Raheem Sterling scored the perfect hat-trick as Manchester City cruised past Norwich at Carrow Road. The winger scored a stunning opening goal then made it 3-0 with his head after Phil Foden had doubled City’s lead. The winger then completed his hat-trick with his left foot after his 90th minute penalty was saved by Angus Gunn.
It was a complete performance by the blues, who dominated the match from the start, although the home side did have a couple of chances to test the blues.
Manager Pep Guardiola clearly had Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Sporting Lisbon in mind with his team selection, as Kyle Walker, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho and Nathan Ake came into the side, while youngster, Liam Delap, James McAtee and Kayky were named on the bench. Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus didn’t travel with the squad due to injury.
City were on the end of a shock 3-2 defeat on their last visit to Carrow Road, and were determined they would not fall victim to another defeat as they looked to strengthen their grip at the top of the table. Foden had a goal disallowed for offside and Bernardo Silva hit the post as the blues looked to overrun their opponents.
But they didn’t have it all their own way as Grant Hanley hit the post with a header while at 0-0. That was during a good spell for the home side, which roused the supporters, but it didn’t do enough for the team and the blues took a deserved lead on 31 minutes through Sterling.
The home side failed to deal with Walker’s cross and Sterling picked up the ball on the edge of the aera, before curling a shot beyond Gunn into the far corner. It was no more than City deserved on the balance of play.
There was a nice moment from the City fans on 40 minutes in memory of the life of a blue who sadly passed away in the week. After a Twitter appeal, City fans stood in unison and applauded the life of fellow blue Darren Blair, who was taken from his family earlier in the week.
Rest in peace blue.
Three minutes into the second half and City did Darren proud by going to goals to the good. Foden’s initial shot was parried by Gunn, but the midfielder had the presence of mind and the feet to match as he somehow dispossessed the Norwich defence and fired home. Hanley thought he’d cleared off the line, but the referee pointed to the spot after receiving notification that the ball had crossed the line.
Norwich tried to get back into the match, but the points were sealed with 20 minutes to go. Ruben Dias headed the ball back across goal and Sterling was on hand to nod home into an unguarded goal to make it 3-0.
City introduced James McAtee, Kayky and Liam Delap late on and it was the latter who won the penalty that gave Sterling his chance of a hat-trick. The young striker was sandwiched between two Norwich defenders and the referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Sterling saw his spot-kick saved, but the rebound fell kindly for him to knock home with his left foot and complete the perfect treble.
The blues saw out the last few minutes to move 12 points clear once again and put the ball back in Liverpool’s court.
Final Score: Norwich City 0-4 Manchester City