Teemu Pukki fires Norwich to victory at Blackpool


Teemu Pukki’s predatory finish handed in-form Norwich a 1-0 victory at Blackpool.

Pukki bagged his fourth goal in as many games to hand Dean Smith’s side a deserved seventh win in their last eight.

That leaves Norwich still on the coat-tails of leaders Sheffield United while stuttering Blackpool slid to a worrying fourth defeat in five matches.

After a cagey opening spell, it was the hosts who fashioned the first opportunity after seven minutes.

Following some neat interplay, Kenny Dougall touched the ball to Ian Poveda only for his well-hit 25-yard drive to fly a foot past the far post.

The Seasiders are always a tough prospect on their own turf and high-flying Norwich found that out in the early exchanges.

Michael Appleton’s men were denied by the woodwork after 17 minutes.

Charlie Patino did all the hard work before unleashing a shot which deflected into the path of Theo Corbeanu but the Canadian front man saw his first-time angled strike thump the outside of a post before going behind.

The Canaries broke the deadlock in the 21st minute against the run of play.

Blackpool’s Dom Thompson was the villain of the piece as he presented the ball to Pukki and the Finn obliged, racing clear before coolly beating Chris Maxwell from 15 yards.

Now with their tails up, Norwich almost went two clear soon after when Aaron Ramsey’s crisp strike forced Maxwell into a brilliant diving save.

The woodwork then came to Blackpool’s rescue when an unmarked Kenny McLean headed against a post.

Minutes later Marcelino Nunez’s free-kick struck the crossbar as the Canaries were now the dominant force.

Nunez forced Maxwell into another superb diving stop just before the break.

Blackpool appeared re-energized after the restart and early on Jerry Yates forced a fine stop from Tim Krul. Callum Wright then fizzed a low free-kick inches off target.

The Canaries gradually regained their momentum and threatened when skipper Grant Hanley headed onto the roof of the net.

By the midway point in the second period the visitors were firmly in control and they then missed a terrific double opportunity.

Pukki forced Maxwell into another fine low stop with the follow-up from Josh Sargent frantically blocked on the line by Jordan Gabriel.

Norwich were looking ominous, with the impressive Ramsey then teed up for a strike which was well gathered by Maxwell.

Yates and sub Gary Madine tested Krul’s reflexes at the other end but otherwise Norwich comfortably hung on for maximum points.

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