Teemu Pukki’s double helped Championship leaders Norwich City stretch their unbeaten run to nine games as they survived a Stoke City fightback.
The Canaries were made to work for their win in the final 20 minutes after Emi Buendia – who scored the opener and then provided a superb assist for Pukki’s first – was sent off for two bookings.
Pukki’s second had put Norwich 3-0 up by then and it was a much needed cushion as Tyrese Campbell and Nathan Collins both headed in late goals for Stoke, who could not find an equaliser.
The result means Norwich, looking to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, remain one point ahead of Bournemouth at the top of the table – after the Cherries beat Nottingham Forest – while Stoke stay seventh.
Argentine Buendia had set Daniel Farke’s side on their way, finishing a slick Canaries move by slotting in Marco Stipermann’s through ball.
Finn Pukki, who scored twice during the international break and came off the bench to net the winner against Middlesbrough on Saturday, lashed in from a tight angle after bringing down Buendia’s clipped, first-touch pass over the top.
Despite struggling in the first half, Stoke somehow failed to convert a goal-mouth scramble, with Norwich keeper Tim Krul saving from Steven Fletcher, Tyrese Campbell seeing his follow-up blocked and Nick Powell heading the loose ball against the crossbar.
It was a moment that saw Fletcher slide into the advertising hoardings and suffer a cut to his leg, forcing him off before the break.
Despite Stoke’s improvement, Pukki had his eighth league goal of the season midway through the second half, rounding home goalkeeper Joe Burski after a pass from impressive teenager Josh Martin.
And then Buendia, whose creativity on the ball can be tempered by his indiscipline off it, made a straightforward night harder for the Canaries, picking up a second yellow card for a high boot – this was his third red card in as many seasons.
Stoke, who had won three of their last four and would have gone level on points with the visitors with a win, sparked into life after the sending-off and showed the thrust that saw them pick up back-to-back victories over Reading and Huddersfield.
Morgan Fox crossed for Campbell to thump in a superb header and Collins nodded in Sam Clucas’ cross to set up a frantic last 10 minutes.
And Norwich, who saw keeper Tim Krul go off with what looked like a hamstring injury to take their absentee list to 10 first-team players, survived a late scare when Krul’s replacement Michael McGovern knocked a looping ball into his own net, only for a foul to be given against the home side.
Stoke boss Michael O’Neill: “You’re disappointed when you get back in the game and don’t take something from it. We were second best for 35 minutes, Norwich were excellent I thought. We got a foothold before halftime and I think we were the better team in the second half.
“We conceded at a bad time and the sending off gives a lifeline but we couldn’t find a third goal. The disallowed goal was a bit soft.”
Norwich boss Daniel Farke: “It’s a tricky situation but in these circumstances we found a way to win. It was not the prettiest game in the world but it was full of mentality and fighting spirit.”
On Buendia’s red card: “I was a bit dubious. Sometimes a bit of naivety, but he was outstanding and his workload was good. He was by far the best player on the pitch.
“The first is a 50-50 tackle, he got a yellow card and should then calm down a bit. He was greedy to win the ball back and his foot his high for the second yellow. He apologised in front of the group for making our life difficult. He is still a young player.”
- 6BatthBooked at 18minsSubstituted forVokesat 79′minutes
- 14SmithSubstituted forCollinsat 45′minutes
- 35TymonSubstituted forInceat 45′minutes
- 21FletcherBooked at 28minsSubstituted forGregoryat 35′minutes
- 40Nna Noukeu
- 1KrulSubstituted forMcGovernat 40′minutes
- 5HanleyBooked at 58mins
- 19Lungi Sørensen
- 17BuendíaBooked at 69mins
- 18StiepermannBooked at 23minsSubstituted forVrancicat 60′minutes
- 24MartinSubstituted forPlachetaat 60′minutes
- 22PukkiSubstituted forZimmermannat 73′minutes
Match ends, Stoke City 2, Norwich City 3.
Second Half ends, Stoke City 2, Norwich City 3.
Attempt missed. Sam Vokes (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Nick Powell.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Ben Gibson.
Jacob Lungi Sørensen (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Harry Souttar (Stoke City).
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Oliver Skipp.
Attempt blocked. Nick Powell (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Oliver Skipp (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nick Powell (Stoke City).
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Christoph Zimmermann.
Michael McGovern (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lee Gregory (Stoke City).
Attempt missed. Nick Powell (Stoke City) header from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by Sam Clucas with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Ben Gibson.
Attempt blocked. John Obi Mikel (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Sam Vokes (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathan Collins with a cross.
Attempt missed. Sam Vokes (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Tom Ince with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathan Collins.
Christoph Zimmermann (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.