Norwich City have appointed Johannes Hoff Thorup as their new head coach on a three-year deal.

Thorup replaces David Wagner, who was sacked earlier this month following Norwich's 4-0 defeat to Leeds United in the Championship play-off semi-final.

The Dane moves from Nordsjaelland, where he took over in January 2023 after being promoted from his role as assistant coach.

He led them to a second-place finish in the Danish Superliga that season to earn a spot in the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds.

In his first full campaign in charge, Thorup took them to the group stage of the European competition before finishing fourth in the Danish top-flight.

Speaking to the club website, Thorup said: "I'm excited, I hope that the supporters are excited as well. I hope that we can create something together. It's so important that they are proud of the team.

"I feel the connection with the people, the club and the city. Everyone I have met with so far is so humble, nice, and easy-going.

"I have my ideas and I have my principles in the way that we are going to play, but I am also here to listen to some of the good stuff that has already been done. I have to make sure that I am very clear that this is something that we do together, and everyone has to have that feeling."

The Canaries finished sixth in the table last season and will now prepare for their third consecutive season in the Championship under Thorup. 

Ethan Ampadu said Leeds United's players never let their belief waver despite a poor end to their Championship campaign, with a trip to Wembley now coming up.

Leeds will face either Southampton or West Brom in the play-off final on May 26 after thrashing Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road on Thursday.

The Whites endured a miserable end to their campaign, losing 4-0 at Queens Park Rangers before going down at home to Southampton on the final day, as Ipswich Town claimed automatic promotion behind Leicester City.

But after their emphatic defeat of the Canaries, who they drew with 0-0 in the first leg, Ampadu claimed Leeds never lost their way.

"Towards the end of the season there was a lot of talk about how we were playing, how we weren't on the front foot, how we weren't aggressive or clinical," he told Sky Sports.

"But we always had our belief that on our day, when we are firing, we can be hard for anyone to play against.

"When the front four, five, six play like that, they make the job of us defenders a lot easier.

"Whoever we play in the final it's going to be a hard game but to go in like this, to put in a performance like this, we can take momentum and confidence into it.

"The fans were second to none and we enjoyed their support – now we are going to prepare for the big one."

Georginio Rutter scored one and set up another in the rout, and he put the onus on Leeds to replicate the same level at Wembley.

"It's incredible. Today we go to Wembley," he said.

"We played a good game. I'm happy, everybody is happy. One more game and we will see.

"We played very good. 4-0 is a clean sheet. Today, we were mature. It's a very good performance from the team.

"I want to try my best and help the team. If we play like this [at the final], we have a good chance but we have to play like this."

Leeds United thumped Norwich City 4-0 in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final to seal their place at Wembley.

After a goalless draw in the first leg left it all to play for at Elland Road on Thursday, Leeds turned on the style in front of a raucous home crowd to cruise into the final on May 26.

Ilia Gruev settled the majority of Elland Road's nerves with just seven minutes played as he caught out Angus Gunn with a long-range free-kick, curling into the space vacated by the Norwich goalkeeper's expectation of a cross.

Joel Piroe then doubled the hosts' advantage 13 minutes later, again capitalising on poor goalkeeping to beat Gunn to Wilfried Gnonto's cross and nod home.

The tie was effectively over five minutes from half-time, Georginio Rutter getting on the end of Crysencio Summerville's squared pass to rifle off the underside of the crossbar and in.

And after Gunn spilled Gnonto's low shot in the second half, Rutter cut the ball back for Summerville to poke home and secure Leeds' place in next Sunday's final, where they will meet either Southampton or West Brom.

Data debrief

Leeds may have looked pretty blunt in attack at Carrow Road, but that was far from the case on home soil as they put the Canaries to the sword in brutal fashion while keeping a 21st Championship clean sheet this season, more than any other side.

Daniel Farke's men produced 2.45 xG (expected goals) to Norwich's 0.51, while Summerville made it 20 league goals for the season, more than any other Leeds player.

Daniel Farke was left fuming after Leeds United had a goal disallowed in their play-off semi-final first leg at Norwich on Sunday.

