Norwich City 2 Celta Vigo 2

Norwich City's Lewis Grabban was on taget again for the Canaries against Celta Vigo at Carrow Road. Picture: Matthew Usher. Norwich City's Lewis Grabban was on taget again for the Canaries against Celta Vigo at Carrow Road. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Friday, August 1, 2014
9:43 PM

Norwich City’s Lewis Grabban rifled a clinical early brace but the Canaries were pegged back by La Liga outfit Celta Vigo in a testing pre-season finale for Neil Adams’ squad on Friday night at Carrow Road.

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Grabban followed up his first home goal against OGC Nice earlier in the week with two inside five minutes, but Vigo were back on level terms by half-time after Manuel Agudo Nolito and Michael Krohn-Dehli finished off a sustained period of midfield dominance for the impressive Galicians.

Adams’ paired his two summer striker signings Kyle Lafferty and Grabban together for the first time in City’s pre-season campaign, but Norwich’s backline and midfield looked to have a settled look that could well re-appear at Wolves for the Championship kick-off next week.

Martin Olsson returned at full-back with Steven Whittaker on the opposite flank and captain Russell Martin partnering Michael Turner.

Bradley Johnson and Andrew Surman were paired in a central two, with Grabban slightly withdrawn from lone front man Lafferty in a three alongside Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond.

The overlapping Whittaker whipped in a teasing cross aimed at Lafferty but Ruben Blanco went full length to claw out of mid-air inside the opening minutes.

Vigo midfielder Santi Mina worked a pocket of space but drilled a left foot strike the wrong side of John Ruddy’s right-hand post from 18 yards.

The predatory Grabban bagged his second of the week with a cool slot rolled past Blanco from 16 yards after Olsson drifted a pass in behind the Spanish defence.

City’s high press from the front was a noticeable feature of the early sparring, but the La Liga outfit carried an obvious threat on the counter with Vigo captain Alex Lopez forcing Ruddy to gather low to his right.

Another marked feature of Norwich’s pre-season preparations came to the fore again in the 11th minute when Hoolahan danced his way to the byline after exchanging passes with Lafferty before a cut-back confidently sidefooted home by Grabban inside the six-yard box.

Surman’s versatility was underlined in the 17th minute when he left his central station on an overlapping run to collect Grabban’s pass and curl an inviting cross that had no takers in maroon for the hosts.

City were firmly in the ascendancy by the midway point of the opening period and a sustained bout of possession football from back to front saw Redmond’s cut-back slammed at Blanco by a clearly frustrated Surman from 20 yards.

Norwich’s ambition almost proved costly shortly afterwards when another attempt to raid from deep through Hoolahan was intercepted, but Turner was back on the cover to sense the danger from Joaquin Larrivey.

Celta were now starting to redress the balance in midfield and reduced the arrears in the 28th minute when Nolito cutely lifted over the advancing Ruddy from the angle of the six yard box after racing onto Krohn-Dehli’s reverse pass.

Larrivey then unleashed a rising strike that hammered Ruddy’s woodwork from fully 25 yards with the Spanish threatening to get back on level terms prior to the interval.

Martin miscued his header from Redmond’s teasing free kick at the opposite end in what had now become an increasingly rare incursion into Celta’s final third. Redmond then tried his luck but dragged an angled shot wide from just inside the penalty area.

Ruddy was tested again from range but Nolito’s free kick lacked the penetration of his earlier goal, but Krohn-Dehli rifled Vigo level with a low shot that flew past Ruddy two minutes from the interval before Nolito thudded a right-foot hit against the base of Ruddy’s post with the Spaniards now dominant.

Celta maintained their control after the interval and Johnson’s attempts to break up the flow earned him a rare pre-season yellow card, although Levy Madinda’s theatrics did the City midfielder few favours.

Lafferty was withdrawn just prior to the hour mark for Elliott Bennett which pushed Redmond into a more advanced role alongside Grabban.

The England Under-21 starlet twisted his way free but dragged a right-foot shot wide in a positive sign of intent following his re-deployment.

Ruddy was at his imperious best twice inside a minute to deny Yelko Pino before gathering Gustavo Cabral’s powerful header after the Vigo centre back rose unmarked from a visiting corner.

City’s reversion to the midfield diamond triggered more parity in possession as the game entered the final quarter with Hoolahan now able to forage in far more penetrative areas of the Vigo half.

