MX23RW : Friday, December 14 22:59:26

Result: Flying Finn Teemu Pukki sends Boro to first league loss

The striker nets the only goal as Norwich win at Carrow Road.

Teemu Pukki maintained his hot streak in front of goal as Norwich beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at Carrow Road to condemn the visitors to their first league defeat of the season.

The Finnish frontman, who scored twice for his country while on international duty, settled a scrappy game just before the hour mark when he took advantage of some rare poor defending from Boro to slot the ball home.

It was a well deserved win for the Canaries, who had only tasted victory once in the Championship before today, while Boro could have few complaints about the final result having created few chances all afternoon.

The Canaries gave as good as they got in a dull first half, although it was the visitors who created the one good opportunity.

Former Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson had a clear sight of goal after being picked out in the box by Britt Assombalonga and it took a good save from Tim Krul at his near post to keep the scores level.

The resulting corner from Stewart Downing struck the angle of upright and crossbar before being cleared – but those were rare moments of concern for the home defence.

Norwich had the bulk of possession but were kept largely at arm's length by a disciplined Boro defence.

It wasn't until seven minutes before the break that Daniel Farke's side finally got an effort on target, with Marco Stiepermann's long-range effort comfortable for keeper Darren Randolph.

The home side also started the second period on the front foot and Randolph was called into action after 56 minutes to save a low Alex Tettey drive from just outside the box.

But they deservedly went in front a couple of minutes later when a break into the area from young defender Max Aarons caught the visitors out and George Friend inadvertently played the ball into the path of Pukki, who poked the ball home from eight yards via a slight deflection.

It then needed a good block from Daniel Ayala to keep out a powerful shot from Onel Hernandez as Norwich pressed for a second.

Tony Pulis' side needed to show a lot more attacking intent if they were to get anything out of the game and they finally made Krul work again midway through the half when substitute Martin Braithwaite made himself some space in the box and fired goalwards.

There was a reprieve for Norwich 15 minutes from time when referee Andy Davies went back on his decision to show a second yellow card to Timm Klose.

The Swiss defender, who had already been booked, was penalised for hauling back Assombalonga and started to walk before the official consulted with his assistant and a free-kick was given the other way for offside.

Boro kept pressing but were unable to carve out another decent chance as the home side saw out the game with few alarms.

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Marcelo Bielsa pictured in charge of Leeds United on August 11, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich21134438241443
2Leeds UnitedLeeds21126335181742
3West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom22116546311539
4Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2211473526937
5Derby CountyDerby2111463124737
6Middlesbrough219932314936
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest21810332221034
8Aston Villa218854132932
9Birmingham CityBirmingham217953025530
10Stoke CityStoke217952725230
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn217952731-430
12Swansea CitySwansea218582523229
13Bristol City218582524129
14Queens Park RangersQPR218492531-628
15Preston North EndPreston216783235-325
16Wigan AthleticWigan2174102329-625
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds216692738-1124
18Brentford215793332122
19Hull City2156102130-921
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham214982132-1121
21Millwall2147102635-919
22Reading2146112634-818
23Bolton WanderersBolton2146111529-1418
24Ipswich TownIpswich2118121737-2011

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