The game at Carrow Road ultimately ended 0-0, with both sides failing to seriously trouble the opposition goalkeeper as the teams combined for just 0.8 xG (expected goals).

It leaves the tie finely poised ahead of Thursday's second leg at Elland Road, but despite his side heading back to home turf with a clean sheet and level in the tie, Farke was left frustrated by a first-half incident which saw Junior Firpo put the ball in the net following a mix-up between Shane Duffy and Angus Gunn, only for the offside flag to be raised.

Farke believes the goal should have stood and bemoaned decisions that have gone against his side this season, telling reporters: "I can just recommend everyone should have a look on the scouting feed, it's not offside.

"I'm annoyed. I have to make sure I'm not too much in a rage. Small details make a difference, if you go in the lead it changes the picture. In the end, everyone speaks about Wembley, a £100m game. At this level, all the decisions have to be spot on.

"Perhaps [the linesman] was a bit scared the whole stadium is moaning if he doesn’t give offside. No, in doubt you give it in favour to the attacker. It's definitely not offside.

"If you want to be in charge of such a game you have to be spot on. I have 12 letters apologising already this season. We have to make sure we find a way even though this crucial decision went against us."

Despite his annoyance at the disallowed goal, Farke remained content with his side's display as they bounced back from a challenging end to the regular season with a clean sheet.

"When you play a play-off semi-final with two legs, an away draw and a clean sheet at a difficult ground is always a good and solid result," Farke continued.

"The last games in the regular season were not great, we conceded too many goals and in away games especially. We wanted to be rock solid today against the ball.

"Overall I have to say I'm pretty happy. We have a massive game on Thursday evening. It's just half-time."

Though David Wagner's Norwich side now face the daunting task of a trip to Elland Road, the Canaries boss feels his players are capable of overcoming the raucous home atmosphere to reach the final at Wembley.

Wagner is also looking to draw upon his experiences during his time at Huddersfield, where his Terriers team beat Sheffield Wednesday on penalties at Hillsborough before going on to win another shoot-out at Wembley against Reading to clinch Premier League promotion.

"Every single second we are in the game at Elland Road, it is a minute in our favour," Wagner stated at his post-match news conference.

"I said beforehand we are the underdogs. The expectation is on Leeds. We know this.

"I have experienced being the away team in the play-offs."

Norwich captain Kenny McLean echoed his manager's belief that the Canaries can go and win at Elland Road, telling Sky Sports: "We know how good Leeds can be at home and they'll fancy their chances, but we’re a very good team as well."

Norwich City and Leeds United could not be separated in a goalless draw in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final, leaving it all to play for at Elland Road.

Junior Firpo put the ball into the back of the net in the 30th minute, but it was ruled out for a marginal offside by Georginio Rutter in the build-up at Carrow Road.

Marcelino Nunez failed to take Norwich's best chance in the first half, firing wide of the left post after Leeds had an early penalty shout for a foul on Wilfried Gnonto by Borja Sainz dismissed by the referee.

The sides will meet again on Thursday at Elland Road for a winner-takes-all-decider and a place in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium on May 26.

Data Debrief: Stalemate

Norwich have failed to score in a home game for the first time since December. It is also the first time they have failed to win an EFL play-off at home, winning both of the previous two by a 3-1 scoreline (vs Wolves in 2001-02 and Ipswich Town in 2014-15).

Leeds only attempted six shots in this game (two on target), their lowest total in a single match in the Championship this season.

Ipswich Town secured their return to the Premier League after a 22-year absence by seeing off Huddersfield Town 2-0 at Portman Road on Saturday.

Kieran McKenna's side, who only earned promotion from League One last year, required a point on the final day of regular-season fixtures.

Wes Burns put Ipswich on their way with a 27th-minute strike, before Omar Hutchinson sealed the deal early in the second period.

As it turned out, even a loss would have seen Town go up as Leeds failed to pick up the three points they needed in a 2-1 loss to Southampton.

Joel Piroe cancelled out Adam Armstrong's goal, but Will Smallbone restored the visitors' lead before half-time at Elland Road and at it remained that way.

