Norwich a different challenge.
It paid off within minutes, when the Portuguese’s trusty left foot found Aguero – and this time he made a solid connection, glancing beyond Krul 29 seconds before the break to finally give City a foothold.
But it would last all of five minutes. Stones had already given Norwich a chance to run at the visiting defence with a wayward pass moments after the restart, but that was nothing on Otamendi’s howler which saw Buendia catch him on the edge of his own box before squaring for Pukki, who was never going to miss from eight yards.
Guardiola had said he wanted to give Kevin De Bruyne “20 or 25 minutes” after the international break but felt compelled to make an early double change in the wake of that goal, introducing him alongside Gabriel Jesus, and the pressure again rose on Norwich’s increasingly overworked back-line.
Aguero headed another glorious chance over and Otamendi was twice denied by Krul, but the Dutch goalkeeper was finally beaten two minutes from time when Rodri’s low effort squirmed past his palms.
However, City’s continuing onslaught on the Norwich goal, registering some 16 shots in the second 45 minutes, was not enough – and Carrow Road rose as one at the full-time whistle to celebrate a famous win, which may already dent Manchester City’s hopes of lifting the Premier League trophy for a third season in a row.
Norwich are back to the bread and butter with a trip to Burnley next Saturday at 3pm. Manchester City make their Champions League bow away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday at 8pm.