Norwich City 2-0 Queens Park Rangers: Nelson Oliveira fires Canaries to victory
Nelson Oliveira put his spat with new boss Daniel Farke firmly behind him by helping Norwich to a 2-0 win over QPR, their first Sky Bet Championship success of the season.
The Portuguese striker was dropped from the squad for City’s recent Carabao Cup tie as punishment for his angry goal celebrations in front of Farke at Fulham on the opening day, after he had come off the bench to help the visitors secure a point.
But he returned to the fold after apologising for his antics – and marked his first start of the campaign by firing the Canaries ahead against the Hoops just after the break.
On-loan Southampton midfielder Harrison Reed later opened his Norwich account with a superb second as the Farke era got up and running at Carrow Road.
The Canaries were marginally better in a dull first half and should have taken the lead after 16 minutes when the recalled Mario Vrancic curled an inch-perfect cross onto the head of an unmarked Marcel Franke.
But from no more than eight yards out the big German defender guided his header straight at Alex Smithies, who was able to pull off a smart reaction stop.
Vrancic later saw a goal-bound effort blocked, while a Josh Murphy cross into the danger area was hacked clear by Jake Bidwell, but these were rare moments of excitement as two well-matched sides largely cancelled each other out.
Jamie Mackie saw an early snapshot palmed away by Angus Gunn with Rangers rarely threatening as they focused on keeping the Canaries out.
Farke’s side, who were looking to put Sunday’s disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Sunderland behind them, wasted no time getting their noses in front after the interval.
Less than three minutes had elapsed when the visitors were punished for carelessly giving away possession, with Vrancic slipping in a delightful ball for a just-onside Oliveira to slide the ball past an exposed keeper.
Rangers almost equalised immediately, with Mackie firing straight at Gunn from just outside the six-yard box when shooting to either side would have been a certain goal.
There was another scare for the hosts when Gunn failed to hold on to a long-range pile driver from substitute Kazenga LuaLua, with the hosts unable to capitalise on the loose ball,
But Norwich generally looked comfortable and confirmed the win on 82 minutes when Reed let fly from some 25 yards out and found the top corner of the Rangers net.