Leeds will now face Norwich City in the play-offs after the Canaries dropped from fifth to sixth with a 1-0 loss to Birmingham City.

West Brom's 3-0 win over Preston North End ensured they finished the season in fifth, meaning a play-off semi-final date with Southampton.

Despite their home win over Norwich, Birmingham joined Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town in being relegated to the third tier.

That is due to Plymouth Argyle defeating top-six chasers Hull City 1-0, while Sheffield Wednesday eased to a 2-0 victory at Sunderland.

Rotherham's relegation was confirmed last month, while Huddersfield were effectively already down barring a miraculous set of results on the final day.

Norwich head coach David Wagner was happy to take a point after seeing his play-off chasing side held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol City at Carrow Road.

The Canaries went into the match with eight successive home victories behind them but failed to hit the heights of recent months against in-form opposition and had to come from behind to secure a hard-fought draw.

The draw took Norwich level with fifth-placed West Brom and kept them six points clear of the chasing pack with games running out.

“I am satisfied with the point – if you can’t win a game it is important you take something from it and that is what we have done today,” said Wagner.

“It is another small step closer to our target and the gap between ourselves and the teams chasing us is the same, so that is good.

“We were up against a good side and our performance and energy levels were not as high as they have been recently. We know we can play a lot better than that – but players are only human.

“I can’t complain about their effort and attitude but we were not at our best level today.

“There were a lot of turnovers, giving them opportunities and we were fortunate we had a top level keeper like Gunny (Angus Gunn) out there.

“He was outstanding today – and has shown why I feel he is the best keeper in this league.”

Both goals came in a three-minute spell early in the second half, with a shock Bristol City opener being quickly cancelled out.

The Robins, who went close on several occasions in the opening period, got their noses in front on 56 minutes when defender Haydon Roberts got on the end of a Tommy Conway cutback to score his first league goal for the club.

But the visitors were quickly brought down to earth when they were short at the back as a quick ball forward found Josh Sargent and Norwich’s top scorer squared for Borja Sainz to complete the easiest of finishes.

Bristol City boss Liam Manning was delighted with the performance of his side.

“There were a lot of positives from the game,” he said. “In the first half especially we took the game to them and created a lot of good chances and I suppose the only disappointment was that we failed to take them.

“This is really tough place to come but we went out and played really well against a very good side.

“I guess it says something that we have come away from here with a point and are still a little bit disappointed.

“I thought the players were excellent – they showed a lot of quality on the ball and the work-rate and commitment was there too.

“We are on a good run now, I think that’s six unbeaten and we want to maintain these levels in the next two games, to finish the season in the best way possible.”

Norwich took another tentative step towards the Championship play-offs as they came from behind to pick up a hard-fought point in a 1-1 draw with Bristol City.

The Canaries failed to make it nine straight home wins at Carrow Road but the draw took them level with fifth-placed West Brom and kept them six points clear of the chasing pack with games running out.

The in-form Robins created plenty of chances and deservedly took the lead early in the second half when Haydon Roberts finished off a slick move to score his first goal for the club.

But Norwich showed what they were made of by equalising from their next attack, Borja Sainz tapping the ball home after being set up for the easiest of chances by the Canaries’ top scorer Josh Sargent.

Both sides had their chances in an entertaining first half, with the visitors wasting the best of them after just 13 minutes.

Mark Sykes found himself with a clear run on goal after being fed by Scott Twine but, despite having plenty of time to assess his options, he was well off target as he clipped the ball over the advancing Angus Gunn.

Twine also hit the crossbar with a deflected free-kick as the Robins gave as good as they got, while at the other end Sargent saw an early shot come back off the woodwork after being picked out on the edge of the box by Sainz.

The Canaries almost took the lead in unlikely fashion two minutes after the restart when a low Marcelino Nunez corner ran along the line, with no-one in a yellow shirt able to get a touch.

But it was the visitors who took the lead on 56 minutes after putting together a slick move on the left. It started with Tommy Conway finding the overlapping Cameron Pring in space and ended with Roberts sweeping home in emphatic fashion.

