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Norwich City vs Ipswich Town. Sky Bet Championship.

Carrow RoadAttendance27,001.

Norwich City 1

  • M Núñez (39th minute)

Ipswich Town 0

    Norwich 1-0 Ipswich: Marcelino Nunez's first-half free-kick settles East Anglian derby to shake up promotion race

    Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Norwich City and Ipswich Town at Carrow Road on Saturday | Marcelino Nunez's first-half free-kick secures victory which dents Ipswich's automatic promotion hopes

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    Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Norwich City and Ipswich Town

    Marcelino Nunez's first-half free-kick settled the East Anglian derby as Norwich enhanced their promotion hopes and dented Ipswich's with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road.

    Ipswich arrived as Championship table-toppers to face their greatest rivals having failed to beat them in their previous 13 attempts, and rarely looked like ending that hoodoo against an organised Norwich side, who thoroughly deserved victory.

    Norwich City's Marcelino Nunez celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game
    Image: Norwich City's Marcelino Nunez celebrates scoring his first-half winner

    The game had all the tension of a derby with few clear-cut chances at either end, but an increasing number of niggly fouls given away by the visitors before half-time.

    Norwich finally made one of those count when Nunez's dipping free-kick caught out Vaclav Hladky at his near post six minutes before the break in the only shot on target of the first period.

    It took over an hour for Ipswich to finally register one of their own and more than 80 minutes to trouble the Norwich goal when they mounted their trademark late onslaught and Omari Hutchinson's lob was blocked by Angus Gunn.

    But there were to be no last-gasp heroics from the visitors this time, as they opened the door to Leicester who eventually leapfrogged them later on Saturday.

    Norwich's victory laid down a marker for Coventry below them, with even the Sky Blues' later win over Leeds only enough to keep the gap between the two clubs at four points.

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    How Norwich's perfect day unfolded

    After a predictably tight start, the home side began to take the initiative, winning a series of free-kicks deep in Ipswich territory.

    They made the fourth count, with Nunez edging his side in front six minutes before the break after Sam Morsy had shoved Josh Sargent to the ground some 30 yards out in a central position.

    A goal looked a long shot, quite literally, but the Chilean comfortably beat Town's two-man wall with a low curler which eluded Hladky's desperate dive to the left and went in off the post.

    Ten minutes earlier Sargent had been brought down by Axel Tuanzebe in a seemingly more dangerous position, after being put in by a delightful Ashley Barnes through ball, but on this occasion, Gabriel Sara's free-kick came to nothing.

    Overall the Canaries had the better of a tight opening period, with Ipswich looking nothing like a side challenging for automatic promotion. Their only effort on or off target was Massimo Luongo's header from a corner which sailed harmlessly over.

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    Marcelino Nunez strikes home a free-kick from 30 yards out to put Norwich ahead against Ipswich

    Sam McCallum's long ball from the back almost caught the visitors out in the early stages of the second half, with Borja Sainz's lob only narrowly off target.

    Sargent then went down on the edge of the box under a last-ditch challenge from Morsy, only for referee Matthew Donohue to infuriate the home fans by waving play on.

    As the game entered its final quarter Sargent burst through again and cut the ball back for Sainz, only for the Spaniard to guide a first-time effort high and wide.

    Ipswich were struggling to make any impact in the final third, although Conor Chaplin finally produced an effort worthy of the name on 70 minutes, firing just over after being picked out by Leif Davis' cross.

    Substitute Ali Al-Hamadi was then thwarted by Angus Gunn's quick reaction as he chased a long ball but Norwich defended well to see out a well-deserved derby win.

    The managers

    Norwich boss David Wagner:

    "I've played a few derbies in Germany and England as well and to win them is always something very big. Not only for the supporters [but] for us, the coaches, the staff and the team.

    "If you do it in the manner we have, we had the better chances, more clear-cut chances too, Chaplin was the first chance they had and we defended super well.

    "The goal we scored was a fantastic free-kick. We always looked very solid defensively, it took a while for them to have a chance, we kept them out of dangerous areas and we had chances on the break where we should have killed the game.

    "We've had some defeats, against Leeds and Leicester, but we've bounced back. This dressing room has a big advantage; they have seen the dark days. They have come from 17th in the table and marched on. This energy, this belief, it's important to have.

    "I have the feeling this dressing room has everything, the experience to go until the end."

    Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna:

    "We didn't hit our best level, for sure. It wasn't a very high-quality game, neither team created too many chances and they've won it with a 30-yard free-kick.

    "We focus on the bits we can control, and now we want to deliver a performance on Wednesday. That's all that matters now.

    "In the first half, there wasn't much in the game, I don't think either team performed to a very high level. But we've had three big games in a week, maybe it's that, maybe being a big derby match for these boys and a big atmosphere, but we didn't find our intensity or bravery on the ball in the first 20 minutes.

    "There were a spell of set plays, quite a few of them soft. I think the free-kick for the goal too, I haven't seen a close-up instance but if there was a different angle where it did look like [a free-kick] then fair enough.

    "Any defeat at this stage of the season for a team going for anything is going to hurt, but we've been through disappointments before. This group always find the right response."

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