Teemu Pukki admitted he “wouldn’t have even dreamt of a day like this” after his impressive hat-trick gave Norwich City their first win back in the Premier League against a laboured Newcastle United.
The 29-year-old’s previously unremarkable career took in spells at Schalke, Celtic and Brondby before he hit 29 goals for Norwich as they won the Championship last season.
He scored in the 4-1 defeat at Liverpool last week but he oozed Premier League quality with three fine finishes in his side’s first Premier League game back at Carrow Road.
“Of course this is one of the best games I’ve had in English football,” he said. “A hat-trick in the Premier League I wouldn’t even have dreamt about a couple of years ago.”
Pukki’s stunning volley set Norwich on their way in the first half, lashing into the top corner after Newcastle failed to clear a corner.
The home side were buoyant and Pukki doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when he clinically finished off a neat passing move.
He then rounded off the scoring after Todd Cantwell caught the visitors’ defence cold, taking over to slot his third past a helpless Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle did get a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time through Jonjo Shelvey but this disjointed and toothless display will only ramp up the pressure on new manager Steve Bruce.
Pukki punishes Newcastle
Pukki had scored with three of his past four shots on target before this game but he was uncharacteristically profligate early on as Newcastle’s defence struggled to handle Norwich’s intricate attacking play.
First, he flashed a shot wide from 12 yards before spinning Fabian Schar and hitting a shot too close to goalkeeper Dubravka.
Newcastle failed to heed the warning signs, though, and the Finnish striker punished them in style on 32 minutes.
It was a delicious strike from last season’s Championship top scorer, carefully watching a loose header drop before unleashing a thunderbolt volley high into the Newcastle net.
He tormented the visiting backline and underlined his finishing abilities when he clipped a shot into the bottom corner in the second half before sliding home his third with 15 minutes left.
His tireless display even featured a potentially goal-saving challenge when he raced back to deny Joelinton a run at goalkeeper Tim Krul.
After scoring Norwich’s consolation at Anfield last week, the Finnish striker looks completely comfortable at this level.
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