Pukki leads the Canaries to derby delight as unbeaten record against Ipswich stretches to a tremendous 12
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Teemu Pukki was the derby day hero as Norwich City extended their local dominance over Ipswich to a delightful dozen in a dramatic and action-packed battle which included Paul Lambert being shown a red card on his Carrow Road return.
Onel Hernandez had given City a dream start in just the second minute but it took Pukki's double, in the 65th and 80th minute, to finish the job as the Tractor Boys did all they could to disrupt the league leaders.
As well as extending the unbeaten East Anglian derby unbeaten run to 12 matches the Canaries moved two points clear of Leeds at the Championship summit and, more importantly, five clear of third-placed Sheffield United with 15 games to play.
City boss Daniel Farke stuck with the team which won 3-1 at Leeds the previous weekend but Paul Lambert made five changes to his Ipswich starting XI, with Jonas Knudsen and Luke Chambers returning in defence.
With club legend Grant Holt introduced to an already loud crowd, with a huge banner covering much of the lower Barclay in amongst a sea of yellow and green, Carrow Road was bouncing as the players emerged.
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Within 90 seconds the roof was blown off the stadium when Hernandez fired home from close range, scoring his seventh of the season.
The move was sparked by Emi Buendia setting Max Aarons away on the right, with the 19-year-old's pace taking him to the bye-line, where his low cross found Hernandez but the ball looped up, only for Mario Vrancic to bravely head down and take a boot to the face in the process – allowing Hernandez to fire low into the net.
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Vrancic headed wide from a Buendia cross in the fifth minute and Town skipper Chambers thumped a header over from an Alan Judge corner 11 minutes later.
Vrancic looped a right-footed shot just over the bar from the edge of the box after being teed up by Buendia in the 20th minute and Marco Stiepermann thumped a low shot beyond the far post from the left of the area five minutes later as the hosts probed for a second.
Ipswich did rally though with Trevoh Chalobah firing a poor shot high and wide, and Ben Godfrey took the sting out of a low Judge shot, who also smashed a deflected effort into the side-netting shortly before the break.
Judge swung in the resulting corner from the left and Knudsen headed over at the near post, with Vrancic landing awkwardly and limping away before eventually going down a couple of minutes later.
The half finished amid chaotic scenes though, after Jon Nolan's poor tackle clattered Aarons in front of the dugouts, with both sets of players and coaches getting stuck into a physical confrontation in the midst of it.
Nolan was booked eventually, with Alex Tettey finally replacing the injured Vrancic, but referee Peter Bankes also turned his attentions to the benches.
The first red card was shown to City's head of performance Chris Domogalla and the second to the man all eyes were on, Ipswich boss Lambert, having been restrained by a policeman amid the bundle.
It was rock-bottom Town who emerged from the break in better shape despite their boss being in the directors' box though, with two excellent Zimmermann blocks denying Ellis Harrison in the first 15 minutes of the second half, with the Canaries struggling to find their attacking fluency.
Judge fired just wide after an unfortunate bounce saw Zimmermann lose possession – drawing a roar of encouragement from the home crowd, and it worked, immediately.
Knudsen misplaced a pass and Buendia seized on the ball to play Pukki into the left channel, setting up one chance to pull the trigger as the Norwich faithful rose to their feet in hope – and their top scorer delivered in style, slotting characteristically into the bottom-right corner with a fine left-footed shot beyond Bialkowski's grasp.
It was a 20th goal of the season for the Finn and totally transformed the mood, with the home crowd chanting 'there's only one Paul Lambert' as they started to enjoy the afternoon after a really tense 20 minutes.
Pukki thought he had another in the 73rd minute after Zimmermann had flicked a Stiepermann corner towards the far post with his head, with the striker turning in with his chest and the celebrations in full flow, only for an offside flag to spoil the fun.
His second did arrive in the 80th minute though, Buendia again setting him up after winning back possession, playing Pukki into the box and the striker winning the race with Bartosz Bialkowski to prod in and send the Barclay wild, notching his 20th league goal of his brilliant campaign.
With Farke giving Jordan Rhodes a late cameo in Pukki's place, giving his main man the standing ovation he deserved and throwing on a former Ipswich player in search of the perfect ending.
The chance didn't come, as more scuffles broke out after a bad Flynn Downes tackle on Buendia, but the job was done and majority shareholder Delia Smith was able to give the crowd the wave of her scarf they wanted before the whistle was blown.
Farke was then able to orchestrate the wild celebrations after full-time, in front of the biggest Carrow Road crowd of the season, of just over 27,000.
The Canaries return to action on Wednesday when they face another of their former managers, Alex Neil, at Preston before another away game in the north-west on Saturday, at Bolton.
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann (C), Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull, Vrancic (Tettey 45+6); Buendia, Stiepermann (Cantwell 85), Hernandez; Pukki (Rhodes 87). Unused subs: McGovern, Hanley, McLean, Srbeny
Booked: Lewis (foul on Chalobah, 60), Trybull (foul on Bishop, 76), Stiepermann (foul on Bishop, 79), Cantwell (dissent, 89)
Goals: Hernandez (2), Pukki (65, 80)
Sent off: Chris Domogalla (head of performance)
Ipswich: Bialkowski; Bree, Chambers (C), Pennington, Knudsen; Chalobah, Skuse (Bishop 74), Nolan; Sears (Harrison 43), Keane, Judge. Unused subs: Gerken (GK), Downes, Nsiala, Elder, Keane
Booked: Skuse (foul on Vrancic, 32), Nolan (foul on Aarons, 45), Downes (foul on Buendia, 89)
Sent off: Paul Lambert (manager)
Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)
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