Manchester City 2, Norwich City 3
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A magnificent solo goal by midfielder Jonny Howson clinched a notable victory for Norwich City as they wrapped up their season by beating Premier League runners-up Manchester City on their own ground.
Howson's moment of magic came after 65 minutes as he weaved past four opponents before netting for the second Sunday in a row.
It was only the second league away win for Chris Hughton's team this season and it gave them a final place of 11th in the table - one higher than a year ago.
The Canaries were well worth their victory as they led three times, twice to be pegged back by goals from Jack Rodwell, who must have been disappointed to be substituted after Howson struck.
Anthony Pilkington fired Norwich into the lead after 26 minutes after persistence from Wes Hoolahan set up the chance, but Rodwell equalised for the hosts three minutes later after a neat touch by Edin Dzeko.
Skipper Grant Holt restored the Canaries' advantage nine minutes into the second half with his eighth goal of the season, finishing off a superb move involving Hoolahan and Robert Snodgrass.
It was Rodwell who replied again on 59 minutes, however, outpacing Steven Whittaker to shoot past goalkeeper John Ruddy after a pass from Yaya Toure.
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But the stage was set for Howson to follow his marvellous goal against West Bromwich Albion with a memorable solo effort. Taking possession in his own half, he went past four blue shirts before coolly rolling his shot past England keeper Joe Hart.
Substitute Alex Tettey might have made it 4-2 in stoppage time but Norwich held on for a well-deserved three points to end the campaign with back-to-back wins.
It was Norwich's first league win away to Manchester City since 1997, when they won 2-1 at Maine Road.
The Canaries made one change after the 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion with Steven Whittaker recalled in defence in place of Sebastien Bassong, who was named player of the season earlier in the week but was believed to be carrying a knee injury.
Midfielder Jacob Butterfield, yet to make a Premier League appearance for Norwich, was promoted to the substitutes' bench, while David Fox was also recalled to the 18, but there was no place for Simeon Jackson.
Manchester City were still recovering from the double shock of their FA Cup final defeat by Wigan and the sacking of manager Roberto Mancini, but were guaranteed runners-up spot in the table. Brian Kidd took charge of the Blues for the last game of the season.
Striker Sergio Aguero, who limped off in Tuesday's 2-0 win at Reading, was on the bench, but defenders Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure and Matija Nastasic were all missing.
Full-back Pablo Zabaleta was available again after suspension and captained the side.
Referee Mark Halsey was officiating for the last time in his career.
For Norwich, it was their latest finish to a season for 50 years, stretching back to the bad winter of 1963.
The Canaries took the field in their new kit, and it was the Blues who kicked off with Mancini's name still being sung from the stands.
Russell Martin had slotted into Bassong's central defensive role alongside Ryan Bennett, with Whittaker taking over at right-back.
Holt burst forward on the right in the third minute, but his cross was far too strong for his team-mates to take advantage.
Johnson had a shot blocked by Snodgrass before Norwich forced the first corner, but the kick by Snodgrass was headed away by Dzeko.
The hosts' first corner came when Garrido slid the ball away from Zabaleta, but Dzeko headed well over the top from Milner's kick.
Snodgrass produced the first Norwich shot on target after nine minutes but straight at Hart.
Holt turned in the area on to a pass from Hoolahan and pulled a left-foot shot across goal, as another warning to the home side.
A glancing header by Dzeko from Nasri's cross after 15 minutes brought Ruddy into action, then Ryan Bennett made a timely intereception from Milner's pass. Martin cut out a cross from Zabaleta as the Blues threatened again down the right.
Zabaleta conceded a corner with a challenge on Pilkington that looked a shade risky, then when the corner was cleaed Pilkington let fly with a shot that clattered into Yaya Toure and prompted appeals for handball that went unanswered by the official.
The resulting corner almost provided the opening goal on 22 minutes as Ryan Bennett met Snodgrass' kick with a goalbound header that Lescott cleared from just in front of the goalline.
With 26 minutes gone, however, the Canaries' increasing pressure brought its reward as Pilkington fired them ahead.
Persistence by Johnson and especially Hoolahan created the opening as the little Irishman poked the ball through for Pilkington to beat Hart with a low right-foot shot.
