Championship
NorwichNorwich City4ReadingReading1

Norwich City 4-1 Reading: Kieran Dowell double ensures Canaries win Championship title

Kieran Dowell scores for Norwich against Reading
Kieran Dowell's first-half strike was his fourth goal in nine games and his fifth arrived after the break

Championship champions Norwich City are "better prepared" to stay in the Premier League than they were for the one season they managed last time out, according to manager Daniel Farke.

The Canaries thumped Reading to ensure a second title in three seasons, with two goals from Kieran Dowell and late strikes from Xavi Quintilla and Teemu Pukki sealing a superb comeback after Josh Laurent's early header had put the visitors in front.

"I'm not willing to think too much about the Premier League at this moment," said Farke, who took Norwich up in 2018-19 and remained in charge following their relegation last term.

"We will just enjoy ourselves and value what we have done because this belongs to our supporters and the club.

"But we have got the feeling we are better prepared as a club and will give it a real go as the only self-funding club to survive.

"If we are better than two years ago we will see but now we are thinking only of celebrations. I don't want to be too scared of Liverpool and Manchester City and all the other top sides, we just want to enjoy ourselves."

The Canaries were already assured of an immediate return to the top flight, but defeats against Bournemouth and fellow promoted club Watford meant they were not certain of being crowned champions.

Watford's defeat against Brentford ensured the Canaries were champions anyway, but they confirmed a fifth second-tier title in their history with a stylish victory which never looked in doubt despite Farke's side falling behind to Laurent's back-post header from Michael Olise's inviting cross.

Reading, whose bid for a play-off place ended last Sunday, were impressive early on and looked in the mood to make Norwich wait even longer for the title.

But Dowell levelled the score with a calm finish following a series of defensive blunders as the Royals finished well beaten and had keeper Rafael Cabral to thank for limiting the margin of victory.

'We are unbelievably proud'

At 1-1 the visitors were under increasing pressure and Rafael made three stunning saves to keep out Dowell's fierce strike, Kenny McLean's powerful header and a Todd Cantwell effort.

But he could do nothing to stop Dowell scoring his second from a tight angle - the midfielder finding the far corner from Cantwell's cheeky scooped pass from the left.

Pukki missed several decent opportunities, but Norwich's sixth win in seven against Reading was wrapped up late on.

Quintilla added a third with a classy 20-yard free-kick in to the top corner before a typical piece of Pukki quality increased the lead further, the Finn anticipating a casual backpass to round Rafael and gleefully smash the ball home for his 26th goal of the season.

Farke said the subsequent title celebrations in an empty stadium were "a bit surreal".

"It has been such a difficult season in terms of the challenges after relegation and this pandemic," Farke added.

"We are unbelievably proud and happy to bring some joy to the supporters."

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic paid tribute to the Canaries' achievement.

"I want to congratulate Norwich on winning the title. They are a fantastic side and have been throughout the whole season," he said.

"We came here to match up against a team that is the best this season and we did a very good job in the first half. Unfortunately we conceded a goal that was avoidable and made some mistakes where we could have done better.

"The second half we didn't start well and they took over very quickly.

"They got their goal advantage, we tried to fight back but we conceded two more - the fourth was an unlucky mistake from an honest approach to the game, that's all."

Line-ups

Norwich

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Krul
  • 2AaronsBooked at 17minsSubstituted forMumbaat 89'minutes
  • 44Omobamidele
  • 5Hanley
  • 16QuintilláSubstituted forHugillat 87'minutes
  • 20SkippBooked at 42minsSubstituted forat 90+1'minutes
  • 23McLean
  • 17BuendíaSubstituted forTetteyat 82'minutes
  • 10DowellSubstituted forVrancicat 83'minutes
  • 14CantwellSubstituted forHernándezat 86'minutes
  • 22Pukki

Substitutes

  • 8Vrancic
  • 9Hugill
  • 11Placheta
  • 12Nyland
  • 18Stiepermann
  • 19Sørensen
  • 25Hernández
  • 26Mumba
  • 27Tettey

Reading

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 17Yiadom
  • 29Holmes
  • 15Gibson
  • 3RichardsBooked at 25mins
  • 34TetekSubstituted forSemedoat 68'minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 28Laurent
  • 7OliseSubstituted forPontes Estevesat 68'minutes
  • 10SwiftSubstituted forMeiteat 62'minutes
  • 14Ejaria
  • 18Lucas JoãoSubstituted forCamaraat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Pontes Esteves
  • 9Baldock
  • 11Meite
  • 22Southwood
  • 24Aluko
  • 30Semedo
  • 47Puscas
  • 48Dorsett
  • 50Camara
Referee:
Oliver Langford

Match Stats

Home TeamNorwichAway TeamReading
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home24
Away7
Shots on Target
Home12
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away21

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Norwich City 4, Reading 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Norwich City 4, Reading 1.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Andrew Omobamidele tries a through ball, but Jordan Hugill is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Oliver Skipp went off injured after Norwich City had used all subs.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Kenny McLean tries a through ball, but Onel Hernández is caught offside.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Bali Mumba replaces Max Aarons.

  7. Post update

    Oliver Skipp (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Andy Yiadom (Reading).

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Jordan Hugill replaces Xavi Quintillá.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Onel Hernández replaces Todd Cantwell.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Norwich City 4, Reading 1. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner.

  12. Post update

    Grant Hanley (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Tomás Esteves (Reading).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Mamadi Camara replaces Lucas João.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Mario Vrancic replaces Kieran Dowell.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Alexander Tettey replaces Emiliano Buendía.

  17. Post update

    Kenny McLean (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Alfa Semedo (Reading).

  19. Post update

    Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Ovie Ejaria (Reading).

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich45299773343996
2Watford452610961303188
3Brentford452315776413584
4Swansea4523111156371980
5Bournemouth4522111273442977
6Barnsley45238145648877
7Reading451912146052869
8Cardiff4518131465481767
9QPR451811165454065
10Middlesbrough451810175550564
11Millwall451517134646062
12Luton441710174049-961
13Preston45177214755-858
14Stoke451415164852-457
15Blackburn451412196052854
16Nottm Forest451216173643-752
17Coventry451313194360-1752
18Birmingham451313193556-2152
19Bristol City45156244565-2051
20Huddersfield451212214869-2148
21Derby451110243355-2243
22Rotherham44117264359-1640
23Sheff Wed451210233758-2140
24Wycombe451010253669-3340
View full Championship table

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