Norwich 1-1 Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha scuffs a penalty wide just minutes after scoring a stunner as struggling hosts hold on to claim a precious point following Teemu Pukki’s first-minute goal
From the highs of scoring a Goal of the Season contender to the lows of a scuffed penalty slowly trickling wide while a stadium points and laughs. Welcome back, Wilfried Zaha.
Suspension and the Africa Cup of Nations had kept Zaha away from Crystal Palace and the Premier League since Boxing Day. His manager, Patrick Vieira, told his player it was time he turned up and did some damage.
Zaha did just that, scoring a scorcher in the 60th minute to rule out Norwich’s 38-second opener. Yet when his chance came to turn match-winner from the penalty spot in the 62nd, his standing foot slipped and his spot-kick was sent well wide.
Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha equalised with a stunning strike from just outside the box
Norwich (4-4-2): Gunn 6.5; Aarons 6.5, Hanley 6, Gibson 6, Williams 7; Placheta 6 (Gilmour 64, 6), Lees-Melou 6 (Normann 75, 6), McLean 6, Rashica 7.5; Idah 6.5 (Rowe 84), Pukki 6.5
Subs (not used): McGovern, Byram, Zimmermann, Dowell, Tzolis, Giannoulis
Scorers: Pukki (1)
Manager: Dean Smith 6
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita 6; Ward 6, Andersen 6, Guehi 6, Mitchell 6.5; Gallagher 6.5, Hughes 6, Schlupp 6 (Eze 80); Olise 6 (Ayew 70, 6), Mateta 6.5 (Edouard 80), Zaha 7
Subs (not used): Butland, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Clyne, McArthur, Benteke
Scorers: Zaha (60)
Booked: Mateta, Gallagher
Manager: Patrick Vieira 6.5
Referee: Paul Tierney 6
Norwich had hoped a third consecutive win would lift them out of the Premier League’s relegation zone. For now, they’ll remain in it, looking up at Newcastle.
They’ve got Manchester City then Liverpool next. Dean Smith’s side can consider those free hits. They aren’t expected to take anything out of them, so go for it.
Norwich went for it from kick off here and led after 38 seconds, scoring the quickest goal in the Premier League this season. It was Teemu Pukki who got the party started.
It started with a great run from Milot Rashica down the left wing as he left Joel Ward in his dust. He crossed and Adam Idah cut the ball back for his strike partner, who took aim.
There was a debate over whether Pukki scuffed his shot, but in all honesty, he didn’t care if he did. The ball bounced in off the left post, beating Vicente Guaita and making it 1-0.
It was Pukki’s sixth Premier League goal of the season and a glance at the live table showed Norwich out of the bottom three and Newcastle in it.
Zaha missed the chance to put his side ahead from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute
Zaha’s standing foot slipped and his spot-kick went well wide on Wednesday night
Pukki would have had a hat-trick inside half hour were it not for Tyrick Mitchell. First, Pukki looked poised to head home Rashica’s cross until Mitchell got there in the nick of time.
Then, with the goal at his mercy, the crowd were begging for Pukki to shoot. He took too long, and Mitchell slid in to stop the striker from helping himself to another.
Norwich were creating chances – the majority of them through Rashica, who had Ward on toast – but weren’t taking them. The longer the half went on, the more Palace grew into the game and they had the ball in the net before the break.
Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki celebrates scoring their first goal with Grant Hanley
The Norwich striker scored the opening goal after just 39 seconds on Wednesday night
Jean-Philippe Mateta did well to bring down a long ball before chipping Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn. The assistant flagged for offside. VAR Stuart Attwell checked and confirmed he was indeed off. Cue a collective sigh of relief around Carrow Road.
At the start of the second half, Gunn had to stop Jeffrey Schlupp from burying a shot into the bottom left corner. A smart save it was, too. Yet there was no stopping the rocket which would follow from Zaha in the 60th minute.
Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta had an effort ruled out for offside in the first-half
Zaha cut inside and let rip with his right foot, finding the top corner for 1-1 and running directly to Vieira for a hug.
In the 62nd minute, Mitchell was brought down by Max Aarons. Penalty, said referee Paul Tierney, and Zaha stepped up. Here was his chance to bag the winner but he slipped just as he took his spot-kick. Zaha stared down at the turf in disgust.
No winner here, but given the way they lost 3-0 at Selhurst Park in December, and the penalty miss from Zaha, Norwich will take this.
Norwich City’s Max Aarons and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (right) battle for the ball
Crystal Palace Marc Guehi is challenged by Max Aarons and Przemyslaw Placheta