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Great Britain

Norwich 1 Wolves 2: Canaries made to pay for their wastefulness as Jimenez pounces late

NORWICH blew a huge opportunity to boost their survival hopes as they wasted a series of chances before Raul Jimenez made them pay to nick the points.

Jimenez finished a fine move nine minutes from time as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side maintained their push for the top four with the win.

But Daniel Farke and his men will be spending Christmas wondering just how they failed to collect a vital victory in their relegation fight having outplayed Wolves for the best part of an hour.

The Canaries spurned chance after chance in a brilliant first half display, and the biggest culprit was the usually deadly striker Teemu Pukki.

The Finn was guilty of two terrible misses when Wolves were there for the taking - and how costly they could be come the end of the season.

Wolves came into the game on the back of Jose Mourinho claiming they are one of Tottenham’s big rivals in the battle for a top-four finish.

So the prospect of coming to Norfolk and collecting another three points would not exactly have caused too many moments of concern for any of their players.

But they clearly hadn’t been paying attention to what Farke’s side can do when they hit their straps early on and settle into the style of play they prefer – just ask Manchester City earlier this season and Leicester last week.

Right from the off, the Canaries were at it like a side possessed and Wolves just didn’t know what to do.

Only six minutes were on the clock when Emi Buendia took three visiting players out of the game with a delightful turn and feint, releasing Kenny McLean who saw his shot touched wide by Rui Patricio.

The Portuguese keeper was back in action within 60 seconds, diving low to claim Pukki’s effort after more good work from Buendia.

Patricio was at it again on 13 minutes, producing a stunning low stop to somehow tip Alex Tettey’s blistering low shot onto the post when it looked to be heading for the bottom corner.

Norwich poured the pressure on and it finally told on 17 minutes when Todd Cantwell fired them into a lead they richly deserved.

The England Under-21 star started the move by spreading the play out to McLean on the left, and his cross forced Jonny into a shocker of a clearance which fell to Cantwell to lash the ball into the net.

Seven minutes later Pukki wasted a glorious chance to double the lead when Buendia split the Wolves defence with a perfect through ball, but the Finn dithered before trying to flick the ball past Patricio and the keeper deflected it wide.

Wolves finally mustered an attempt on goal after 26 minutes when Raul Jimenez cut inside on his left foot to test Tim Krul from the edge of the area.

But the visitors were left riding their luck two minutes before the break when Pukki again fluffed his lines when clear through in yards of space, shooting meekly at Patricio.

When Buendia danced past two challenges before driving a 20-yard effort just over the bar on 59 minutes, you couldn’t help but feel Norwich would be made to pay for not adding to their lead.

Sure enough, Wolves levelled on the stroke of the hour.

Joao Moutinho floated a cross high to the far post where Romain Saiss climbed highest to head into the bottom corner. It was all too easy, and slightly predictable.

Wolves were suddenly in the ascendancy, but it was their turn to squander a golden chance to score.

Norwich took a chance too many playing around at the back, and Grant Hanley was robbed by Jimenez, but with just Krul to beat he lifted high over the bar.

The pattern of the game had changed completely, with Wolves the dominant side and Neves was only a foot wide with a shot from the edge of the area.

Wolves knew they had Norwich on the ropes, and they applied to knockout punch on 81 minutes as Jimenez drove the loose ball home after Matt Doherty’s effort had been saved by Krul.

Pukki tested Patricio with a 25-yard-shot, but there was nothing left for Norwich except disappointment and regret.

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