Championship
SwanseaSwansea City2NorwichNorwich City0

Swansea City 2-0 Norwich City: Andre Ayew and Conor Hourihane goals give Swans victory

By Gareth VincentBBC Sport Wales at the Liberty Stadium
Andre Ayew celebrates his first goal in six matches
Swansea's Andre Ayew celebrates his first goal in six matches

Swansea City closed the gap on Championship leaders Norwich City to two points thanks to an impressive 2-0 victory over the stuttering Canaries.

Andre Ayew capitalised on Tim Krul's error to put Steve Cooper's team ahead late in a fairly even first half.

Conor Hourihane then made it three goals in as many league games since joining Swansea on loan from Aston Villa with a supreme long-range drive.

Norwich battled hard to respond but are now winless in three league matches.

Daniel Farke's team would have gone seven points clear at the top of the table with victory, but instead are left looking over their shoulders at Swansea, who climb back into the automatic promotion places and have a game in hand.

This meeting of two sides who like to play possession football promised much and did not disappoint in an open, entertaining first half.

Norwich pressed high and were sharp on the counter-attack, while Swansea worked hard to pass their way around the yellow shirts and were typically steadfast on the back foot.

It was the visitors who threatened first, Todd Cantwell threading Teemu Pukki into space only for the Finland striker to shoot narrowly wide with the angle tight.

At the other end Lukas Rupp's wayward backpass had Krul scrambling to clear, before Marc Guehi's fabulous ball sent Jamal Lowe surging into the box.

Krul gathered Lowe's effort, then Max Aarons made a vital block to deny Hourihane at the far post after Connor Roberts' long throw was not cleared.

The opener came from the Roberts corner which followed, as Krul came to claim and spilled the ball to Guehi.

He laid it off to Jake Bidwell and his mishit effort fell to Ayew, who shot on the turn and found the bottom corner.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki tangles with Swansea captain Matt Grimes
Norwich striker Teemu Pukki tangles with Swansea captain Matt Grimes

Norwich almost produced an immediate response as Grant Hanley met Przemyslaw Placheta's free-kick with a firm header, but Freddie Woodman's smart save ensured Swansea were ahead at the break.

They doubled their advantage with the first notable attack of the second half, as Norwich left Hourihane in too much space and Jay Fulton squared for the Irish international.

Hourihane finished brilliantly, drilling a low, left-foot shot into the bottom corner of Krul's net from 25 yards.

This was Norwich's third game in six days - while Swansea had a rare midweek off - but that did not stop Farke's men pushing hard to try to find a route back into the contest.

But they are now without a goal in three league games while Swansea, the side with the meanest defence in the EFL, can celebrate their 15th clean sheet in 27 Championship games this season.

Cooper felt they should have had the chance to extend their lead from the penalty spot late on when Jordan Morris tumbled under Ben Gibson's challenge, but referee Simon Hooper's decision to wave home appeals away counted for little in the end.

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper:

"I thought tactically, we were brilliant in the first half in terms of where we thought we could show Norwich with the ball, where we could win it and where we could attack.

"We got the breakthrough with Andre, then started the second half brilliantly with a great goal from Conor. We gave up a lot of territory after the (second) goal, but that's normal and natural."

Cooper on Swansea's league position:

"There were no expectations at the start of the season so I think it would be unfair to start doing it now with 19 games to go.

"We are over just over halfway. We take it game by game. Sorry, I say it every week. I will be telling you again on Monday and before Sheffield Wednesday, but that's how we work. We can't look too far forward."

Norwich head coach Daniel Farke:

"We are disappointed. It's sometimes important to feel the disappointment. It was a tight game between two top sides.

"They are the best defence in the league, but also dangerous on the counter-attack. We made a crucial key mistake for the first goal and then we gave the ball away for the second.

"We tried everything, but they are good when they concentrate on sitting deep. We have to accept the loss.

"This league is all about consistency and not about momentum. You will always have periods of a few games when you do not find the net."

Line-ups

Swansea

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1WoodmanBooked at 84mins
  • 26Naughton
  • 2BennettBooked at 64mins
  • 5GuehiBooked at 69mins
  • 23Roberts
  • 6Fulton
  • 8Grimes
  • 24Bidwell
  • 14Hourihane
  • 10A Ayew
  • 9LoweSubstituted forMorrisat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Manning
  • 11Morris
  • 17Whittaker
  • 18Hamer
  • 21Dhanda
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 31Cooper
  • 34Freeman
  • 44Cabango

Norwich

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Krul
  • 2Aarons
  • 5Hanley
  • 34Gibson
  • 19Sørensen
  • 23McLean
  • 20SkippSubstituted forIdahat 57'minutesBooked at 67mins
  • 14CantwellSubstituted forDowellat 85'minutes
  • 7RuppSubstituted forVrancicat 57'minutesBooked at 78mins
  • 11PlachetaSubstituted forHernándezat 57'minutes
  • 22Pukki

Substitutes

  • 6Zimmermann
  • 8Vrancic
  • 10Dowell
  • 25Hernández
  • 26Mumba
  • 27Tettey
  • 30Giannoulis
  • 35Idah
  • 50Barden
Referee:
Simon Hooper

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamNorwich
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home9
Away13
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Swansea City 2, Norwich City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Swansea City 2, Norwich City 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Max Aarons (Norwich City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Mario Vrancic following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Freddie Woodman.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adam Idah (Norwich City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ben Gibson with a cross.

  6. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Kenny McLean tries a through ball, but Adam Idah is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Onel Hernández (Norwich City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is too high. Assisted by Max Aarons with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kieran Dowell (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ben Gibson.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Kieran Dowell replaces Todd Cantwell.

  10. Booking

    Freddie Woodman (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Onel Hernández.

  12. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Adam Idah tries a through ball, but Teemu Pukki is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Jacob Sørensen (Norwich City).

  14. Post update

    Kyle Naughton (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Booking

    Mario Vrancic (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Mario Vrancic (Norwich City).

  17. Post update

    Conor Hourihane (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kenny McLean (Norwich City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jacob Sørensen.

  19. Post update

    Onel Hernández (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Connor Roberts (Swansea City).

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 5th February 2021

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich28167535231255
2Swansea27158435152053
3Brentford26149348262251
4Reading26145740291147
5Watford27138631201147
6Bournemouth27119740261442
7Middlesbrough2711793024640
8Blackburn26116941281339
9Bristol City27123122931-239
10Stoke2791173229338
11Preston27113133134-336
12Barnsley27106112934-536
13Luton2696112128-733
14Millwall2761472225-332
15Huddersfield2795133038-832
16Cardiff2687113331231
17QPR2679102532-730
18Coventry2779112637-1130
19Nottm Forest2778122230-829
20Derby2777131728-1128
21Birmingham27610111931-1228
22Rotherham2575133035-526
23Sheff Wed2687111826-825
24Wycombe2537151842-2416
View full Championship table

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