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Good afternoon everybody, I’m Will Witts and welcome to some Championship play-off coverage, as Norwich host Leeds in the first leg of the tie. Follow the live blog as I bring you the latest updates from the fixture.

Norwich haven’t beaten Leeds in their last seven games at Carrow Road, whilst Leeds have never won the play-offs and have endured a horrid end to their season. This has all the ingredients for an enthralling opening play-off fixture, both teams being expansive in their pressing, free-flowing going forward and leaving openings in their backlines. Will the Canaries finally get an elusive win against Leeds at home or will the Whites continue their hot streak at Carrow Road?

Here is the Norwich City starting XI:

Here is the Leeds United starting XI:

The players are coming out for final preparations before kick-off with City captain Kenny McClean first to leave the tunnel, leading out his side.

Leeds are second to leave the tunnel, led out by club captain, who doesn’t start today, Liam Cooper

4’ – The first shot of the game comes from Norwich City’s Marcelino Nunez, who shoots from range and in all honesty, will wish he hasn’t, as the ball trickles away to Meslier’s right for a Leeds throw.

6’ –  A real opening for Leeds as Gnonto breaks down the right before delivering a low cross, aimed for Rutter, who shoots to no avail, thanks to a brave block from Shane Duffy.

10’ – Signs of nerves as Meslier misplaces a simple 15-yard pass to Ampadu, and Norwich have a throw-in deep in enemy territory.

12’ – Foul conceded by Jonny Rowe on Rutter, Archie Gray’s delivery however, is a poor one.

15’ – HUGE CHANCE FOR SARGEANT! And he really will be kicking himself, Norwich full-back, Stacey, stands up a floated cross, and Sargeant rises early but heads wide. Norwich have come out the blocks firing, let’s see if Leeds can respond.

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17’ – Meslier, whose start to the game will not fill Leeds’ fans with confidence, plays the ball into trouble, with Kamara giving away a foul to prevent a Norwich chance.

19’ – Pressure from Norwich is mounting, it’s another corner for the yellows.

22’ – Nunez has another attempt from around 25 yards, this one is better as it sails over the bar, yet his first effort didn’t take much beating.

24’ – It has been a first half for set pieces for Norwich as they gain another corner.

28’ – A superb sliding tackle from Nunez denies Gnonto and Leeds a good oppurtunity. Leeds trying to establish a foothold in the game now.

30’ – DISALLOWED GOAL! The ball is in the back of the Norwich City net, as the Leeds frontline moved the ball beautifully before Firpo put the ball in an empty net. Rutter, however, was deemed offside just moments before, yet has reason to feel hard done by if my eyes serve me correctly.

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33’ – It’s yet another set piece given away by Leeds, you’d like to think Norwich will take advantage soon.

36’ – The quality in the game has been lacking, with the occasion seemingly hindering both sides. Somerville encompasses this, as he trips over the ball whilst trying to get past Duffy.

45’ – YELLOW CARD! Pechellance shown by Gnonto, he commits a foul on Giannoulis and claps at the referee, stupidly.

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The referee calls the half to a close after just a minute of stoppage time, and we’re a quarter of the way through to the first Championship Play Off Semi Final. It’s been cagey, both teams lacking quality and showing nerves. David Wagner will probably be the happier of the two managers with Norwich keeping the ball better than their opposition. A lot more to come from both sides.

51’ – YELLOW CARD! Canaries’ centre half, Shane Duffy lunges in on Summerville. Advantage is played, but the referee is sharp to seek out Duffy as the ball goes out for a goal kick.

54’ – YELLOW CARD! Giannoulis is the latest to be booked after fouling Gnonto in a challenge that wasn’t malicious, just late. The game is starting to heat up, which it needed to.

58’ – In a contrast to the first half, Leeds have started the second 45 far more brightly. This time, Somerville runs at the Norwich backline before finding an opening for a shot, which Gunn is equal too.

60’ – The first change of the game comes for the home side.

63’ – The game is brought to a halt as Sainz accidentally catches Gnonto with a stud to the head whilst both are on the floor from a challenge. The medical staff are on and Gnonto is treated with a dollop of petroleum jelly to seal the minor wound on his forehead, some things never change.

66’ – YELLOW CARD! A third for the hosts, Fassnacht is booked for stopping a Leeds break.

69’ – A foul by Kamara gives Norwich a decent set-piece opportunity. Nunez takes and it deflects off the ball for a corner.

70’ – It’s Daniel Farke’s time to ring the changes. Anthony and Piroe on, Rutter and Gnonto off.

75’ – Just 15 minutes to go and the game has reached a bit of a stalemate in truth, both teams potentially suffering from the heat or the occasion or any number of excuse.

76’ – Another change for City.

82’ – Leeds look the most likely at the minute, another corner for the Whites, who now have control of the game, without doing much.

83’ – Concerned faces on the Norwich bench as their talisman Sargeant goes down, Wagner doesn’t take any risks before the 2nd leg on Thursday and replaces the American with Sydney van  Hooijdonk, son of the great Pierre.

87’ – Another change for the Peacocks.

90’ – 4 minutes added on by the fourth official, frankly it could be 400 minutes added on and neither team would score.

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The 90 minutes are up and we are exactly where we started. If you came for an end-to-end goal-fest then you’d be extremely unsatisfied. The Leeds fans remain in good voice, this is a result that will please them with Elland Road to come on Thursday. Norwich however, must be disapppointed after starting so well, gradually withered away with a whimper. All in all, the tie is immaculately poised, essentially being a one-game shoot-out on Thursday. 

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July 2024