Norwich City U23s 0 Sunderland U23s 1 – Canaries miss out on place in Premier League International Cup final
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
There was semi-final heartbreak for Norwich City Under-23s after a fine goalkeeping display saw Sunderland emerge victorious from a hard-fought encounter.
Senior players Mitchell Dijks, Youssouf Mulumbu and Matt Jarvis bolstered the young Canaries, who had the first major chance after Black Cats keeper Max Stryjek claimed a loose ball a yard outside of his area. Glenn Middleton fired the resulting free-kick low but the keeper redeemed himself with a good save to his right.
The visitors took the lead in the 13th minute though when Joel Asoro got in behind the City defence and poked under Aston Oxborough for 1-0.
Stryjek was in the thick of the action again in the 32nd minute, after George Brady had upended Ebou Adams on the edge of the Sunderland box, Jarvis whipped in the free-kick from the left and Godfrey appeared to have his shirt tugged as he went for the header, with the referee giving a penalty.
Middleton stepped up to take the spot-kick – fresh from scoring four goals in three games for the Scotland U17s – but saw Stryjek dive to his left to make a good save and retain the lead for the visitors.
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The Canaries started the second half with more urgency but the Blacks Cats hit the bar in the 54th minute when Lynden Gooch's shot spun up off Efete, with Oxborough beaten.
That let-off was followed by Adams heading on target for the hosts from a Jarvis cross from the left.
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Mulumbu was replaced on the hour as he continued to make his way back from a thigh problem.
Oxborough was out smartly to thwart Asoro in the 65th minute and the hosts went on the offensive for the rest of the half, with Middleton forcing two good low saves from Stryjek in quick succession around the 80th minute.
Sunderland sat deep and thwarted City to hold on to their lead though, with Godfrey heading on to the top of the bar in the 90th minute the closest the Canaries came to an equaliser.
Some of the Norwich players dropped to the floor at full-time, unable to hide their disappointment, as Sunderland went through to the final.
Norwich U23s: Oxborough; Ramsay, Godfrey (C), Efete, Dijks; Grant (Jaiyesimi 74), Mulumbu (McGrandles 59), Adams; Jarvis, Ashley-Seal, Middleton. Unused subs: Hallett (GK), Aransibia, Crowe, Aarons, Odusina.
Sunderland: Stryjek, Love, Hume, Embleton, Brady, Beadling, Honeyman, Ethan Robson (C - Molyneux 49), Asoro (Josh Robson 67), Gooch (Maja 88), Greenwood. Subs: Talbot (GK), Casey, Wright, Yves Poame.
Referee: Mr N Hair
Attendance: 3,000 (estimated)