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David Freezer: Crowning goal summed up this special Norwich City side perfectly

Mario Vrancic celebrates with the Championship trophy at Villa Park 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Mario Vrancic celebrates with the Championship trophy at Villa Park Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

The goal which sealed Norwich City's wonderful title success was the perfect icing for this Championship cake, a fitting way for the champions to be crowned.

Mario Vrancic was again the man rising to the occasion and finding the back of the net at the crucial moment, so much so that his name will now by synonymous with this campaign's special story for many years to come.

This goal started from the back though, with Tim Krul quickly feeding one of the young guns of which he has demanded such high standards of throughout this season.

From there it was Ben Godfrey – fresh from mounting speculation linking him with Manchester United due to his agency links with Rio Ferdinand – building the move from defence with a sharp pass to Vrancic in midfield, squeezing the ball between two Aston Villa players.

Vrancic flicked the ball quickly out to the left and then it was the athletic legs of another of City's young stars, Jamal Lewis, to stretch the play and keep the move building down the left wing, using his pace and pressing into space against a tiring home side, cutting infield and leaving 35-year-old Glenn Whelan chasing his shadow.

Then it was back to Vrancic, with the man whose thunderbolt had sealed promotion against Blackburn at Carrow Road the previous weekend holding back in space as the counter-attack built.

As the ball ran into Super Mario's path the midfielder checked his run to open up the bit of daylight he needed to shoot, and thumped a low right-footed strike beyond the grasping glove of Jed Steer.

Tim Krul, centre, started the move from which Mario Vrancic, right, scored Norwich City's winner at Aston Villa Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesTim Krul, centre, started the move from which Mario Vrancic, right, scored Norwich City's winner at Aston Villa Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Youth, pace, power and technique – the Daniel Farke blueprint to becoming the best team in the Championship. And the division's late goal kings of course sealed their trophy celebrations with typical aplomb.

It may not have been an injury-time winner like those dramatic late moments against Bolton and Millwall earlier in the season, but finding the back of the net in the 84th minute was enough to kill off the Villa resistance.

The play-off bound hosts were spent, they'd given it their best shot and had caused the Canaries plenty of problems but there's just no denying Vrancic at the moment.

The 29-year-old has finished a campaign which started so frustratingly with injury by notching three goals in four games – and rather memorable goals at that.

From his sublime injury-time free-kick which rescued a home draw against Sheffield Wednesday, to setting up Teemu Pukki's crucial leveller at Stoke on Easter Monday and then drilling that awesome winner against Blackburn, it had already been a good couple of weeks for Vrancic.

Scoring the goal which ensures promotion goes hand-in-hand with the Championship trophy was another huge moment in the career of the man signed from Darmstadt for around £650,000 in 2017.

His contract is up in 2020 and he may well have done enough to join the growing collection of players eyeing talks with Stuart Webber. After 10 goals and 10 assists from 38 games in all competitions, the classy Bosnian has proved he's a player Farke can trust at crunch time.

The win meant the champions finished the season with a 14-game unbeaten run, a very tidy 10 wins and four draws, leaving them with just one loss in 2019.

Another two goals settles on a total of 93, a club record in the second tier, surpassing the 88 managed by Alex Neil's promotion winners of 2014-15 but short of the 99 in Division Three South in 1952-53.

Three points also drew level on the club record points tally for the second tier, matching the 94 managed by Nigel Worthington's team in 2004 – although 12 away wins was one short of that managed by the play-off winners of 2014-15.

Then of course there's that man Pukki, notching his 30th goal of a ruthless campaign in front of goal, 29 of them in the league and that means just one player has managed more in a season for City – with Ralph Hunt's 31 of 1955-56 remaining out in front.

In other words, it's been a special season, one which we will be talking about for nay years to come. With so much youth and inexperience mixed with spirit and bravery, it's almost been an underdog story.

Rising from 14th amid drastic financial cut backs and managing to finish top of the pile as the deserved winners of the title is quite simply an amazing achievement for Farke in just his second season in England.

What can this approach achieve in the Premier League? I can't wait to find out the answer.

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