Teemu Pukki’s first hat-trick in Norwich City colours gave the rampant Canaries a 3-1 win over Newcastle United at Carrow Road this afternoon and had his manager purring afterwards.
“You can’t ask for more,” said a delighted Daniel Farke, after watching his team to a man deliver performances to match the occasion.
There was no one stand-out player – even if Pukki will steal all the headlines.
“First Premier League home game, first win – it was a brilliant result,” added the City chief, as he spoke to BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards.
“My feeling was that we were better in the first half than we were in the second,” he said. “We were a bit like a thunderstorm in the first half and were able to create many lightning strikes but I thought we maybe could have been more effective in terms of scoring goals. But in the second-half, we controlled the game and were more clinical in our finishes.”
For that read Pukki as the 29-year-old found his range to devastating effect and grabbed the first Premier League hat-trick for the Canaries since Efan Ekoku blazed four past Everton in September, 1993, and had Carrow Road a-buzzin.
“He was great today – not only for his goals but for his workload to link the play and I remember one occasion in the first-half where he was able to regain possession on our 18-yard line.
“His attitude is so important – he’s a leader when it comes to the workload for the team.”
The home faithful were swiftly given something to cheer when Pukki made a darting run through the heart of the Newcastle defence with just five minutes on the clock; his pull-back found the fast-arriving Todd Cantwell whose shot was brilliantly saved by the legs of Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka.
It would set the tone for much of what was to follow.
Earlier and the City boss had made just one change to his starting line-up from the team that crashed 4-1 at Liverpool with Moritz Leitner’s bright, second-half showing earning its reward with a start ahead of Kenny McLean.
Norwich continued in their bright, attacking vein with Pukki again the focus going forward. Clear through on goal in the 16th minute it needed another heroic save from Dubravka to deny the Finn his second goal of the new season. Little did he know at that stage what riches would await him before the game’s final whistle.
Newcastle were making chances of their own, though the nearest they came was from a hopeful Isaac Hayden cross which had Tim Krul back-pedalling before plucking the ball out of the airtight on his goal-line.
Hayden was again the provider for Newcastle’s next threatening moment as his cross picked out Joelinton at the far post but the big No9 could only head well over. It was a warning, that for all City’s bright possession, they still had nothing to show for it.
At the back Ben Godfrey was offering ample evidence that he can make the step up; in the middle Tom Trybull was mopping up assiduously, it was just in that final third that Norwich had yet to deliver.
Cue Pukki. The ever-lively Finn had given Newcastle more than enough warning of his attacking menace before grabbing the game’s opening goal. A 32nd-minute corner provided the original opening as Jamaal Lasceslles’ header merely dropped perfectly for the lurking Pukki to lash home with a peach of a volley.
The question was always going to be whether or not the striker could replicate his Championship form in front of goal in the higher reaches of the Premier League. Two in two was his answer as Norwich motored into a deserved lead.
A goal to the good at the break, after the interval it was Newcastle who showed first as Matt Ritchie and Hayden both teed themselves up for a volley in the City box only for the final touch to elude them.
Krul would pull out all the stops with a magnificent near-post save from a 62nd-minute corner before the Pukki bandwagon rolled into another gear in the shape of the game’s second goal.
Cantwell was the provider, racing into acres of space before inviting the Finn to finish which he duly did with clinical aplomb.
It was a timely strike as Newcastle had been muscling their way back into the contest. Given the late dramas these teams have shared over previous meetings, few would take anything for granted but 2-0 up was very much where Norwich needed to be. Godfrey, Krul and Co needed to just hang in there for three, priceless points to be theirs.
In the event, Norwich were sniffing three as Emi Buendia and Cantwell linked up to good effect only for Fabian Schar to slam the door shut in the Argentine’s face.
Pukki showed them how when he completed his hat-trick on 75 minutes. Cantwell again was prominent as he ushered the Finn into striking range, but it still needed Ritchie’s challenge to be brushed off before Pukki could finish beyond a helpless Dubravka.
A hat-trick on his home debut in the Premier League. “Teemu? Teemu who?” was answered in the most emphatic, sit-up-and-take-notice of fashions.
Norwich were back. And in some style, too.
Even a late consolation strike from Jonjo Shelvey failed to take the shine off the days proceedings; the injury time effort being all too little, too late. Norwich were home and hosed as Pukki ripped Newcastle apart.