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Norwich City 1-0 Bournemouth: Pukki penalty enough for Canaries

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I haven’t seen players’ belief enough – Howe

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe described Steve Cook’s first-half dismissal for deliberate handball as “instinct” as bottom-of-the-table Norwich deepened the Cherries’ relegation fears with their first Premier League win since November.

Ondrej Duda’s goal-bound effort looked to be going into an empty net before Cook’s fingertip save pushed the ball on to the post and saw him dismissed by referee Paul Tierney.

Teemu Pukki scored the game’s only goal from the resulting penalty, leaving Howe’s side three points adrift of safety and just three points above the Canaries.

“He hasn’t planned it,” Howe told BBC Match of the Day. “He has just stuck his arm out. He is very down and we need to support him.

“When you are in the moment we are in, these things tend to happen. You find a way to hurt yourself and that is exactly what we did.”

Norwich also ended the match with 10 men following Ben Godfrey’s late challenge on Callum Wilson, with Tierney consulting his pitch-side monitor before brandishing the red card.

Both teams went close in a nail-biting finale, Aaron Ramsdale thwarting Pukki and Emi Buendia before Tim Krul tipped Nathan Ake’s header over the crossbar.

“The frustrating thing is that we created chances [to get a result],” added Howe, who also saw Wilson squander a golden opportunity in the second half. “We are not scoring enough and that is damaging our belief that we can win games.

“It puts pressure on the defensive side, which I don’t think we have been bad at.”

Norwich survive Godfrey’s late dismissal

While Norwich’s football this season has been pleasing on the eye, a lack of clinical edge in front of goal and frailties in defence have been their undoing.

Farke’s side have also tended to save their best for the big occasion, taking points off Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal while losing to fellow strugglers Aston Villa, West Ham, Watford, Burnley and Brighton.

There was little to separate the two teams in a cagey opening to proceedings, but the game sprang to life just after the half-hour mark when Pukki was played through on goal by Todd Cantwell.

Pukki’s effort was blocked by Ramsdale before Cook – diving at full stretch in a save Ramsdale would have been proud of – tipped Duda’s looping shot on to the outside of the post, earning the Cherries defender a straight red card.

The Finnish international drilled home his 10th goal of the campaign from the spot, but the hosts should have put the result beyond doubt in the second half.

Ramsdale produced fine saves to deny Pukki and Buendia, before referee Tierney showed Godfrey a straight red card – after consulting his pitch-side monitor – following the Norwich defender’s late tackle on Wilson.

Norwich had led in six of their previous nine league games without registering a single victory, but the Canaries held on to claim a priceless three points and a first clean sheet at Carrow Road this season.

Much needed win for Norwich – Farke

Bournemouth’s slump continues

Bournemouth have now picked up only four points from a possible 36 in the Premier League – fewer than any other top-flight team in that period.

Their visit to Carrow Road was described before the game as “massive” by Howe, who was forced to deny reports during the week that he had been asked to step down as Cherries boss.

Aside from an early Wilson header that flew straight at Krul, there was little in Bournemouth’s start to encourage Howe and the travelling fans as Norwich forced the visitors back.

Cook’s dismissal 12 minutes before the break left the Cherries with a mountain to climb but, as the hosts grew increasingly nervous, Howe’s charges gradually began to apply pressure on the Norwich goal.

Their best opportunity fell to Wilson, who lost his footing as he attempted to direct Ryan Fraser’s cut-back past Krul from seven yards out.

The Norwich goalkeeper also had to be at full stretch to tip Ake’s powerful header over the bar.

The result does little to ease the pressure on Howe, whose side welcome fellow strugglers Brighton and Aston Villa to the Vitality Stadium in their next two league games.

Man of the match – Teemu Pukki (Norwich)

Teemu Pukki is the first Norwich player to score 10 or more goals in a Premier League season since Grant Holt (2011-12)

First home Premier League clean sheet since 2016 – the stats

  • Bournemouth have lost 10 of their last 12 top-flight games (W1 D1), after losing just one of the seven before that (W3 D3).
  • Norwich kept a clean sheet for the first time in 16 Premier League home games, since a goalless draw with Manchester City in March 2016.
  • Bournemouth have failed to score in four consecutive top-flight games for the first time ever.
  • Bournemouth have registered just one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League games.
  • Steve Cook’s red card for Bournemouth was his first in 304 appearances across the Premier League and EFL.
  • Since the start of last season, no player has scored more goals in English league football (excluding play-offs) than Norwich striker Teemu Pukki (39, level with James Norwood).

‘If I could work harder, I would’ – what the managers said

Norwich manager Daniel Farke, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It is an important win for us. Three points, clean sheet, good for mood and confidence and the table. A good evening for us.

“We can be naive. We missed a lot of chances. We were the better side but missed chances. There were some spicy moments in the last 10 minutes and anything can happen. It doesn’t take anything away, though. We are happy with the win.

“I watched back the red cards and they were deserved. Ben is a good lad but he was too excited to win the ball back. He will learn.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It was a very tight game. We started quite brightly but then the key moment went against us. A bizarre one. With 10 we battled well and stayed in the game. It would have been a huge result if we had taken one of our chances.

“I was happy with the way we battled and showed heart to try and get a result.

“If I knew there was one thing I could do, I would do it. Can I work harder? I don’t think I can, otherwise I would. It is not happening at the moment. We are here to get wins and achieve our objectives.”

What’s next?

Norwich travel to Tottenham Hotspur in their next league game on Wednesday, 22 January (kick-off 19:30 GMT), while Bournemouth host Brighton the day before (19:30 GMT).

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