Norwich held on for a crucial 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Bournemouth which finished 10-a-side and featured the Premier League’s first pitchside VAR review.
Referee Paul Tierney, who had already sent off Bournemouth’s Steve Cook in the first half, consulted his monitor in the second before upgrading Ben Godfrey’s yellow card to a red.
Cook’s dismissal came when he handled Ondrej Duda’s goalbound shot after Teemu Pukki had been denied by Aaron Ramsdale. Pukki fired his side into the lead from the subsequent penalty to put Norwich in a good position to secure their first home win since September.
In the second half, Godfrey was dismissed after review for an ill-judged tackle on Callum Wilson as both sides finished the game a man down.
The Canaries went into the match eight points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, but closed the gap to six and are three behind 19th-placed Bournemouth following their narrow win.
The first chance of the match fell to Wilson, with his first attempt on target in the top flight since October, but his soft header was straight at goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Norwich’s player of the month Emi Buendia also threatened, but his headed effort from a Max Aarons cross was just wide of the target.
Duda looked to create and get forward, linking up well with striker Pukki, but was not able to find the decisive pass in the opening period of the game.
Norwich almost took the lead through the debutant after Ramsdale came off his line to deny Pukki and the ball fell to the Slovakian. His effort was spectacularly palmed onto the post by the diving Cook, who was shown a straight red card before Pukki fired home his first league goal since December 14.
That left Bournemouth to play out the remaining 57 minutes with 10 men and they struggled to get going in the second half.
However, they did not roll over and Norwich were forced into some last-ditch defending either side of the hour mark, just managing to keep the ball away from Nathan Ake and Wilson.
Pukki had a great opportunity to double his side’s lead and go closer to putting the game beyond Bournemouth but in a one-on-one with Ramsdale, the Finland forward tried to shoot under the goalkeeper who was able to dive onto the ball.
With the Canaries edging closer to a decisive second goal, Buendia weaved through the defenders in the box but his final strike was straight at the goalkeeper.
Tierney went to VAR after Godfrey lunged into a tackle on Bournemouth’s Wilson and was originally shown a yellow card, the referee changing his decision to red following a lengthy review.
The visitors came close to an equaliser as Krul tipped an Ake header over the bar following a Ryan Fraser free-kick, but the scoreline remained 1-0.
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