It was Pilkington's fifth goal of the season and his first since the 4-3 home defeat by the Blues in December.
The lead lasted only three minutes, however, as Rodwell levelled the scores.
Nasri's pass was met with a neat lay-off by Dezko and Rodwell gave Ruddy no chance with a well-struck finish.
Snodgrass attempted to restore Norwich's lead two minutes later with a curling free-kick that Hart pushed over the bar, Johnson heading wide from the resulting corner by Snodgrass.
Tevez wriggled into the area in an attempt to make it 2-1 but his shot took a deflection on its way out and, from Kolarov's corner, Dzeko headed downwards, the ball bouncing over the bar.
Dezko was off target again as he raced in to meet Milner's cross, and as Norwich counter-attacked swiftly, Kolarov was close to an own goal as he knocked Hoolahan's cross over the bar.
Three minutes before the break, the visitors almost regained the lead when Snodgrass drilled a shot into the six-yard box and Martin, sliding in, just failed to get enough of a touch to divert the ball past Hart.
A neat passing move ended with Garrido's cross being gathered by Hart, but the full-back was caught by a nasty challenge by Milner that should have warranted a yellow card.
As the half entered stoppage time, Tevez and Howson were spoken to by the official after a flare-up on the halfway line.
• Half-time: Manchester City 1, Norwich City 1
Norwich almost recaptured the lead three minutes after the break when a Snodgrass free-kick gave Johnson a free header and Hart had to dive to his left to claw away the midfielder's effort.
Just five minutes into the half, Kidd decided to replace Tevez with Aguero, a decision greeted initially with booing before the Argentine departed to a big ovation.
In the 54th minute, the Canaries did regain their advantage when Holt scored his eighth goal of the season, rounding off a splendid move.
Hoolahan's superb diagonal pass picked out Snodgrass on the right and his first-time centre eluded everyone until Holt arrived beyond the far post to sidefoot home.
This time the lead lasted only five minutes as Rodwell scored his second of the afternoon.
Norwich were caught on the counter-attack as Yaya Toure's pass put Rodwell through on the left and he managed to outpace Whittaker before shooting just inside the post, out of Ruddy's reach.
The home side, from looking ragged, had their tails up and after Milner had a shot blocked by Garrido, Dzeko fired over the top.
The goals were flying in now and Howson put the Canaries ahead for the third time with a superb solo goal.
Taking possession inside his own half, Howson set off on a determined run that took him past four challenges before he rolled a low shot past Hart.
Both sides made changes before play restarted, Silva replacing double goalscorer Rodwell for the hosts, and Tettey sent on for an unhappy looking Johnson for the Canaries.
Milner fired off target as the Blues tried to find a way back into the game again.
Snodgrass needed attention after substitute Tettey accidentally caught the back of the winger's head with his knee as he tumbled to the ground.
Dzeko turned over a cross by Milner with 12 minutes left, as the home side tried to get on terms.
Whittaker went forward for the Canaries but sliced his shot horribly wide when there may have been better options.
Hughton made another change with nine minutes left when Pilkington made way for Elliott Bennett.
Lescott was booked, the first yellow card of the afternoon, for shoving Hoolahan to the ground in frustration.
Ruddy denied Aguero at the expense of a corner with just two minutes to go.
In the final minute, Holt made way for Becchio in Norwich's final change.
As the game went into three minutes of added time, Tettey missed a golden chance to make it 4-2 when his shot swerved wide with Becchio unmarked and waiting for the pass.
• Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Richards, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Rodwell (Silva, 65), Yaya Toure, Nasri; Tevez (Aguero, 50), Dzeko. Subs (not used): Pantilimon, Clichy, Maicon, Javi Garcia, Barry.
• Norwich City: Ruddy; Whittaker, Ryan Bennett, Martin, Garrido; Howson, Johnson (Tettey, 65); Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Pilkington (Elliott Bennett, 81); Holt (Becchio, 90). Subs (not used): Bunn, Barnett, Fox, Butterfield.
• Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).
• Attendance: 47,054
• Goals: Manchester City: Rodwell (29, 59). Norwich: Pilkington (26), Holt (54), Howson (65)
• Bookings: Manchester City: Lescott (84)