BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Norwich was relegated from the English Premier League after Dean Smith’s return to Aston Villa ended in a 2-0 defeat on Saturday.
A 10th loss in 12 left Norwich 13 points from safety with four matches remaining, and was a painful way for Smith to mark his return to the ground where he began the season in charge.
It is the fourth straight season which has ended in either promotion or relegation for Norwich.
Goals from Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings gave Villa a first win in six matches and lifted Steven Gerrard’s side to 13th place.
Norwich managed to frustrate Villa for much of the first half although Leon Bailey had his effort pushed on to the crossbar by Tim Krul.
The deadlock was finally broken four minutes from halftime. Ings came on to replace the injured Bailey and, with his first touch, sent a long ball forward for Watkins to run at goal, leaving Brandon Williams on the floor before striking a shot which was deflected in off Sam Byram.
Ings almost got on the scoresheet himself in the second half but headed a corner onto the post before Tim Iroegbanum — who was making his first league start — sent the rebound over.
With his side struggling to kill off the match, Gerrard replaced Coutinho with Emi Buendia, who was Norwich’s player of the season last term.
And he proved the difference, first setting up Ramsey for a shot which was blocked before creating the space for Ings to apply the final touch and seal the result in stoppage time.
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