Dorados de Sinaloa 0, Norwich City 3
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton's Canaries cruised to an opening friendly win on their USA tour with a second half salvo sinking Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa in Sacramento.
Anthony Pilkington's half-time arrival had the desired effect as City struck three times in six minutes. Luciano Becchio opened his account for the club when he despatched Robert Snodgrass' inviting near post cross. Pilkington then slotted a cool second before Josh Murphy sealed the win with a thumping strike from 16 yards.
Hughton resisted any temptation to blood Dutch new boys Leroy Fer and Ricky van Wolfswinkel ahead of MLS tests against San Jose and Portland. Nathan Redmond was the only summer signing to feature before making way as one of five half-time changes.
Redmond slotted into a wide left role from the off with Becchio reliant on Jacob Butterfield for support. Alex Tettey partnered David Fox in central midfield whilst the fit-again Andrew Surman interestingly was deployed by Hughton in an unaccustomed left back berth. The Mexicans had the first foray of the match when Hector Velazquez's cross drifted beyond John Ruddy's far post. Fox then tested Jesus Garcia's reflexes in the seventh minute with a driven free kick after Redmond had coaxed a foul from Elio Castro.
Dani Ayala landed heavily on the re-turfed baseball diamond challenging Jose Contreras but the Spaniard was eventually helped to his feet without the aid of treatment. Surman exhibited sound defensive instincts to dispossess Jesus Padilla but a wayward pass intended for Becchio curtailed a potential counter.
Ruddy was then forced into meaningful action to clutch Adolfo Dominguez's hit from the edge of the area but it was City who almost broke the deadlock when Fox's dipping 20-yard free kick destined for the top corner clawed out by Garcia.
Doradas looked keen to impose themselves in midfield areas but City were more than content to contain and break up any sporadic threat when it ebbed towards Ruddy's goal. Set pieces were seemingly the best route to a possible opener, with Joshua Abrego's glancing header flying over before Velasquez was crowded out by Ryan Bennett and Ayala.
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Dominguez was yellow-carded for a tug back on Fox in a strange lack of leniency from the official given the relaxed proceedings. Adel Gafaiti then burst forward but his intended cross was tipped over by Garcia.
Robert Snodgrass tested Garcia within seconds of the restart, although fellow new arrival Pilkington was pleading for a cut back. Elliott Bennett slipped into a defensive berth down the right to accommodate Snodgrass with Javier Garrido and Pilkington given a swift chance to renew acquaintances down the left. Ryan Bennett wiped out Jose Contreras inches from the edge of his own penalty area in the 51st minute, but City's wall provided a sturdy barrier.
Norwich were certainly exhibiting more attacking threat in the opening 15 minutes after the interval. Pilkington's far post header momentarily teased Butterfield but his attempted half-volley was well dealt with by a swarming Mexican defence.
Pilkington again attempted to break the impasse with a jinking run inside three defenders but dragged his low angled right-footer at Garcia. City's greater urgency broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when Becchio powerfully rose above his marker to glance home Snodgrass' deft cross six yards out to open his account for the Canaries. The Argentine then provided nuisance value inside the Dorados area for Pilkington to cap his vibrant second half cameo with a low right footer drilled past Garcia.
Murphy continued the goal rush in the 70th minute with a sublime rising volley that arrowed into Garcia's top left-hand corner. City looked content to play out time for the remainder of their tour opener but Mark Bunn was belatedly pressed into service four minutes from the end when he parried Javier Salas's effort.
• Dorados de Sinaloa (starting XI): Garcia, Castro, Brouzatti, Saldivar, Dominguez, Velasquez, Padilla, Contreras, Villegas, Abrego. Subs: Carisosa, Quiroz, Ibarra, Salas, Rodriguez, Orozo, Lopez.
• Booking: Dominguez (37), Castro (85)
• Norwich City: Ruddy (Bunn 45) Gaifiti (Garrido 45), Ryan Bennett, Ayala (Martin 45), Tettey (Snodgrass 45), Fox, Elliott Bennett (Whittaker 67), Butterfield (Josh Murphy 67), Becchio, Redmond (Pilkington 45), Surman. Sub (not used): Nash.
• Goals: Becchio (64), Pilkington (68), Murphy (70)
• Attendance: 14,014