FK Dukla Prague 3, Norwich City 1
- Credit: EXPA Pictures/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City slipped to a 3-1 friendly defeat in the opening game of their Austrian tour against a well-drilled FK Dukla Prague outfit in Kumberg on Wednesday evening.
Aldin Cajic and Albiach Nestor notched in either half for the Czech First Division side, playing their eighth game of pre-season, before a late flurry of action saw Josh Murphy reduce the deficit only for Peter Olayinka to restore the Czechs' two-goal advantage.
The likes of John Ruddy, Timm Klose and Cameron Jerome were not involved after training on Wednesday morning at the club's Stegersbach base.
Alex Neil made it clear prior to heading to Austria the plan was to use both friendlies to give all his senior players 80 to 90 minutes, with City scheduled to conclude their tour against Rubin Kazan on Saturday.
Nestor had the first effort of note inside the opening two minutes but a swinging half-volley drifted wide of Declan Rudd's right-hand post.
Josh Murphy replied in the 14th minute when he squared up Ondrej Kusnir but dragged a left-footed shot wide from 14 yards.
His twin responded with an instinctive shot beaten away by Dukla keeper Lukas Hrosso. The Czechs look a significant step up in terms of fitness than Norwich's pre-season tests so far after previous games in Austria against Russian and Hungarian opponents.
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Seb Bassong was penalised for hauling down Jakub Podany but Nestor's free kick struck the City wall. But FK Dukla cut City open in the 28th minute with a deep cross to the back post retrieved by Marek Hanousek for Cajic to head home from point blank range.
Norwich's best prospect of getting back on level terms was predictably through the drive and intent of the Murphys. Jacob twisted into a pocket of space 10 minutes from the interval but rifled straight at Hrosso.
Neil opted to make one change at the interval with Ben Godfrey replacing Louis Thompson at right-back. James Maddison tried to inject some urgency with a quick corner routine on the restart involving Ricky van Wolfswinkel but his cross was collected by Prague half-time replacement Filip Rada.
Maddison then pulled wide before a deep cross Tettey miscued on the volley. The former Coventry City starlet showed a glimpse of his quality a minute before the hour mark with a back heel to lose his marker before drifting past two more but a clip for the top corner drifted a couple of yards over.
Jacob Murphy then picked out his twin but Brainslav Milosevic was brave in blocking the shot from close range.
The Czechs, however, doubled their lead in the 66th minute when the impressive Nestor shrugged off Alex Tettey before drilling a low, left-footed shot past Declan Rudd from 18 yards.
Neil introduced youngster Benny Ashley-Seal for van Wolfswinkel in the closing stages but it was Maddison again who looked most likely with a free kick that arced along the six yard box with no takers in yellow.
Josh Murphy did threaten a late comeback when he notched in the 88th minute but just a minute later slack marking allowed Olayinka to seal the win.
• Norwich City: Rudd, Thompson (Godfrey 45), Bennett, Bassong, Toffolo, Tettey, Dorrans; Jacob Murphy, Maddison, Josh Murphy, van Wolfswinkel (Ashley-Seal 83). Subs (not used): Ramsay, Grant, Middleton, Ashley-Seal.
• Goal: Josh Murphy (88)
• FK Dukla Prague (starting XI): Hrosso, Simunek, Beauguel, Kusnir, Hanousek, Cajic, Nestor, Podany, Stetina, Jeslinek, Povazanec.
• Goals: Cajic (28), Nestor (66), Olayinka (89)