Norwich found the perfect response however, equalising within a couple of minutes as a ball through the middle caught out the Robins’ defence, allowing Sargent to square for Sainz, who managed to stay onside to apply the simplest of finishes.

As the game opened up it took a superb reaction stop from Max O’Leary to keep out a stinging drive from the recently introduced Jon Rowe while Gunn had to be at his best to foil Anis Mehmeti when the ball broke kindly for the Robins’ substitute.

But both defences held firm as the game ended all square, a fair result for both teams.

Boss David Wagner warned Norwich cannot let up in their bid for a Championship play-off place despite moving six points clear with a late 1-0 win at Preston.

Gabriel Sara struck in the 86th minute to bag a crucial victory for the Canaries against their promotion rivals on a day where fellow contenders Coventry and Middlesbrough also dropped points.

Seventh-placed Hull have a game in hand on Norwich but Wagner’s side are in pole position to secure that final spot after an excellent performance at Deepdale.

A goalkeeper masterclass from Freddie Woodman prevented Norwich from striking earlier – he made four excellent first-half saves – but Sara’s fifth goal in seven matches broke the deadlock.

“We’re a step closer [securing a play-off place] but it isn’t done,” Wagner said.

“We have some further work to do but seven points from our last three games – and three top performances – is fantastic.

“We’re all a bit exhausted but we have a couple of days off now and we can’t wait to get back to Carrow Road against Bristol City.”

In a game packed with chances, Woodman kept Preston in it. He first saved from Borja Sainz before denying Ashley Barnes from close range.

Sara went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock but again Woodman did well to collect a fizzing 25-yard volley while he then stopped Sara in first-half stoppage time.

Preston had plenty of chances of their own, with Norwich stopper Angus Gunn thwarting Jordan Storey from close range.

“We deserved the win, performance-wise we looked very mature, very calm and very composed,” Wagner added.

“Unfortunately we had to wait quite a long time [to win it] but I have the feeling we deserved the goal.

“It was important to keep cool heads and to keep the crowd on a low. How the players executed the plan was just great.

“Unfortunately we didn’t use our opportunities [in the game], even though there were not a lot of them.

“But I thought we were always in control, even though some of our final passes and final touches could have been a bit better.

“We defended super, super well. We gave them more or less nothing apart from set-pieces.

“We knew they would be a threat on set-pieces but the players were competitive and it was a top performance.

“I’m over the moon about the result and the clean sheet as well. In possession we were composed even though we didn’t execute clearcut chances but we always looked in control.”

Preston dropped to 10th and are now eight points off sixth place, although they have four games left.

“It’s mixed emotions, really,” said manager Ryan Lowe.

“Disappointed with the result, pleased and proud of the boys for everything they have given all season.

“We have fallen a little bit short. It hasn’t been for the lack of trying, effort, desire or commitment – everything I like was definitely there.

“It is that final bit, in both boxes, isn’t it? But, as I say, I am always proud of the boys.

“I thought we were the better team really, if I am being honest – especially first half, we had some good moments.

“In the second half they had the ball a bit more; we were ready to pounce and go.”

Freddie Woodman produced a goalkeeping masterclass but Gabriel Sara’s late winner saw Norwich beat Preston 1-0 at Deepdale to move closer towards securing a coveted play-off place.

The former Newcastle shot-stopper pulled off a string of fine saves but Brazilian midfielder Sara’s 86th-minute strike dented the Lilywhites’ play-off hopes and left the Canaries six points clear of seventh-placed Hull.

Woodman made four excellent saves in the first half alone while the Lilywhites also hit the crossbar but it was Sara’s later intervention which proved crucial.

It was the playmaker’s fifth goal in seven games, with the Canaries having left themselves well-placed to be in the play-off mix with just three games left.

Preston dropped to 10th and are now eight points off sixth place, although they have four games left.

Defender Liam Lindsay went close for the home side in the 13th minute but his header flew narrowly over.

Midfielder Mads Frokjaer forced a fine save from Canaries keeper Angus Gunn not long after as the home side forced the early pace in their quest to further their play-off hopes.

At the other end, Sara picked out Borja Sainz with a fine pass but the Spaniard rifled his powerful volley wide of the target.

