Substitute Libor Kozak struck his first goal for his new club as Aston Villa held on to beat Norwich 1-0 in a pulsating match at Carrow Road.
The match started in explosive fashion with Aston Villa almost taking the lead inside three minutes when Andreas Weimann’s effort struck the post before Norwich City marched down the other end and won a penalty when referee Chris Foy adjudged Ciaran Clark had handled in the box. However, Guzan palmed Snodgrass’s effort clear.
Villa lost talisman Christian Benteke to injury shortly before the half hour but it did not appear to affect them as they took the lead through his replacement Kozak, who slotted home after good work from Gabby Agbonlahor.
The second half failed to live up to the first but Norwich almost grabbed an equaliser at the death only to see Guzan somehow turn Hooper’s miscue over the bar.
3’ – POST: Chance! And a big one too. Andreas Weimann curls a shot from inside the area against the post.
5’ – PENALTY: The ball is hoisted into the area and it strikes Clark on the hand. It must be a penalty to Norwich… It is a penalty!
6’ – SAVED: Robert Snodgrass versus Brad Guzan from 12 yards. The midfielder strikes it hard into the corner but Guzan leaps the same way... Saved! What a start at Carrow Road.
12’ – CHANCE: Snodgrass swings one towards the back post and it's turned back across goal. Van Wolfswinkel must score... But he tries to bump it in with his chest instead of going with his head. What a miss.
28’ – INJURY: Sad times for Aston Villa and the match in general. Benteke is off down the tunnel with an injury. Libor Kozak is on.
30’ – GOAL: Norwich City 0-1 Aston Villa: New man Kozak is in on goal but his shot is awful. Fortunately for him Agbonlahor runs in, beats his man and cuts it back into his path. This time he makes no mistake. 1-0 Villa! Who needs Benteke?
89' – SAVE: The ball is whipped in from the left, it hits Hooper on the foot. Surely it's going in? No! What a save by Guzan who leaps high to his left to tip it over.
It was just Norwich’s second home defeat in 12 Premier League matches
Paul Lambert has won on all three visits to Norwich since leaving to join Villa
Aston Villa kept their first clean sheet in 27 Premier League matches
TALKING POINT: Turns out Villa can win without Benteke. Whilst Kozak didn’t bully players quite like the Belgian he looked a threat up front and the substitution freed up Agbonlahor who was lively throughout.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa): Who else? The American stopper sprung to his left to save Snodgrass’s penalty, albeit his starting position was a fair bit off his line, claimed numerous corners under pressure and, perhaps most impressively, tipped over superbly after the ball had struck Hooper inside the area.
Norwich: Ruddy 6, Martin 6, Bassong 5, Turner 5, Garrido 5, Snodgrass 7, Howson 6, Fer 6, Redmond 6, Elmander 5, Van Wolfswinkel 6. Subs: Hooper 6, Pilkington 6, R Bennett 6.
Aston Villa: Guzan 9, Bacuna 8, Clark 7, Vlaar 7, Luna 7, Delph 6, El Ahmadi 6, Tonev 5, Weimann 6, Agbonlahor 7, Benteke 6. Subs: Sylla 6, Kozak 7, Helenius 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#NCFC 0-1 #AVFC: Who loves ya baby? Kozak earns affections of Villa fans with first goal; Guzan heroics guarantee three points.