Watford 0-3 Norwich: Claudio Ranieri surely on the brink as Josh Sargent strikes twice

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Watford 0-3 Norwich: Claudio Ranieri surely on the brink as Josh Sargent strikes twice
© Getty Images ClaudioRanieri2101A

Norwich City climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a crunch win over beleaguered Watford on Friday night.

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A Josh Sargent double condemned Claudio Ranieri’s side to a loss at home to a team many had previously written off.

The 21-year-old had not found the net in the English top flight since his summer move from Werder Bremen until his improvised flick broke the deadlock in the 51st minute.

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Sargent then headed home from a well-weighted Milot Rashica cross for his and Norwich’s second of the game, as the win saw the club climb out of the bottom three.

Emmanuel Dennis was shown a second yellow card soon after for a high foot on Max Aarons, to leave the Hornets to see out the final 12 minutes with 10 men.

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In added time, Norwich added a third to put the game beyond the hosts, when Juraj Kucka diverted a ball from Adam Idah past Daniel Bachmann and into his own net.

The game was temporarily halted in the 60th minute when a section of the floodlights went out. After an 11-minute delay while the lights flickered on briefly, referee Mike Dean allowed play to continue without the full lights.

The result ensures the Hornets remain without a win since their shock 4-1 triumph over Manchester United in November, but have only now slipped into the relegation zone for the first time this season.

The club, though, do not have a history of sticking with under-pressure managers and it could be a crucial week for Claudio Ranieri, who described the match beforehand as a “cup final”.

The pre-match pyrotechnics including fireworks and flames built the atmosphere but there were no chances of note until the 12th minute, when Rashica curled a ball from Sargent just over the Watford goal.

Just before half-time, Dennis wove his way into the box and went down in search of a penalty rather than trying to pick out an unmarked Joao Pedro.

Watford had a chance at the start of the second half when Pedro was found by Sissoko, but his strike was over Angus Gunn’s goal.

Out of an innocuous opportunity, Norwich took the lead with a clever back-heeled flick from Sargent for his first goal for the Canaries.

Teemu Pukki shook off Samir in the build up, which VAR checked before allowing the goal to stand, before playing the ball into the centre of the box where Sargent stuck out his leg behind him and the ball rebounded off the crossbar and over the line.

The goalscorer then headed a Rashica cross past Bachmann for his side’s second of the game in the 74th minute.

Dennis’ second yellow left his side at a numerical disadvantage and Norwich were able to cap off their match with a Kucka own goal to leave with a 3-0 victory, the first time they have scored three in the Premier League this season.

Additional reporting from PA

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