Centre-back Jordan Storey was then thwarted from close range by a superb save from Gunn.

But another missed chance nearly cost the home side but for Woodman’s brilliant intervention.

The on-song keeper produced an excellent block to deny Sainz the opener as the visitors found their way back into the contest.

Two minutes later Woodman saved well from Ashley Barnes as the home side found themselves on the back foot.

Sara went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock but again Woodman did well to collect a fizzing 25-yard volley.

Woodman saved again from Sara in first-half stoppage time as the home side were able to get some much-needed respite going into the break.

But that was just before Jack Whatmough thought he had put them ahead on the stroke of half-time, his thundering header having beaten Gunn and crashed into the woodwork.

Sara smashed over the bar after just two minutes of the second half while Sainz’s deflected effort fell fortuitously into the path of Josh Sargent but he lashed across the face of goal.

Kenny McLean fired a powerful shot over the bar as the visitors pushed for a winner and the pressure told with just four minutes left when Sara pounced to win it for the visitors.

Woodman got a hand to the shot but not enough to prevent it going into the far corner.

Midfielder Alan Browne had a shot cleared after a goalmouth scramble as Preston desperately tried to get back on level terms but Sara’s winner was a real sucker-punch to their play-off ambitions.

Norwich boss David Wagner insisted his side were “not ruthless” enough as he saw them blow a two-goal first-half lead to draw 2-2 in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

Norwich hit the front in the 11th minute when Josh Sargent tapped in at the back post and doubled their lead five minutes later when they were gifted the ball outside the box which allowed Borja Sainz to stroke it into the bottom corner.

Danny Rohl made four substitutions at the break but his Owls side missed further chances before Michael Ihiekwe’s header gave Wednesday the belief before Michael Smith nodded home with five minutes to go to rescue a much-needed point in their relegation battle as they marked their 5,000th league match.

Wagner was frustrated with his side’s inability to kill the game after and put themselves in a commanding position to strengthen their play-off bid.

He told a press conference: “We have done everything super well, we looked sharp in ball possession and out of ball possession but we didn’t kill the game.

“We were not ruthless inside the opponent’s box, we had a lot of clear-cut chances and obviously this at the end of the day has shown why we have not won the game.

“Today we have put the hard work in to collect three points but haven’t done because we could not kill the game. Especially when a team is so direct with set-pieces something can happen.

“We have not made use of our chances, this is what frustrates us and the performance the players have shown on the pitch, the commitment is good.”

The point for Norwich gives them a five-point cushion inside the play-offs but Wagner thinks his side have dropped two points from a good performance.

He added: “I would have liked to have six points (from Ipswich and Sheff Wed) after you have seen the two performances.

“But in football, you don’t always get what you wish, you get what you earn and today we only got one because we weren’t ruthless.

“We have to be more ruthless, this is what hurts. How we played, how we defended was good.”

Wednesday remain in the relegation zone only on goal difference after the draw and Rohl hailed his side’s togetherness to fight back and claim a point.

He said: “We showed again our togetherness. Not many people thought we would come back and take something but we did.

“Second half we played better, the stadium was behind us and created energy and this showed what we need in our situation.

“Today we take the point and now we have to go again Saturday. If we are over the line on the last matchday everyone will take it.

“We keep coming back and today we came back from 2-0 down, today we showed we can do this against a strong Norwich side.

“I’m happy with the point. Not happy with the first half but one key point.”

Leicester missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of the Championship after a 1-0 loss at Millwall.

Ryan Longman’s brilliant top corner finish was the difference for the Lions, who climbed into 17th.

Leicester stayed one point clear at the summit after Leeds moved into second following a goalless draw against Sunderland.

Substitute Milutin Osmajic bagged a quickfire hat-trick as Preston completed an incredible second-half comeback to beat relegation-threatened Huddersfield 4-1.

Josh Koroma handed the Terriers the lead in the 42nd minute, but Preston equalised when Will Keane levelled from the penalty spot.

Osmajic starred from the bench in the final stages, striking twice in three minutes before completing his treble in the second minute of stoppage time to snatch three points and leave Town outside the bottom three on goal difference.

