Garry Monk’s men were deservedly beaten 3-1 at Carrow Road by Norwich on Friday night. 3 goals in the first 25 minutes for Daniel Farke’s team deservedly wrapped up all 3 points for the high flying Canaries. The result leaves Blues still 4 points off the playoffs with 18 games remaining.
Garry Monk named an unchanged team from the side who slipped to a 2-1 home defeat to Middlesborough last time out.
It was an extremely lively start to the game with both teams looking to get forward at every opportunity. The first real chance of the game fell to Birmingham. Pedersen and Jota combined well to slip Kieftenbeld in down the far side. His cut back was deflected goal-wards by Godfrey and forced Krul into making a good save.
However, it was evident that Pukki was causing Birmingham loads of problems with his excellent movement and it was no real surprise that the opening goal came from the Finland International. Pukki superbly got himself between Dean and Morrison to poke Lewis’ inviting ball past Camp to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Character and desire are two words that best sum up Birmingham’s season and this was in full display as they levelled instantly from the restart. Jota’s brilliant pass played Adams in on goal. His first touch was exquisite and with Zimmerman around him he somehow managed to smash a shot past Krul to level the game 72 seconds after Blues conceded.
However, Norwich’s tempo and the interplay and movement of their front four was proving too much to handle for Blues back four and Norwich took full control of the game with two goals in 3 minutes. Vrancic put Norwich back in front with a drilled shot into the bottom corner from outside the area. Trybull then made it three with a free header from a delightful Buendia corner. Trybull beat G Gardener in the air and powered a header past Camp.
Blues were at sixes and sevens every time a Norwich attacker drove with the ball towards them and were lucky to not go in at the break having conceded 4 as Hernandez flashed his shot into the side netting when he really should’ve done better.
Jota was arguably blues best player and he forced Krul into making a decent save to tip his low driven effort past the post.
Half Time: Norwich 3-1 Birmingham
Norwich started the second half positively looking to add a fourth. Vrancic curled an effort over the bar and Colin made a fantastic block to prevent Hernandez from going one-on-one.
The introduction of Craig Gardener and Isaac Vassell in the 56th minute certainly seemed to rejuvenate blues. Jota did brilliantly to beat Lewis and flash the ball across goal. Jota and Vassell then combined well in the penalty area but Jota’s shot was comfortably saved by Krul.
Adams was next up to try his luck but his curling effort from outside the area was well saved by Krul again in the Norwich goal.
Norwich’s attacking threat had fizzled out completely towards the end of the game and Garry Monks men were perhaps unfortunate to not score again deep in added time. A well worked corner routine saw Gardener in acres of space out wide. His teasing ball was inches away from nestling into the top corner. However, the ball evaded everyone and whistled just past the post.
Blues were beaten by a very impressive Norwich side, however, there are plenty of positives to take from this encounter. Che Adams worked tirelessly all night and took his 14th goal of the season expertly. Blues will be looking to bounce back a week on Tuesday when they head to Wales to take on Swansea.
Full Time: Norwich 3-1 Birmingham
Birmingham City Line-up
Camp, Colin, Morrison (C), Dean, Pedersen, Jota (Mahoney 71), G Gardner, Kieftenbeld (C Gardner 56), Maghoma, Adams, Jukewitcz (Vassell 61).
Norwich City Line-up
Krul, Aaron’s, Zimmerman (C), Godfrey, Lewis, Trybull, Vrancic, Buendia (Cantwell 39), Stiepermann, Hernandez (McClean 85), Pukki (Rhodes 85).