Norwich beat Burnley in tense relegation scrap


Pierre Lees-Melou cost Norwich about £3.5m from Nice last July

Bottom club Norwich City kept alive their slim hopes of avoiding a quick-fire return to the Championship and dealt a blow to fellow strugglers Burnley with a crucial win at Carrow Road.

Pierre Lees-Melou’s first goal since signing from Nice for £3.5m last July and Teemu Pukki’s 86th minute finish settled a tense relegation scrap – and earned the Canaries only their fifth Premier League victory since winning promotion last season.

French midfielder Lees-Melou’s ninth minute deflected shot, which went in off the post, put the hosts on their way before Pukki drilled home the second to give Norwich a glimmer of hope of staying up, with Dean Smith’s side now seven points from safety with seven matches left.

Burnley had their moments, with Maxwel Cornet, the match-winning hero against Everton in midweek, missing a glorious chance from three yards out.

In what was a must-win game, Norwich’s defence came under relentless pressure at times but withstood everything that was thrown at it to record back-to-back clean sheets in the league for the first time since October.

The result leaves the Clarets 18th in the table, four points from safety with eight matches remaining.

Gritty Norwich show fight – but have they left it too late?

With struggling Everton beating Manchester United at Goodison Park on Saturday, Norwich started Sunday’s game 10 points from safety with eight matches left.

But Smith’s side passed the pressure test in style with a first win in nine league games.

It will still require a monumental effort for them to survive. Three of their final seven matches include teams challenging for Europe – West Ham (home), Tottenham (home) and Manchester United (away).

Smith said before the match he still had belief, and his players responded with a thoroughly professional performance against a team with renewed belief following their midweek win over Everton.

Even before Lees-Melou’s goal, Milot Rashica forced Nick Pope into a diving save, while the Burnley keeper prevented Pukki from scoring by saving with his legs.

Just as impressive for Smith was his side’s performance at the back.

Norwich made several vital blocks to frustrate Burnley, including one by former Clarets defender Ben Gibson to keep out Ashley Westwood’s volley.

In the closing stages, Grant Hanley headed against the bar while Pope denied Rashica before Pukki had home fans celebrating a rare win.

More to follow

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Norwich City

  1. Squad number1Player nameKrul

  2. Squad number3Player nameByram

  3. Squad number5Player nameHanley

  4. Squad number4Player nameGibson

  5. Squad number30Player nameGiannoulis

  6. Squad number23Player nameMcLean

  7. Squad number16Player nameNormann

  8. Squad number10Player nameDowell

  9. Squad number20Player nameLees-Melou

  10. Squad number17Player nameRashica

  11. Squad number22Player namePukki

  1. Squad number7Player nameRupp

  2. Squad number18Player nameTzolis

  3. Squad number21Player nameWilliams

Burnley

  1. Squad number1Player namePope

  2. Squad number2Player nameLowton

  3. Squad number22Player nameCollins

  4. Squad number5Player nameTarkowski

  5. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  6. Squad number17Player nameLennon

  7. Squad number18Player nameWestwood

  8. Squad number8Player nameBrownhill

  9. Squad number20Player nameCornet

  10. Squad number19Player nameRodriguez

  11. Squad number9Player nameWeghorst

  1. Squad number10Player nameBarnes

  2. Squad number11Player nameMcNeil

  3. Squad number27Player nameVydra

Line-ups

Norwich

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Krul
  • 3Byram
  • 5Hanley
  • 4Gibson
  • 30GiannoulisSubstituted forWilliamsat 84′minutes
  • 23McLean
  • 16Normann
  • 10Dowell
  • 20Lees-MelouBooked at 26minsSubstituted forRuppat 69′minutes
  • 17Rashica
  • 22PukkiSubstituted forTzolisat 89′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Aarons
  • 6Zimmermann
  • 7Rupp
  • 18Tzolis
  • 19Sørensen
  • 21Williams
  • 28Gunn
  • 45Springett
  • 46Rowe

Burnley

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Pope
  • 2Lowton
  • 22Collins
  • 5Tarkowski
  • 3TaylorBooked at 78mins
  • 17LennonSubstituted forMcNeilat 64′minutes
  • 18Westwood
  • 8Brownhill
  • 20Cornet
  • 19RodriguezSubstituted forBarnesat 84′minutes
  • 9WeghorstSubstituted forVydraat 56′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Cork
  • 10Barnes
  • 11McNeil
  • 13Hennessey
  • 14Roberts
  • 16Stephens
  • 27Vydra
  • 28Long
  • 37Thomas

Referee:
Michael Oliver

Attendance:
26,361

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