Sheffield Wednesday scored two late goals to salvage a crucial point in their relegation battle after a 2-2 draw against Norwich.

The visitors struck quickly in the opening stages with Josh Sargent putting the Canaries ahead in the 11th minute before Borja Sainz doubled the advantage five minutes later.

However, Wednesday turned the game around in the final 15 minutes with Michael Ihiekwe pulling one back before Michael Smith levelled in the 85th minute to leave them alongside Huddersfield.

Fourth-placed Southampton continued their play-off push with a 2-1 win against Coventry.

Haji Wright missed a penalty for the Sky Blues in the 10th minute and Southampton struck just eight minutes later through Kyle Walker-Peters.

Che Adams doubled the lead just before the break before Jake Bidwell pulled one back for Coventry, who remain just outside the play-off places.

Plymouth earned a valuable point after drawing 1-1 with QPR.

Sam Field put the visitors ahead from a corner, but Argyle are two points above the drop zone as Albert Adomah turned the ball into his own net.

Sheffield Wednesday battled back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with Norwich and strengthen their Sky Bet Championship survival bid.

Wednesday handed Norwich the initiative straight away and the visitors established a two-goal lead early on through Josh Sargent and Borja Sainz but the home side had James Beadle to thank for keeping the deficit at two heading into the break.

Wednesday looked more confident in the second period and Norwich were made to pay for their flurry of missed chances in the second half as two headers from Michael Ihiekwe and Michael Smith rescued an unlikely point.

Norwich were almost gifted the opening goal of the game when Marcelino Nunez latched onto to some sloppy possession at the back and took a shot but Beadle did well to parry the ball out to Ashley Barnes, who blasted wide on the rebound.

Wednesday had the warning a couple of moments ago but Norwich scored the first in the 10th minute as Sam McCallum’s throw-in was flicked on by Barnes and Sargent tapped in at the back post.

The Canaries were all over the hosts and almost doubled their lead straight away as Sainz ran through on goal and unleashed a low drive into the corner but Beadle was on hand to tip behind again.

Wednesday were making the same mistakes at the back and Norwich did not let them off the hook this time – as the home side tried to play out of the back, Nunez was gifted the ball and he fed through Sainz, who stroked home to make it 2-0.

Creators of their downfall yet again, Wednesday nearly handed Norwich a third as Sainz teed up Nunez, who sliced just wide of the post.

The Owls were lucky to be trailing by two at the break as McCallum sprung down the left and whipped a ball in, Nunez smashed over the crossbar to keep Wednesday alive, just.

The hosts made four substitutions at the break and started the second period with a little more life but the Canaries seemed keen for a third though, Jack Stacey raced beyond the back line who were expecting an offside flag that never went up, but Beadle denied Stacey to keep them in the contest.

Another couple of chances came and went for Norwich after Sainz was brought down outside the box, Nunez’s resulting free-kick was palmed away by Beadle and Gabriel Sara scuffed an effort wide a couple of moments later.

Wednesday’s best chance of the match came after Callum Paterson chased down a long ball and found himself one-on-one but could not guide his effort past Angus Gunn.

The visitors failed to put Wednesday away and they had their route back into the match after Ihiekwe nodded home from Will Vauks’ corner.

Wednesday piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser no one saw coming and they had one from yet another corner, this time Vaulks picked out Smith at the back post, who headed in to leave them in the relegation zone on goal difference.

Norwich head coach David Wagner heaped praise on his side’s supporters after watching his side beat Ipswich 1-0 to boost their play-off bid – and dent their neighbours’ chances of automatic promotion.

Wagner and his players felt the wrath of the fans during a poor run earlier in the season but Carrow Road was rocking in the lunchtime kick-off as the Canaries reeled off an eighth straight home win thanks to a first-half strike from Marcelino Nunez.

“The atmosphere in the ground was fantastic, the best since I have seen here, and you could see the affect it had on the players,” said Wagner.

“The fans were outstanding – and so were my team. It was a top performance and the only complaint I could make was that we should have put it to bed earlier.

