Norwich City dropped their first Championship points of 2021 as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough.
And Daniel Farke’s Canaries had to negotiate the final quarter of the game a man short following Emi Buendia’s controversial red card – the fourth of his Norwich career.
The Argentine was sent off on 67 minutes following his challenge in a 50-50 duel with George Saville, to follow his 41st-minute yellow card for clipping Jonny Howson after overrunning the ball.
In a dreadfully uninspiring game of few real chances at Carrow Road, Boro actually had the better openings even before the red card, as they escaped their poor home form with another point on the road.
Norwich’s point extended their unbeaten home run to 13 games, but it was still an afternoon to forget for the leaders.
Their run of six straight wins over Boro came to an end as Warnock added another ‘result’ to add to his four away league wins at Norwich, all with different teams – Notts County (1991-92), Sheffield United (2002-03), Crystal Palace (2008-09) and Cardiff City (2017-18).
Although Norwich initially increased their lead at the top to seven points, second-placed Swansea City won 3-1 at Rotherham later on Saturday to cut the Canaries’ lead to four points.
Norwich, who failed to get a single effort on target in 90 minutes, wasted their best chance in the seventh minute when Mario Vrancic screwed wide.
New Boro loan signing Yannick Bolasie then headed just over but it took an hour for either keeper to be tested when Tim Krul saved Howson’s header.
Six minutes later came the red card and Boro did then show a bit more attacking intention as they pushed more men forward in search of an unlikely winner but Marc Bola’s low shot straight at Krul was as close as they came.
Norwich manager Daniel Farke:
“Emi Buendia is a player who gets so many tackles against him, so many hits, and has to handle much pain during a game. So for him to be sent off feels very very harsh, especially in a game where elbows were in the air. There is a fear Max Aarons has a broken nose from an elbow against him.
“We don’t have to speak about the first yellow card. We have to accept the second as both players tried to get the ball. He is perhaps 0.1 seconds too late and the experienced opponent makes a bit more out of it than was in it.
“It is harsh because it was not a tactical foul, there was no bad intention and there was no danger of a big injury. It was of course not necessary but it feels harsh on him and also unfair.
“It was costly for us because 11 v 11 we would have won. He was punished enough to miss the rest of this game and now he misses the next two games. It feels harsh but we can’t change much.”
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock:
“You’ve got to be happy coming here and getting a draw – but there’s little tinge of sadness that we haven’t got the three points.
“They’ve been fabulous, the lads. They gave me absolutely everything. I’m really proud of them. After three games in five and a half days, the travelling that we’ve done, it’s a remarkable effort.
“We got in some really good positions, but we just couldn’t get a proper connection. There were a couple of great runs but we didn’t do enough in the final third, I can’t get away from that.
“We did say he’s likely to get sent off – he does silly things at the wrong time, so we were aware of that. And once he’d been booked, anything could happen with him. And it definitely was a booking. But he’s not a bad player is he. I’d certainly have him in my team.”
- 17BuendíaBooked at 67mins
- 8VrancicSubstituted forPlachetaat 70′minutes
- 14CantwellSubstituted forHernándezat 76′minutes
- 22PukkiSubstituted forIdahat 87′minutes
- 20FisherSubstituted forCoulsonat 86′minutes
- 6FrySubstituted forWatmoreat 89′minutes
- 16HowsonBooked at 90mins
- 22SavilleBooked at 73mins
- 14BolasieSubstituted forAkpomat 56′minutes
Match ends, Norwich City 0, Middlesbrough 0.
Second Half ends, Norwich City 0, Middlesbrough 0.
Attempt blocked. Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Oliver Skipp (Norwich City).
Sam Morsy (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Dimitrios Giannoulis.
Foul by Adam Idah (Norwich City).
Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Marc Bola tries a through ball, but Chuba Akpom is caught offside.
Dimitrios Giannoulis (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough).
Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Onel Hernández (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Duncan Watmore replaces Dael Fry because of an injury.
Foul by Dimitrios Giannoulis (Norwich City).
Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Norwich City. Adam Idah replaces Teemu Pukki.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Hayden Coulson replaces Darnell Fisher because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.