Bournemouth 2 Norwich City 1: Wasteful Canaries exit Carabao Cup at Premier League Cherries
Norwich City paid for a number of missed chances in a spirited 2-1 Carabao Cup fourth round defeat to top flight Bournemouth on Tuesday night.
Daniel Farke’s men were more than a match for the south-coast outfit but bowed out of the competition with Junior Stanislas and Steve Cook on target in each half.
Onel Hernandez had replied to set up an exciting final quarter, but Norwich were unable to find a clinicial edge to get back on level terms.
Hernandez set the tone early on when he hared down the left, but Mario Vrancic’s swinging left-footed effort was pushed away by Artur Boruc.
Jermain Defoe used all that vast experience to buy a sliver of space in the Norwich penalty area before wrapping his right footed dig narrowly wide of Michael McGovern’s left-hand upright.
City looked every bit as bright and confident as Eddie Howe had alluded to in his post-match programme notes when he stated the Cherries would have to be ‘at their very best to prevail’. Tom Trybull and Vrancic, in particular, appeared to relish the extra space and the less intense pressing from the Premier League hosts compared to what they encounter in Championship combat.
Vrancic cleverly pulled wide in the 12th minute to offer Hernandez counter-attacking support. The Bosnian could see the bigger picture before the ball arrived, cushioning an instant pass infield to Dennis Srbeny who tugged a low effort off target.
Trybull’s defensive vulnerability, however, was evident when he was isolated with Jordon Ibe, who shifted the ball onto his right but cracked a rising shot over.
Vrancic advanced again in the 18th minute before clipping a gorgeous pass around the back-pedalling Bournemouth backline. Felix Passlack controlled with his first touch but pulled his shot from the edge of the area.
There was no trace of any inferiority complex from Daniel Farke’s much-changed line up. Howe was a constant presence at the front of the home technical area. His City rival appeared the happier, coolly seated next to his coaching staff.
Directly in front of Farke, Jamal Lewis’ personal tussle with Ibe was offering an intriguing sub-plot. The Norwich youngster has had a superb start to his professional career but this was another step up in his education against a top flight operator.
The Northern Irish international has spoken publicly this season about adding an attacking dimension to his full back play, and there was a dangerous burst and low cross in the 35th minute that just needed a gambling run from Srbeny.
But it was a rare penetrative moment after those opening salvoes from Vrancic and Defoe, in a game stamped with plenty of mutual respect.
That ended in the 39th minute when Stanislas punished Pinto’s decision to press the ball higher up the park to control Defoe’s layoff and slam a shot into the roof of McGovern’s net.
Yet that merely sparked City into concerted action. Srbeny escaped his marker only to lift an attempted chip against the on-rushing Boruc.
Vrancic then twisted inside two players but curled an outswinger wide, with Boruc seemingly beaten. Then in first half stoppage time Srbeny powered onto Hernandez’s through ball only to guide a left footed shot against the inside of Boruc’s post.
From the corner Tettey lashed over but there was a palpable sense of relief from the home fans when Lee Mason signalled for half-time.
Norwich emerged in the same obdurate mood after the restart. Lewis led the breakout before Hernandez’s attempt was blocked.
Zimmermann took emergency action to halt Stanislas at the cost of a booking but the goalscorer’s free kick struck the white-shirted wall.
Hernandez’s pace troubled Bournemouth again on the hour mark but he delayed his cutback to Srbeny. Passlack skied the resulting corner over.
The entrance of Ryan Fraser perhaps illustrated Howe’s concern with the former Ipswich loanee a stand out performer in the Cherries’ impressive Premier League start.
Vrancic’s deflected shot flew to Boruc with City now probing on the counter in the midst of Bournemouth’s midfield control.
The Polish international then pushed Hernandez’s close range shot against his near post in another City flurry.
Farke responded with Emi Buendia replacing Pinto. But it was Hernandez who drew the Canaries level, controlling Trybull’s chip on his left before a wrong-footing volley past Boruc.
The force was with Farke’s side. For barely two minutes. Cook lashed home a corner the visitors were unable to clear at the first attempt.
Back came Norwich. Vrancic was upended but his free kick from the edge of the area flew at Boruc. Teemu Pukki was introduced for Trybull in the closing stages after his recent injury lay-off before Jordan Rhodes’ entrance marked the final throw of the dice.
Hernandez fired a shot into the side netting in the first of seven additional minutes. Srbeny then appeared to lose his bearings in heading Vrancic’s cross over, before the unmarked Rhodes should have at least forced penalties when he planted Vrancic’s cross wide in City’s final clear-cut chance of the tie.
• Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis (Simpson 87), Cook, Daniels, Pugh, Gosling, Surman, Rico, Stanislas, Defoe (Wilson 71), Ibe (Fraser 61). Subs (not used): Travers (GK), Mousset, Taylor, Ofoborh.
• Goals: Stanislas (39), Cook (72)
• Booking: Rico (foul on Pinto, 48)
• Norwich City: McGovern, Pinto (Buendia 68), Godfrey, Zimmermann, Lewis, Tettey, Trybull (Pukki 83), Passlack (Rhodes 87), Vrancic, Hernandez, Srbeny. Subs (not used): Krul (GK), Leitner, Klose, Aarons.
• Goal: Hernandez (70)
• Booking: Zimmermann (foul on Stanislas, 49)
• Referee: Lee Mason (Lancs)
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