Aston Villa 1-2 Norwich: Teemu Pukki on target as Canaries seal Championship title
Last Updated: 05/05/19 8:26pm
Norwich clinched the Sky Bet Championship title after a 2-1 win against play-off bound Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Mario Vrancic sealed victory in the 86th minute as Norwich won the second tier title for the fourth time.
Teemu Pukki had given Norwich a seventh-minute lead with his 30th goal of the season but Jonathan Kodjia quickly equalised for Villa with his third strike in four games.
Norwich, who won at Villa Park for the first time in 10 games stretching back to 1992, ended the season with a 14-match unbeaten run.
Villa suffered their first defeat in 13 matches and will face a play-off semi-final against local rivals West Brom.
Norwich could have taken the lead inside the opening minute after a surge down the left wing by Onel Hernandez. He cut the ball back for Marco Stiepermann but the German midfielder pushed a shot wide.
But Norwich did not have to wait much longer to capitalise on their flying start.
Championship play-off schedule
|Saturday 11 May||12.30pm||1st Leg||Aston Villa vs West Brom|
|Saturday 11 May||5.15pm||1st Leg||Derby vs Leeds|
|Tuesday 14 May||8pm||2nd Leg||West Brom vs Aston Villa|
|Wednesday 15 May||7.45pm||2nd Leg||Leeds vs Derby|
Villa failed to fully clear a free-kick from Vrancic and when the ball came back to him he rolled a pass to Pukki who then fed Stiepermann on edge of the area.
Stiepermann picked out Hernandez and his centre across the face of goal was turned home from close range by Pukki.
Following their torrid opening, Villa finally came to life and were level in what was their first real attempt on goal.
After Emiliano Buendia had conceded a free-kick on the left-wing, Conor Hourihane swung a cross into the Norwich area and Kodjia's shot from six yards left goalkeeper Tim Krul flat footed before sneaking just inside the post.
Villa could then easily have taken the lead three minutes later only for Andre Green to see his shot from 10 yards blocked by Max Aarons.
Kodjia then flashed a header just over the bar from a Hourihane cross in the 32nd minute and had a shot saved by Krul four minutes later as Villa enjoyed a spell of domination.
Failing to make that pressure pay almost cost Villa on the stroke of half-time when Vrancic had a shot blocked and Hernandez hit the crossbar.
Following such an entertaining opening period, chances proved harder to come by at the start of the second half before Jamal Lewis surged on to a Stiepermann pass in the 63rd minute only to shoot wide from the angle of the six yard box.
Stiepermann was then denied by goalkeeper Jed Steer twice in the space of five minutes before Norwich pounced through Vrancic.
Vrancic was picked out by Lewis and raced forward before beating Steer with a well-placed shot from the edge of the area.
Dean Smith: "We are going into two games that we are all looking forward to.
"There is an awful lot of confidence. You can feel it around Villa Park. The players will relish the games. This place will be rocking and that can give us a goal start.
"We lost to them here 2-0 this season but we weren't at the top of our game and never had a full squad.
"I thought it was a good performance. It certainly wasn't deserving of getting beat.
"They started better than we did and the equaliser got us going. We stepped it up, finished the first half the better team, but probably didn't make the most of our opportunities.
"The pleasing thing was that we got through injury-free as I need as many fresh players with minutes in their legs for the play-offs."
Daniel Farke: "To win the title is the icing on the cake. It fits our season to win the title at Villa Park against a side that was on fire before.
"To be able to lift the trophy at this amazing ground is a fantastic feeling. It is a proud moment for the club as each and every player worked so hard for this ending.
"These moments don't come that often and we will never forget this moment. To finish the season with 14 games unbeaten is outstanding. To win the title with 94 points and with almost 100 goals can make us very proud.
"We created something excellent. The consistency was remarkable. It is a proud moment to work for this amazing club.
"We know that we are probably three or four years ahead of schedule to build something for this club but we will take it."