Vrancic provided creative force City needed to reclaim top spot
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Our latest Norwich City player watch kept an eye on MARIO VRANCIC as the midfielder was preferred to Tom Trybull against Rotherham as Moritz Leitner's injury absence continued.
The Bosnia & Herzegovina international missed pre-season and the opening eight games of the campaign with a groin injury but has impressed during regular substitute performances, scoring two Championship winners.
The 29-year-old started the recent 4-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday and had another chance to impress during City's 3-1 victory over the Millers at Carrow Road yesterday. Here's how his afternoon unfolded...
2 – Moves forward to take pass from Alex Tettey in space and finds Max Aarons on the right as City build an attack.
3 – Heads a Rotherham clearance back into the box but Teemu Pukki can't reach before keeper Marek Rodak.
5 – Digs out a lovely chipped pass to Aarons on the right under pressure to keep a City attack moving, drawing applause from the home fans.
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6 – Looks up and sees Pukki on the run into the right channel, arrows a ball across which just has too much on it, drawing another good reaction from the Carrow Road faithful.
8 – Gets lucky with a high foot not making contact with Richie Towell, soon after floats a chip in to Pukki but the striker is offside.
14 – Emi Buendia threads Aarons into the box and goes down as blocked off, Vrancic wins a corner anyway with penalty claims waved away.
21 – Tries to dribble out of trouble and is tripped from behind by Ryan Williams.
25 – Sets Jamal Lewis away on the left but over-hits the pass and the left-back only just keeps the ball in before losing possession trying to exchange a one-two with Todd Cantwell.
30 – Keeps an attack going on the right but Marco Stiepermann's shot is eventually charged down.
33 – Lifts a pass high towards Lewis but it's poor and claimed by the visitors easily, shortly after some ponderous play brought groans.
37 – Lewis finds Cantwell on the run, Towell furious to concede free-kick. Vrancic takes and effort deflects off the wall and wide with keeper Rodak wrong-footed.
38 – Buendia delivers corner from the right and Vrancic goes down under pressure at the near post but no penalty interest from the referee.
39 – Stiepermann takes a quick throw on the right but Vrancic can't control and loses possession in the Rotherham half.
40 – Williams launches himself high above Vrancic trying to win a header and foul rightfully given against the Millers man.
44 – Robs Joe Newell deep in the Rotherham half but Pukki can't pick up the scraps.
49 – Good feet to win possession in midfield but is robbed. Soon after plays a nice ball to Pukki in the right channel but Aarons is offside as City attack.
51 – Opts not to shoot and spreads left to Timm Klose, Lewis wins a corner.
54 – Drives forward after good play from Stiepermann, cuts on to his right and shot deflects behind.
55 – KEY PASS – Dinks a pass to Pukki on the right of the box, the striker keeps the ball alive and picks out Cantwell who fires home from close range for the equaliser.
61 – Cantwell plays to Vrancic on the edge of the box and he's upended by Mattock to win a free-kick. Blasts initial free-kick into the wall but then hits low right-footed shot on the rebound through a crowded box and just beyond the far post.
71 – Plays the ball wide to Lewis on the left, who picks out Cantwell and the midfielder's cross is headed in by Aarons for a 2-1 lead.
77 – Vrancic tees up Buendia, who threads in Pukki but the striker can only poke wide. Soon after slams into a tackle to win back possession, Buendia's long-range shot is spilled but Pukki can only turn the loose ball beyond the far post.
81 – Bites into another tackle, on Vaulks this time, to halt Rotherham. Soon after is caught late by Williams as he clears.
89 – Replaced by Tom Trybull and gets a slap on the back from head coach Daniel Farke as he goes off to a standing ovation.
Verdict: Found his range after the break and was unfortunate not to score himself but vision led to the equaliser and also battled gamely in the midfield mix. Provided the creative force that was needed.
Rating: 7 out of 10