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Leaders Norwich pay penalty after being held by QPR

Norwich City v Queens Park Rangers – Sky Bet Championship – Carrow Road
(Image credit: Joe Giddens)

Championship leaders Norwich dropped points for the second time in four days after being held to a 1-1 draw by struggling QPR at Carrow Road.

After losing 1-0 at Watford on Saturday, the Canaries slipped up again as the visitors recorded a hard-earned point in a game of two penalties.

A dominant Norwich side looked as though they had won it when Teemu Pukki scored his 11th goal of the season from the spot with 15 minutes remaining but were pegged back nine minutes later as Bright Osayi-Samuel followed suit for the visitors.

Rangers went into the game without a win in eight but kept their high-flying hosts at bay with few alarms in a disjointed first half.

The Canaries went close after just five minutes when Emi Buendia forced a decent save out of Seny Dieng from a tight angle but that was a rare scare for Mark Warburton’s side in the early stages.

Midfielder Mario Vrancic fired straight at Dieng after being set up by Buendia and the same player then lost his bearings and fired wide following a neat one-two with Max Aarons.

A couple of half-hearted penalty appeals from first Pukki and then Buendia were waved away by referee Oliver Langford.

That was about as good as it got for the leaders in the opening period, with Rangers soaking up the pressure in solid fashion and occasionally looking dangerous on the break.

Their best moment of the half came after 41 minutes when the impressive Ilias Chair broke the offside trap and raced through on the right, only to be pushed wide by the pursuing Christoph Zimmermann and being closed down by goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

Moments later the Northern Ireland international went down clutching his right hamstring after apparently overstretching and was relieved to see a Lyndon Dykes header drift just wide in stoppage time.

McGovern failed to reappear after the break, with Wales Under-19 international Daniel Barden coming on for his league debut, having played in City’s opening game of the season at Luton in the Carabao Cup.

Norwich started the second period brightly, carving out two good chances.

Dieng was forced into a good block to deny Pukki after the Finn had been put in by a sublime Todd Cantwell pass and a minute later Grant Hanley sent a powerful header just over the bar.

Dieng then blocked another Buendia shot from close range as the incessant pressure continued before the visitors had a real let off after 53 minutes.

Pukki broke the offside trap midway inside the QPR half and raced clean through but rather than taking a shot he chose to square to Cantwell who had moved ahead of his colleague and the flag went up.

Another top quality save from Dieng, one-handed low to left to deny Pukki at the near post, again kept the rampant Canaries at bay, with the Londoners still somehow on level terms as the game passed the hour mark.

Defender Rob Dickie then took centre stage, clearing a goalbound strike from Jacob Sorensen off the line with his keeper beaten before Norwich finally got the goal they had been threatening after 75 minutes.

Cantwell was the architect, bursting into the box from the left and drawing a rash challenge out of Dominic Ball which sent the young midfielder sprawling.

The contact looked minimal but referee Langford pointed straight to the spot and Pukki duly sent Dieng the wrong way.

At the other end, rookie keeper Barden had been a mere spectator although he was called upon 13 minutes from time, doing well to grab a close-range header from Dickie on the line when Rangers won a rare corner.

The visitors were now looking more of a threat and got back on level terms from another penalty after 84 minutes.

The referee pointed to the spot when Osayi-Samuel went down in the area after a shove from Zimmermann and the same player picked himself up to beat Barden from 12 yards.

Osayi-Samuel should have won it for the Hoops in stoppage time but somehow lifted the ball over from point-blank range after being set up by substitute Albert Adomah.