Fabian Orellana’s mazy run and 74th minute strike at Ruddy was a timely reminder of the Spaniards’ threat before Ruddy opted to tip over Hugo Mallo’s dipping shot.

Grabban’s exit for Gary Hooper was greeted by a huge ovation from the home fans, who had clearly enjoyed watching him in Carrow Road friendly action this week, before Anthony Pilkington - the Republic of Ireland international later foreced to clear off his line deep in stoppage time - and Jamar Loza were also given a run-out as Adams put the final touches to this preparations for the Championship opener at Wolves on August 10.

• Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin (R Bennett 84), Turner, Olsson (Garrido 75), Johnson, Redmond (Loza 84), Surman, Hoolahan (Pilkington 81), Lafferty (E Bennett 56), Grabban (Hooper 75). Subs (not used): Rudd, Josh Murphy.

• Goals: Grabban (6, 11)

• Booking Johnson (54)

• Celta Vigo (starting line up): Blanco, Fontas, Mina, Lopez, Nolito, Larrivey, Planas, Castro, Gomez, Krohn-Dehli, Fernandez.

• Goals: Nolito (27), Krohn-Dehli (43)

• Referee: G Horwood (Beds)

• Attendance: 9,829

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23 comments

  • Swiss Canary-How can we be better placed than at the start of the last two seasons when we have gone down a division?

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    borderman

    Sunday, August 3, 2014

  • Too lazy to look it up MB. Wes was, Roeder? Saunders? Macauley?

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    Lincs Canary

    Sunday, August 3, 2014

  • Apropos of nothing:- Of the 19 players, inc. used\unused subs, there were 7 Lambert signings, 6 of Hughton`s, 2 of Adams`, 3 Academy `products`.... and Wes.

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    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, August 3, 2014

  • I was told exact opposite, we were the ones that went to sleep after a brill start, or as mate said "took the foot off the gas" which allowed celta to dominate for a while,until our substitutions put us on front foot again..This may have been due to not wanting to create anymore injuries...I also would rather us bust a gut defending when the season kicked off than in a friendly...

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    alan clark

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • was at carrow road last night and came away a bit disappointed.Great start and then celta vigo woke up!Our defence looked shaky at times and imo whitaker is not good enough even for the championship,he was made to look silly on more than one occaision. rather see martin at RB and Bennett at CB with another brought in for cover.O'neill will strengthen the midfield when he signs as I thought last night we lost midfield,infact C V kept the ball for several minutes at one stage.one big issue I have is why does Ruddy kick upfield from a goal kick,9 times out of ten it goes to the opponents,play from the back like the Europeans do!overall not a bad performance,but nothing to get excited about either!

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    tonyb

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • If Bassong isn't pulling his weight and Adams comes out in public to let our 'shareholders' know then we'll have a non transferable dud defender on our books. If he keeps quiet, stays professional and loyal to his player, making the odd positive statement in the press when asked, he might be able to engineer a loan or transfer away. Same with RvW - £4m is a lot to lose on any player but if Adams had said anything negative we'd be lucky to get £1 for him - or any club to take him and his wages on loan. I'm not saying these are the case but judging by lack of appearances, the overall on-pitch attitude of these two (and Becchio for that matter) in first team and u21 teams, I would say there's more to it than would be in anyone's best interest to air publicly.

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    Dan

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • The season before last Bassong was awesome. I think he is 27\28, so in his prime as a defender and there appears to be little interest from other clubs. Clearly we are now a force going forward but have certain vulnerabilities at the back. Time for some bridge-building and eating of humble pie and get this resolved. Perfect solution.

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    Kent Anglian

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • We are certainly better placed than at the start of the last two seasons, given that the transfer window could still twist us out of shape a bit. I think we all agree about the lack of clarity in the curious case of the Sebastien Bassong. I would have thought that he would appreciate some clarity as well.

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    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • DJ_F I'm a minor shareholder and I totally agree with you. So are several others on these Boards plus I guess loads more I don't know about. I might go to the agm and ask a question if things don't improve.

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    el dingo

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • The annoying thing with the Bassong situation is the lack of communication from the club - again. As supporters and in many cases shareholders we have a right to know what is going on. Communications has been as recurring failure recently.

