Birmingham 2-2 Norwich: Onel Hernandez earns draw for Canaries
Onel Hernandez earns draw for Norwich in entertaining clash at St Andrew's.
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 05/08/18 5:40pm
Onel Hernandez earned Norwich a commendable 2-2 Sky Bet Championship draw at Birmingham with two goals.
Following a goalless first half, Jacques Maghoma put Birmingham ahead in the 55th minute only for Hernandez to score an 84th-minute equaliser.
Substitute Viv Solomon-Otabor then appeared to have won the game for Birmingham when he netted a last-minute individual goal only for the persistent Hernandez to pop up again to salvage a point in a pulsating finish, with his second goal coming in the fourth minute of added time.
Birmingham, who have been operating under a transfer embargo until a few days ago, began with nine of the players who managed to avoid relegation in the final game of last season and certainly made a very promising start to the new campaign and there was no disgrace in this draw.
Norwich were indebted on several occasion new signing Tim Krul from Brighton and he quickly distinguished himself with a string of fine saves.
Birmingham's young goalkeeper, Connal Trueman, also boosted his confidence on his Football League debut with an excellent save to keep out a Jordan Rhodes effort in a fast, opening spell with both teams adopting an attacking policy.
Urged on by their huge away following Norwich slowly asserted their authority and Trueman was again in action keeping out a snap shot from danger man Hernandez.
Jota, who finished last season on a high after struggling to make an impact earlier in the campaign, generally had a quiet game.
The Spaniard wasted a fine opportunity to put Birmingham ahead early in the second period when he was put clear by Che Adams only to fluff his weak shot into the arms of the Krul.
Krul really took the honours for Norwich in the 54th minute when he bravely saved at the feet of Adams before the ball spilled away for a corner which ultimately led to Birmingham taking the lead.
On this occasion Krul had little chance of making a save as Maghoma latched onto a loose ball to hammer in a drive past the Norwich keeper.
Hernandez brought the visitors level before Solomon-Otbar thought he had won it for the home side when he converted from a ball over the top.
But in stoppage time Hernandez was allowed to stride into the Birmingham area before executing a fine finish to earn his side a share of the spoils.
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Garry Monk: "It is always frustrating when you have a win within your grasp only to concede a late equaliser. Overall the most important feature was that we showed that we were focussed and ready to compete.
"It was typical first game of the season when it was blazing hot. We stepped up our game in the second half but as the game panned was frustrating to make a draw after Norwich scored in the last minute."
Daniel Farke: "We created a lot of chances and I am a bit disappointed we did not win. But a draw in the first away game is not too bad. We can live with that result.
"It is difficult to replace an outstanding player like [James] Maddison who scored 15 goals and had 15 assists. [Josh] Murphy was our second highest goalscorer. Players in the group now have to improve to replace players of this quality."