Norwich City moved 10 points clear at the top of the Championship as Emi Buendia’s sweet strike earned them a sixth successive win and dented second-placed Brentford’s automatic promotion chances.
The Canaries had little trouble seeing out victory at Carrow Road after the Argentine cut in from the right to find the bottom corner 26 minutes in.
Brentford’s best spell came before the goal, with Sergi Canos making a terrible mess of a glorious close-range chance and top scorer Ivan Toney failing to get a true connection on a volley.
Norwich took control after going ahead, with Teemu Pukki wasting a second glorious one-on-one opening their most notable miss.
But the hosts, with Grant Hanley outstanding in defence, did not need the cushion of a second goal, despite some strong late Brentford pressure, as the Canaries recorded a 22nd league win of the season.
Cute Canaries avoid Bees sting
The Bees were looking for a third successive win, but have now lost four of their past six games and lacked precision and tempo in their passing as they were kept at arm’s length for much of the evening.
City’s top scorer Pukki wasted two excellent chances at either end of the first half as a 19th goal in Norwich colours this season eluded him.
The Finn dinked his first effort wide when he went through one-on-one with keeper David Raya inside two minutes and he was thwarted by the Spaniard on the second occasion, Raya staying on his feet to block another chipped Pukki attempt following a swift counter-attack.
The Bees looked sharper and more incisive before falling behind, spurning two wonderful opportunities of their own.
After a venomous Canos strike forced Tim Krul into a decent save, the Spanish midfielder should have scored a few minutes later only to dribble a follow-up effort wide when Krul could only push away Bryan Mbeumo’s driven cross.
But they soon trailed as a sloppy Canos pass surrendered possession and the hosts worked the ball out to the right where Buendia cut in, evaded a couple of weak challenges and drilled a low shot into the far corner.
The Bees lacked cohesion thereafter, too often misplacing passes and allowing the home side to recover their defensive positions.
Norwich looked far likelier to score the second goal, Pukki smashing an effort wide and hitting an 18-yard shot that forced Raya into action, while defender Ben Gibson tamely headed at Raya from eight yards from a free-kick.
Toney and Henrik Dalsgaard were both off target late on, but the visitors could not force a leveller as Norwich made it 15 consecutive league games without losing on home soil for the first time since April 1987.
- 8VrancicBooked at 51minsSubstituted forRuppat 69′minutes
- 25HernándezBooked at 71minsSubstituted forSørensenat 83′minutes
- 22PukkiSubstituted forHugillat 87′minutes
- 23ReidBooked at 41minsSubstituted forRasmussenat 76′minutes
- 29Bech Sørensen
- 27JaneltSubstituted forNørgaardat 67′minutes
- 20GhoddosSubstituted forForssat 76′minutes
- 7CanósSubstituted forFosu-Henryat 67′minutes
Match ends, Norwich City 1, Brentford 0.
Second Half ends, Norwich City 1, Brentford 0.
Foul by Marcus Forss (Brentford).
Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Ben Gibson.
Attempt blocked. Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mads Rasmussen with a cross.
Attempt missed. Ivan Toney (Brentford) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Marcus Forss.
Substitution, Norwich City. Jordan Hugill replaces Teemu Pukki.
Offside, Norwich City. Tim Krul tries a through ball, but Teemu Pukki is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Dimitrios Giannoulis (Norwich City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Lukas Rupp.
Substitution, Norwich City. Jacob Sørensen replaces Onel Hernández.
Foul by Ethan Pinnock (Brentford).
Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Brentford. Marcus Forss replaces Saman Ghoddos.
Substitution, Brentford. Mads Rasmussen replaces Winston Reid.
Attempt saved. Onel Hernández (Norwich City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía.
Foul by Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Brentford).
Kenny McLean (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.