Teemu Pukki’s penalty beats Brentford to secure Norwich’s first league win

Teemu Pukki’s penalty beats Brentford to secure Norwich’s first league win

Norwich finally broke their duck with goals from Mathias Normann and Teemu Pukki that proved to be enough for a 2-1 victory at Brentford, but not enough to keep Daniel Farke in his job. A magnificent solo goal from Normann and Pukki’s penalty secured a first win of the season for the beleaguered visitors, but within hours of the final whistle the club announced Farke had been sacked as manager, saying: “Now is the right time for change.”

They had held on for the final half-hour after Rico Henry hauled Brentford back into the match, for a first away victory in the Premier League since a win over Everton at Goodison Park in November 2019. Their performance was a far cry from their last trip to west London, the 7-0 hammering by Chelsea a fortnight ago, but was unable to convince the club that Farke was the person to take them forward.

Ironically, after the final whistle Farke had greeted the win with the words: “It’s definitely a great day for us.” Penny for his thoughts now. “There’s no replacement for wins,” he had continued. “My players are young lads and it’s not easy for them when there’s a lot of criticism. Last season we were more or less winning game after game, but at Premier League level it’s a different animal. But there is spirit and belief in this dressing room and everyone was committed to getting the first three points for the club.”

Norwich were helped by a below-par display from Brentford, whose Premier League honeymoon period is well and truly over after four straight defeats.

Norwich had been waiting for an away goal all season and it took just six minutes to arrive at the Community Stadium. Milot Rashica’s cross was cleared as far as Normann, who was lurking 30 yards from goal. The Norway midfielder, on loan from the Russian side Rostov, weaved his way past three Brentford defenders and into the area before aiming a low shot past Álvaro Fernández and into the bottom corner.

Brentford almost hit straight back but Norwich’s goalkeeper, Tim Krul, denied Christian Nørgaard from close range and Ethan Pinnock headed over from a corner. The lead was Norwich’s first in 15 Premier League matches, and they doubled it in the 29th minute.

The substitute Charlie Goode brought down Pukki as he raced through on goal and the Finnish striker coolly tucked away the penalty. Norwich’s unwanted records were continuing to tumble – they had now scored twice in a Premier League match for the first time since December 2019 against Tottenham, 28 games ago.

“We’re going to win the league” was the chant from the giddy away supporters. Pukki should have made it three at the start of the second half but dragged his shot across goal.

Moments later Brentford thought they had pulled one back when Bryan Mbeumo raced through to put the ball home, but VAR adjudged he was offside from Ivan Toney’s flick on. Nørgaard was denied again by Krul, when the ball was smashed straight at him from a corner.

They did halve the deficit on the hour when full-back Henry arrived at the far post to tuck in a cross from Saman Ghoddos.

Norwich could have had a third but for some last-ditch defending to keep Josh Sargent at bay and Fernández saving from Rashica. In the end they were relieved to see Sergi Canós hit the side-netting and Goode blaze over in stoppage time before that first win was finally confirmed.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank praised Norwich and was happy enough with his own team’s performance. “I hate losing; my body is burning inside,” he said. “But when we perform as we have done there is no need to change the system. If we keep going like this then by the law of statistics we will be fine.”