By Ayyaz Malik
Norwich joined Middlesbrough in the championship final as they over came their derby rivals Ipswich 3-1 on the day and 4-2 on aggregate. Norwich who are also known as the Canaries head into the final against Middlesborough – and will be looking to gain an instant return to the premier league after dropping down to the championship last year.
The Canaries who finished above their East Anglian rivals in the regular season were looking to maintain their superiority over their derby rivals this season after coming out on top in the regular league season. After letting a first leg lead slip at Ipswich’s Portman Road stadium – it was Norwich who made the breakthrough from the penalty spot after Christophe Berra handled in the area which lead to the Scottish defender being sent off.
The home side at this point must have thought they had this tie wrapped up – but Norwich allowed the 10 man visitors Ipswich back into the game as Tommy Smith levelled from close range. Just like in the first leg, Norwich after having the upper hand allowed their rivals back into the contest – but this time Norwich managed to regain control of the match.
Goals from Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome eventually killed off the contest as Norwich’s hopes of an instant premier league return remain intact. As for Ipswich defeat at this stage means next season will be a 14th straight season in the championship and a seventh play off semi-final defeat in eight.
The win for the Canaries means that they will play Middlesborough who easily swept aside Mark Warburton’s Brentford 5-1 over two legs. Boro who finished third in the regular season after a mini slump outclassed a Brentford side that seemed a bit overawed by the occasion – but despite being over rawed in such a match the Bees deserve credit for having such a great season as there wouldn’t have been many who would have expected the London side to finish where they did.
The championship final will be played as Wembley on 25th May which will see Middlesborough who finished third in the regular season take on Norwich who finished fourth.