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Hi, TK. As a few folk have said before, perhaps Elliott Bennett`s future could be as a pacy right-back. The wrong time to start experimenting now, though? Meantime, I think Martin is a better RB than Whittaker. Like you, I believe the time has come to realise the potential of Ryan Bennett at CB. I hope the Bassong situation is cleared up PDQ. It looks like we may be in for some rather different football this season. Do you remember that 6-3 win over L2 Bury last season? Our local sports journos were trumpeting Norwich as "the Great Entertainers". I hope they wait `n` see this time.

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • I chose the Nice game rather than last night so can only comment on snippets from others. I am glad this game actually seemed to give us a real test as we needed it. I think NA has got the attacking side playing well but I really worry about the central defence, I still think Bennett would be a better choice than Martin for centre back but what we really need is an additional left footed centre back unless NA can forgive Bassong and encourage him to put his boots on for the cause.

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    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Seems as if Neil used plan A and plan B. Didn't see the game but the report sounds encouraging.

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    cutty

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • we had a lesson in passing football last night,their manager urging their players on Addams hardly stuck his head out of his little hut, Redmond once again choosing to blast over the bar when other strikers better placed- must do better!

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    borderman

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Celta Vigo were a real test,a step above Nice and probably better than any team City are likely to face in the championship but still showed the ability to pass through a defence so lacking last season and Redmond is a constant threat to defences.Good to see Olsson back but the Spanish side did manage to expose a vulnerability to pace at the back.

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    Peter Watson

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Still unclear regarding Bassong situation. Any news anyone?

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • ... or Dereham, even! I was off "taget" there...

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Again I find myself in agreement with mardler reference Surman. I feared that, when we landed Grabban so quickly, Surman would prove to be part of the deal. Not so, it seems. As mardler says, he and Grabs will have had some game time together. I still think Hooper could play a part - he has scored at this level and no striker was going to thrive under Hughton. Hooper did show brief signs last season that he can score from all distances. Btw, in the header photo, Celta Vigo look dead ringers for Kings Lynn. ;-) Ref `strident` 1p5wichians, we haven`t heard from Frau Farbissina for a while...

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • The managers one wish for this game was to avoid injuries so he should be happy. I suspect that the team playing an effective attacking style and one of his summer signings bagging a brace would not leave him too dismayed either. Other reasons to be cheerful include Wes fully back on board and QPR signing midfielder Mutch from Chump opponents Cardiff. Wonder what Bluebird fans think of the £5m for a 22 year old who scored seven PL goals last season? And what does that make Fer worth, £1m?

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    Lincs Canary

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Good telling points from AGT. We shall know the answers shortly, I believe 11th paragraph in the report " Surman's versatility was underlined in the 17th minute....is also revealing ...as I stated previously we missed his team play badly last season. However as it happens NA's perception in bringing him back rather than parting with him to Eddie Howe and trumping that with bringing in Grabban who profited from Surmans play last season shows we have an astute man in charge. Now with bated breath we wait to see whether NA will prove a manager who can take the Championship by storm technically and earn a place in Canaries folklore! An additional point for those espousing Town's cause in these columns through unnecessarily strident and prejudiced observations - look at DVD's 'Demolition Derby One & Two' especially Two (Portman Road) when Town supporters came to Crow and instead were forced to eat Crow! - then count Surman's touches on the ball!

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    mardler

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • AGT Hooper guaranteed 20-25 goals in a full season, what happened last season, he had enough chances. Grabban and Lafferty look ok.

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    Derek McDonald

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Good game tonight against Celta Vigo with a number of relevant questions .I like the two new signings,but surely Hooper should be one of the two main strikers.He would virtually guarantee the team 20-25goals in a full season. He adds "Bite" to the forward line which is essential in the Championship. The Manager must be worried about the defence,who struggled against quick moving opponents.Bennet must be given a chance to claim one of the centre back positions. Tonight he was not used until late on.The lad has never let the team down and he has real potential. Unless we are holding on to all the players who are attracting attention,certainly more signings are required.Lack of signings last January led to relegation and that was predictable at the time. My request to those players who may be leaving would be, give it to the Jan window and if the Club are not looking like a promotion outfit, then go, you will have given the Club a chance.

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    AGT

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • Looks another positive result. OK, so we lost a 2 goal lead - but .....back in May they beat Real Madrid 2-0, So they cant be that bad...

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    zebbee

    Friday, August 1, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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