Buendia the hero against Brentford as City win a third consecutive game – but only just
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City made it three wins in three games thanks to Emi Buendia's first goal in English football – but they were made to work hard for the three points by Brentford.
Buendia's strike gave the hosts the lead in the 34th minute and it should have been 2-0 at the break only for Jordan Rhodes to miss a penalty.
The Bees really should have earned a draw but were denied by Tim Krul with a double save midway through the second half and saw Neal Maupay hit the bar as the Canaries desperately held out for the three points.
City boss Daniel Farke made just one change to his starting line-up, bringing Alex Tettey back in for Tom Trybull and deciding to keep the pace of Onel Hernandez on the bench.
The Bees threatened first, with former Canaries winger Sergi Canos shooting from the edge of the box and a deflection off Christoph Zimmermann causing Krul to spill the ball, only for Maupay to foul Zimmermann as he tried to get to the loose ball.
The sides were largely cancelling each other out with their similar styles as rain started to hammer down, with thoughts of fans drifting to anti-Paul Lambert songs on the back of the former City manager's arrival at arch rivals Ipswich.
However, the class of Timm Klose emerged with a wonderful long ball forward in the 34th minute, which Buendia ran on to and took first time to poke under the on-rushing keeper from just inside the box and spark the atmosphere into life at Carrow Road.
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All of a sudden the hosts were rampant and Marco Stieperman couldn't quite find Rhodes in the box soon after but Cantwell did in the 38th minute and the striker – fresh from two goals in the win over Aston Villa in midweek – poked a low shot just beyond the far post.
The Sheffield Wednesday loanee had a golden chance to make it 2-0 in first half injury-time though, when Max Aarons was bundled over trying to get on the end of a Jamal Lewis cross from the left, with a penalty given against Ollie Watkins.
Rhodes inexplicably rolled a weak spot-kick to Dan Bentley's left though and the keeper saved easily, replicating his penalty miss at 1-0 up against West Brom at Carrow Road earlier in the season, which ended up being a 4-3 defeat.
Rhodes headed just wide from a Buendia corner early in the second half but knew little about it.
Brentford looked brighter after the break but City were dogged in their defensive work to repel plenty of pressure. Bees centre-back Ezri Konza made a fine tackle to stop Cantwell reaching a Rhodes flick into the box on the hour, stopping the youngster going clean through.
Leitner's lovely ball forward between Chris Mephan and Bentley caused chaos in the 68th minute and the keeper thumped a clearance against Rhodes which left the striker dazed, as the Bees escaped.
The visitors should have been level in the 72nd minute though, with Krul beating away a pot shot from Said Benrahma, then getting down to deny fellow substitute Lewis MacLeod, before an astonishing miss from the Championship's top scorer Maupay at the back post, smashing against the crossbar from close range.
There was a golden chance for Cantwell to wrap it up in the 82nd minute as he was played clean through into the left channel by Leitner but his low shot was weak and held easily by Bentley.
Buendia pulled up with a bit of cramp and was replaced by Hernandez with seven minutes left but it was Norwich doing all the defending late on, with Klose making a vital headed clearance from a Benrahma cross from the left in injury-time.
That made sure of a seventh win in nine league games to move Farke's team up to third in the Championship table ahead of Forest's game at Leeds in the late kick-off.
City are back in action on Tuesday night away to Premier League side Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup fourth round, ahead of a trip to Sheffield Wednesday in the league next Saturday.
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis; Tettey (C), Leitner (Trybull 90+2); Buendia (Hernandez 84), Stiepermann, Cantwell; Rhodes (Srbeny 79). Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Godfrey, Marshall, Vrancic
Goals: Buendia (34)
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Konsa, Mepham, Barbet; Yennaris (MacLeod 72), Sawyers (C); Canos (Benrahma 57), Mokotjo (McEachran 30), Watkins; Maupay. Unused subs: Daniels (GK), Odubajo, Judge, Clarke
Booked: Dalsgaard (foul on Cantwell, 5)
Referee: Oliver Langford