Norwich City U23s 3 Celtic U23s 0 – Attacking Canaries talent proves too much for young Hoops
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
The attacking talents of Norwich City's youngsters proved too hot to handle for the academy products of Scottish giants Celtic.
Strapping striker Carlton Morris led the line effectively and also led the way to victory with two goals for the young Canaries.
The pace and trickery of Josh Murphy also caused the Hoops problems all night, as the winger scored the other goal and impressed in front of watching first-team manager Alex Neil.
Adding experience to the home line-up were goalkeeper Paul Jones and defenders Steven Whittaker and Michael Turner, with the forward threats of Josh Murphy, Sergi Canos and Morris also having plenty of senior miles in the tank.
Scotland international Whittaker, formerly of Celtic's bitter rivals Rangers, started the move which set City on their way in just the sixth minute. The full-back played Canos into the right channel and the Spaniard was too quick for visiting skipper Jamie McCart, who tripped the winger to give away a clear penalty.
Morris stepped up to take the spot-kick and tucked the ball into the bottom-right corner, beyond the outstretched glove of Leonardo Fasan to put the Canaries 1-0 in front.
Morris and Murphy both had fine chances to doubled the lead in quick succession but hesitated at the crucial moment.
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Morris out-paced centre-back Fiacre Kelleher in the 16th minute but opted to shoot low to his left and Italian keeper Fasan guessed correctly to deny him.
Less than two minutes later Morris, who spent last season on loan in Scotland with Hamilton, released Murphy down the left and the tricky winger surged into space but rather than rolling back to Morris six yards out, opted to shoot and saw his low effort deflect behind.
Adam Nesbitt lashed a shot just wide for the visitors in the 20th minute but City dominated the first half, with Todd Cantwell and Murphy both showing their skills.
Ebou Adams forced another good save from Fasan from a Murphy corner in the dying embers of the half and Murphy saw a deflected shot loop onto the crossbar, but Celtic hung on to still be in with a chance at the break.
Canos smashed a low shot against the post early in the second half before the Hoops began to find their feet, with winger Calvin Miller causing 32-year-old Whittaker problems with his pace, with the right-back still finding his way back to full fitness after minor stomach surgery.
Miller's cross from the left in the 57th minute was met by Aidan Nesbitt at the back post and his snap shot from an acute angle was only just over the bar.
The youngsters of the Scottish champions could not find an equaliser though and Murphy punished them with a trademark goal to double City's lead, standing up two defenders to the left of the penalty area, before curling a high right-footed shot into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
Murphy was withdrawn in the 67th minute as the Canaries started to coast towards the win but the energy of substitutes Diallang Jaiyesimi and Michee Efete won a corner which led to a third goal to seal the success.
Canos took the set-piece on the right and Turner flicked on at the near post, to allow Morris to finish from close range at the back post and put the icing on the cake and leave City top of Group E.
Norwich play their final group game against Aston Villa, at home on Monday, December 5 (7pm), with their progress all but assured due to a far better goal difference.
Norwich City U23s: Jones; Whittaker (Efete 77), Turner, Godfrey, Ramsay; Adams, Grant (C); Canos, Cantwell (Middleton 77), Josh Murphy (Jaiyesimi 67); Morris. Unused subs: Killip (GK), McIntosh, Crowe, Odusina
Scorers: Morris (pen 6, 81, Murphy 58)
Celtic U23s: Fasan; Wardrop (Ralston 66), Kelleher, McCart (C), McIlduff; Nesbitt (Hendry 66), Hill, McManus, Miller; Donnelly (Johnston 75), Aitchison. Unused subs: Doohan (GK), Higgins, Crossan, Archibald
Referee: Mr A Young