Stoke escaped with a 1-1 draw from Norwich thanks to Jack Butland
Last Updated: 23/08/15 9:58pm
Norwich and Stoke shared the spoils at Carrow Road after a brilliant display from visiting goalkeeper Jack Butland ensured the score remained deadlocked at 1-1.
Attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri made his debut for Stoke and impressed after his big-money move from Inter but Butland was the key man for the visitors, producing some fabulous saves in the second half.
Mame Biram Diouf gave Stoke a first-half lead from a Shaqiri free-kick but Russell Martin levelled for Norwich just before the half-hour.
The hosts then produced a fantastic second-half display but a series of chances went begging as they narrowly failed to make it back-to-back Premier League wins.
Stoke made a composed start in the baking Norfolk heat and took the lead in the 11th minute.
Shaqiri whipped over a lovely free-kick from the right and, having eluded marker Alexander Tettey, Diouf was all alone at the back post to skilfully find the net with a stooping header.
Norwich responded well to the setback and Butland raced out of his goal to smother a Steven Whittaker effort after a great pass from Graham Dorrans, while Nathan Redmond and Tettey were wide with shots from distance.
The heat was so intense that the players took a well-deserved drinks break after 25 minutes and Norwich grabbed an equaliser three minutes later.
It looked like they had been denied when Butland somehow kept out Martin's stretching volley from a Robbie Brady free-kick but Redmond hooked the ball back into the box and this time Martin put a low shot through the Stoke goalkeeper's legs.
Diouf then had a goal correctly disallowed for offside after a poor clearance from Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, but the hosts began to take charge after that and they squandered a string of opportunities at the start of the second half.
Cameron Jerome was put clean through on goal by an excellent Jonny Howson pass but shot wide of the target and an unmarked Wes Hoolahan was off-target with a glancing header from a Brady cross.
Dorrans did better with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box but Butland got a fingertip to it and that was just enough to divert the ball onto the outside of the post.
And another fantastic save soon followed, as the ball fell very kindly for Redmond and he sent a shot arrowing towards the bottom corner, only for Butland to tip it past the post.
Stoke were still actively seeking a winner themselves but Glenn Johnson and Diouf both dallied when they could have let fly.
And Butland was back in Superman mode for the final 10 minutes, keeping out another Dorrans piledriver and then managing to get in the way when Jerome connected well with a close range overhead kick.
A dramatic tussle then finished with both sides squandering wonderful chances to win it, Joselu shooting over the bar from close range after a Stoke free-kick before his fellow sub Bradley Johnson arrived at the back post to meet a set-piece at the other end, only to volley over the top.
Although they will be disappointed not to have won, Norwich have made a solid start to life back in the top flight and are eighth in the standings with four points, while Stoke still await their first victory of the season, having drawn two and lost one of their first three fixtures.
However, before fading a little in the second half, Shaqiri caught the eye with his quick feet and clever passing, and Stoke fans will feel they have a lot to look forward to from him.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Paul Merson
Shaqiri did alright. Some of his stuff was very good but Norwich were on top for long periods in the end. For the goal Diouf lost Tettey and it was good header. Brady did well against Shaqiri, but he's not a left back. He did alright for his first Premier League game away from home.
Norwich are the same as last time they were in the league. They missed too many chances. Butland made some good saves but sometimes it is bad finishing and you have got to score. The manager will be thinking that in the three games they should have scored two or three. They could rue those dropped points at the end of the season.
Norwich: Ruddy (6), Whittaker (6), Martin (7), Bassong (6), Brady (7), Howson (7), Dorrans (8), Redmond (7), Tettey (6), Jerome (6), Hoolahan (6)
Subs: Johnson (5), O'Neil (6)
Stoke: Butland (9), Pieters (6), Muniesa (6), Johnson (7), Cameron (6), Whelan (6), Arnautovic (5), Afellay (5), Van Ginkel (6), Shaqiri (7), Diouf (7)
Subs: Ireland (7), Adam (6), Joselu (5)
Man of the match: Jack Butland