“Every player put in a good shift to get the win – and to keep a clean sheet against a side who scored many goals was very pleasing.

“From where we were earlier in the season, 17th in the table, to where we are now speaks volumes about the spirit and togetherness in the squad.

“They are a group who can achieve something special, especially with the sort of backing we got today.

“But while we will all enjoy this we know there is another big game coming up on Tuesday (at Sheffield Wednesday) and that will be our focus from tomorrow.”

A game of few clear-cut chances was settled by a long range free-kick from Nunez six minutes before the break.

Sam Morsy brought down the lively Josh Sargent in a central position some 30 yards out to set up what looked like nothing more than a half chance. But the Chilean midfielder had other ideas and curled the ball around a token wall and into the back of the net via an upright.

Norwich missed a number of chances to stretch their lead on the break in the second half while Ipswich struggled to create all afternoon.

Conor Chaplin and substitute Ali Al-Hamadi both missed late second-half chances but Norwich keeper Angus Gunn was largely untroubled.

Town manager Kieran McKenna admitted his side were below their best as their long run without an East Anglian derby win continued.

“We weren’t at the level required to win the game and I don’t think Norwich were at their best either. But, to be fair to them, they found a way to win the game,” he said.

“I would certainly have liked to have seen us create more chances and be better on the ball but it was our third game in a busy week and it doesn’t always go the way you want it to.

“I know how much this one means to the supporters and all I can say is lessons were learned and we’ll be stronger for the experience. We have now got two home games coming up which is good.

“I thought we looked comfortable early on and there wasn’t much in the game and then Norwich had a spell of 20 minutes when they got a lot of free-kicks and scored from one of them.

“The decision for the challenge by Morsy looked a marginal one but the decision that annoyed me was the free-kick for (Axel) Tuanzebe’s challenge on Sargent which started it all off. That wasn’t a foul, not even marginal, and it changed the complexion of the game.”

Ipswich suffered a serious blow to their hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship when they slid to a 1-0 defeat at local rivals Norwich.

A tense game of few clear-cut chances was settled by 39th free-kick from Marcelino Nunez, who fired home low and hard from over 30 yards.

The win left a below-par Ipswich side hoping for slip-ups from rivals Leicester and Leeds later in the day, while for Norwich it further cemented their place in the top six.

It also maintained their overwhelming supremacy in this fixture in recent times, with Ipswich having failed to clinch an East Anglian derby win since a 3-2 victory at Portman Road way back in 2009.

After a predictably tight start the home side began to take the initiative, winning a series of free-kicks deep in Ipswich territory.

And they made the fourth of them count, with Nunez edging his side in front six minutes before the break after Sam Morsy had shoved Josh Sargent to the ground some 30 yards out in a central position.

A goal looked a long shot, quite literally, but the Chilean comfortably beat Town’s two-man wall with a low curler which eluded Vaclav Hladky’s desperate dive to the left and went in off the post.

Ten minutes earlier Sargent had been brought down by Axel Tuanzebe in a seemingly more dangerous position, after being put in by a delightful Ashley Barnes through ball, but on this occasion Gabriel Sara’s free-kick came to nothing.

Overall the Canaries had the better of a tight opening period, with Ipswich looking nothing like a side challenging for automatc promotion. Their only effort on or off target was Massimo Luongo’s header from a corner which sailed harmlessly over.

Sam McCallum’s long ball from the back almost caught the visitors out in the early stages of the second half, with Borja Sainz’s lob only narrowly off target.

Sargent then went down on the edge of the box under a last-ditch challenge from Morsy, only for referee Matthew Donohue to infuriate the home fans by waving play on.

As the game entered its final quarter Sargent burst through again and cut the ball back for Sainz, only for the Spaniard to guide a first time effort high and wide.

Ipswich were struggling to make any impact in the final third, although Conor Chaplin finally produced an effort worthy of the name on 70 minutes, firing just over after being picked out by Leif Davis’ cross.

Substitute Ali Al-Hamadi was then thwarted by Angus Gunn’s quick reaction as he chased a long ball but Norwich defended well to see out a well deserved derby win.

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