Norwich City U21s 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach U21s 0
- Credit: Archant
Sebastien Bassong played an hour as Norwich City Under-21s beat European opposition at Carrow Road thanks to a fine Carlton Morris goal in the second half this evening.
Bassong was one of four senior players included alongside goalkeeper Declan Rudd and Spanish defenders Ignasi Miquel and Javier Garrido for the under-21 clash with Gladbach.
The German top-flight club are in Group A of the Premier League International Cup alongside the Canaries, group leaders Chelsea and the U21s of Portugese giants Porto.
City lost their opening match 5-0 at Chelsea last month but Gladbach were able to hold the Blues to a 1-1 draw in their first game. The only other game in the group so far saw Chelsea win 2-1 at home against Porto.
The Foals are renowned for their youth development in Germany and can count former three-time World Cup winner Lothar Matthäus among the young players the club has helped develop into senior players.
Tickets for the match were again free, following in the success of other U21s games at Carrow Road this season. This attracted 10,405 people for a 3-1 win over Tottenham in October, 8,830 for a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in December and 9,682 for a 1-1 draw with Manchester United earlier this month.
Just under 4,000 watched a goalless first half but many of those home supporters thought the Canaries had scored in the 30th minute.
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That came after Josh Murphy played a corner short to Garrido, whose cross was met by a stretching Morris, whose header deflected on to the underside of the bar. The ball then looked like it had just crossed the line but referee Neil Hair ruled the ball had not after Gladbach keeper Niklas Bolten snatched it back into his grasp.
Otherwise the home support had their eyes fixed on the progress of Bassong – and saw plenty to be pleased about.
The former Cameroon international looked very much like an experienced 28-year-old playing amongst mostly younger players, using his strength to ease the visiting attackers away from the ball.
Mixed in with some trademark bursts forward out of defence to earn his midfielders some space and plenty of commanding shouting, Bassong certainly looked determined to impress.
The big centre-back and Garrido were substituted in the 61st minute, shortly before the young Canaries took the lead.
Murphy had gone close following a trademark run down the left early in the second half and then hit the bar in the 56th minute, after a lovely pass from Ray Grant.
The exciting winger turned provider in the 63rd minute, chipping to Morris on the edge of the box, who chested the ball into his path to the left of the box and quickly fired a shot across the keeper into the bottom-right corner for 1-0.
Murphy again went close straight after the goal but was denied from close range by Bolten.
The visitors generally controlled the rest of the game without coming too close to scoring, with City down to 10 men after substitute Reiss Awuah limped off in the 87th minute, after all three substitutions had been made.
Rudd then made a great save in the closing minutes of the game, punching a clever Joshua Holtby free-kick from the left off his goal-line, to ensure City held on to their victory.
Norwich: Rudd; Hall-Johnson, Bassong (McFadden 61), Miquel, Garrido (Awuah 61); Norman (C), McGrandles, Grant; Kelly (Efete 45), Morris, Murphy. Unused subs: Oxborough (GK), Gafaiti, Fox, Cole.
Monchengladbach: Bolten; Berauer, Mero, N'Kansah, Manca (Van Den Berg 88); Holtby, Brandenburger (C), Lieder (Canadi 72), Mohr; Mickels (Eckert 64), Yeboah. Unused subs: Mischenko, Hoffmanns, Ograjensek.
Referee: Neil Hair