Norwich City extended their lead at the top of the English Championship to 10 points with a 1-0 win at home to second-placed Brentford on Wednesday as the Canaries maintained their bid for an immediate return to the Premier League.
Emi Buendia scored the only goal for Norwich City at Carrow Road, the midfielder on target with a fine solo effort midway through the first half.
Only the top two in the second tier at the end of the regular season are guaranteed a place in English football’s lucrative top flight.
Norwich’s sixth successive league win put them 10 points clear a the top with just 12 matches left to play.
By contrast, a fourth defeat in six games for Brentford left the west London side in a contest with the likes of Watford and Swansea for second place.
“It was a spotlight game between two of the best teams in the league and I thought it was a well deserved win,” said Norwich manager Daniel Farke.
“We didn’t allow them many proper chances and we had many good situations and should really have scored more goals.”
Brentford boss Thomas Frank said the Canaries were certainties to go up.
“Congratulations to Norwich, I think they are 100 percent certain to be promoted,” he insisted.
“That is not mind games or anything like that, it’s based on the quality of their performances this season.”
Brentford could have gone ahead in the 12th minute but former Norwich winger Sergi Canos, played in by Bryan Mbeumo, slipped as he was about to shoot.
The decisive moment of the match came in the 26th minute when a swift Norwich counter-attack saw the ball come to Buendia, with the Argentine playmaker going past two defenders on the edge of the box before his low shot into the bottom corner beat David Raya.
Brentford goalkeeper Raya did, however, prevent Norwich from doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time when he made a good save to deny Teemu Pukki after the Finn had been played in by Buendia.
Raya was in action again early in the second half, denying Pukki by turning a strong shot from the edge of the area around the post.
Brentford top-scorer Ivan Toney shot narrowly wide in stoppage time and the visitors then had a penalty appeal rejected when Mbeumo went down in the box under challenge from Grant Hanley, although Frank said it was a “fifty-fifty” decision.