Bolton 0-4 Norwich: Teemu Pukki inspires Canaries to easy win as they return to top
Marco Stiepermann and Emiliano Buendia also on target for Daniel Farke's side
Last Updated: 17/02/19 8:48am
Two-goal Teemu Pukki maintained his outstanding recent scoring form as Norwich eased past struggling Bolton 4-0 to return to the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
The prolific Finland striker netted for a sixth successive game as Daniel Farke's side got back to winning ways to replace Leeds United at the summit.
Pukki then turned provider for German midfielder Marco Stiepermann as Norwich recovered in style from a 3-1 midweek defeat at Preston.
Emiliano Buendia added a third, nine minutes from half-time and - but for a couple of saves by City old boy Remi Matthews - Wanderers' interval deficit could have been even greater.
Pukki bagged a fourth in the second half, while Kenny McLean saw a penalty saved by Matthews to deny the East Anglian outfit what would have been a well-merited fifth goal.
Second-bottom Wanderers, whose 1-0 success at Birmingham on Tuesday went against recent relegation form, started encouragingly with Clayton Donaldson flashing an early header wide.
But once Pukki latched on to Stiepermann's pass for his seventh goal in his last six games - and his 22nd Championship goal of the campaign - after eight minutes, Norwich took control.
The two exchanged roles after 25 minutes as Pukki beat the offside trap to cut the ball back into the area where Stiepermann's low, left-footed shot from 16 yards doubled City's advantage.
Stiepermann dominated midfield and was the recipient of a crude challenge by Craig Noone after 29 minutes to earn the Bolton player a booking from referee Andy Woolmer.
Buendia wasted two good chances to add to Norwich's goal tally before he made it third-time lucky after 33 minutes.
McLean's defence-splitting pass picked out the Argentine midfielder, who stuck out a leg to guide the ball beyond Matthews from 12 yards.
Overworked Matthews then kept out efforts from Onel Hernandez and Stiepermann as the visitors cruised to a Championship double over their hosts.
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson's interval response was to bring on Sammy Ameobi and Joe Williams for Josh Vela and Donaldson.
The changes, though, made no difference to the one-way traffic on Matthews' goal.
Hernandez and Pukki were denied by Bolton's shot-stopper before Pukki doubled his personal tally by lofting the ball over Matthews with an angled right-footed effort after 55 minutes.
The Scandinavian hitman was also felled by Mark Beevers to give Norwich a 63rd-minute penalty.
McLean took responsibility for the spot-kick in front of Norwich's 1,561 fans but Matthews saved low down to cap his man-of-the-match display.
Substitute Williams tried his luck from distance as second-bottom Bolton tried in vain to rally, while Pukki's bid for a hat-rick was denied by the Wanderers 'keeper.
Phil Parkinson: "(Pukki) is the best in the division. We lost to a very good team and came up against a side on top of its game.
"Some of their final third play was out of the Premier League, not the Championship. They have shown all season they are a very good team. Sometimes you have got to hold up your hands and credit the opposition - and they were very good."
Daniel Farke: "I work every day with (Pukki) and see his quality. His goals come at key moments but his workload for the team against the ball was outstanding. He is so important to linking the play. How he assisted for Marco
Stiepermann's goal was world class with his movement and then to have the anticipation to cut the ball back.
"We could easily have added a few more goals. The only thing I can criticise is we should be more clinical and brutal in using these chances. But I can't complain too much after a 4-0 win and a clean sheet. It was outstanding."