Championship
NorwichNorwich City1BirminghamBirmingham City0

Norwich City 1-0 Birmingham City: Mario Vrancic strikes late to beat 10-man Blues

By Tom GarryBBC Sport
Adam Clayton sees red
Adam Clayton was shown his second yellow card for a foul on the lively Todd Cantwell

Norwich City's dominance was rewarded late on as Mario Vrancic's low strike gave them a narrow victory over 10-man Birmingham City.

The Canaries had the better of the chances but could not break the deadlock and looked set to be frustrated, until Adam Clayton was sent off for a second bookable offence with four minutes left.

The hosts took advantage moments later as substitute Vrancic finished clinically from the edge of the box.

That gave Norwich a third win from their first six Championship games of the season as they inflicted a second straight defeat on the Blues.

The result left Aitor Karanka's Birmingham with just three goals scored in all competitions this season, with their best moments seeing Ivan Sanchez curl over the bar in the first half and Jeremie Bela fire straight at the keeper from two counter attacks after the break.

It was Daniel Farke's men who controlled possession and had several chances to take the lead earlier on, with Cantwell firing just wide before being denied when one-on-one with Birmingham keeper Neil Etheridge, who also did well to keep out Lukas Rupp's dipping strike.

Creating regular chances with his movement, Cantwell saw a goal ruled out for offside early in the second half, before angling a shot just wide and then seeing another close-range effort superbly blocked by Maxime Colin.

Sitting deep and looking organised with five across the back, Birmingham looked set to battle their way to a point but then Clayton was dismissed as a late challenge on Cantwell saw him shown a second yellow card.

Then Blues striker Scott Hogan was caught in possession in his own half and the Canaries capitalised, working the ball quickly to Vrancic to net his first goal since December and win the points.

Norwich boss Daniel Farke:

"It is never easy for relegated sides like us because our opponents are always up for the game and know a win will be a big result for them.

"They make it tough for us and Birmingham certainly did, defending really well with their 5-4-1 shape.

"We had to be patient and it was a case of keep working hard and keep working for a solution. We had a lot of chances, and some decisions didn't go our way, but we got our goal in the end and it was a big relief for all of us.

"It was pleasing to see the substitutions come off, with Mario getting the goal, and I don't think anyone could say the win wasn't well deserved."

Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka:

"I feel very sorry for my players after that. They are exhausted after putting in a lot of hard work and frustrated after seeing another big decision go against them. On Saturday it was the penalty and tonight it was the red card.

"They were just two fouls from Adam Clayton, nothing more, and he has picked up two yellow cards. Then, when we are trying to reorganise with 10 men, Norwich get their goal.

"I can't criticise my players after that - in fact I am very proud of them. We had a number of players unavailable and had to go into the game with a new shape against a very good team who were in the Premier League last season. We defended very well and it was very disappointing to lose it in the end.

"We have only just started - and I am sure results will improve."

Line-ups

Norwich

  • 1Krul
  • 2Aarons
  • 5Hanley
  • 34Gibson
  • 16Quintillá
  • 20SkippSubstituted forVrancicat 80'minutes
  • 7Rupp
  • 17Buendía
  • 9HugillSubstituted forIdahat 69'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 14Cantwell
  • 22PukkiSubstituted forPlachetaat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Vrancic
  • 11Placheta
  • 23McLean
  • 24Martin
  • 27Tettey
  • 33McGovern
  • 35Idah

Birmingham

  • 30Etheridge
  • 2Colin
  • 4RobertsSubstituted forSan Joséat 90+1'minutes
  • 12DeanBooked at 54mins
  • 5FriendBooked at 88mins
  • 3Pedersen
  • 17Sánchez
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 86mins
  • 34SunjicBooked at 90mins
  • 14LekoSubstituted forBelaat 55'minutes
  • 9Hogan

Substitutes

  • 1Prieto
  • 11Bela
  • 18McGree
  • 19San José
  • 20Gardner
  • 25Dacres-Cogley
  • 44Boyd-Munce
Referee:
Oliver Langford

Match Stats

Home TeamNorwichAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home73%
Away27%
Shots
Home23
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Norwich City 1, Birmingham City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Norwich City 1, Birmingham City 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Przemyslaw Placheta tries a through ball, but Todd Cantwell is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mario Vrancic (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Birmingham City. Mikel San José replaces Marc Roberts.

  6. Booking

    Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City).

  9. Booking

    Adam Idah (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Adam Idah (Norwich City).

  11. Post update

    Neil Etheridge (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Booking

    George Friend (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Foul by George Friend (Birmingham City).

  15. Goal!

    Goal! Norwich City 1, Birmingham City 0. Mario Vrancic (Norwich City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Idah.

  16. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Adam Clayton (Birmingham City) for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Adam Clayton (Birmingham City).

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Przemyslaw Placheta replaces Teemu Pukki.

  20. Post update

    Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.