Championship leaders Norwich City recorded a fifth straight win as they beat Cardiff City on Carrow Road

Emiliano Buendia fired the hosts in the first half with a crisp, low hit from 20 meters

Norwich missed a ton of opportunities before Todd Cantwell finally scored his second goal with a hefty strike from the edge of the box

The win puts Daniel Farke’s side six points ahead of the top of the championship table, at least until runner-up Bournemouth visits Luton Town at 15:00 GMT Cardiff remains tenth, three points behind play-off points

With a lunchtime push, Norwich may be forgiven for slowly attacking as their top scorer Teemu Pukki had a sleepless night giving birth to their daughter with his wife in the wee hours of Saturday morning

And although Cardiff – also in good shape with five out of six wins – was compact and competitive in the early stages, Norwich was soon in their groove

Only a few teams at this level can keep up with the creativity and the goal threat in the Canary Islands squad With Buendia and Pukki, who supported Cantwell on his first start since October after an injury, this was a particularly strong line-up

All three looked dangerous Buendia crossed Kenny McLean before Cantwell’s pass found Pukki, who shot a low shot just wide

Buendia then drifted from his starting position to the right into the infield and tiptoeed into space seemingly unnoticed before he found the lower corner of the net with a firm hit

Cardiff had a threat of its own and it was unsurprising that the championship’s top scorers had their best chances in free kicks and corners because of set pieces

Their imposing skipper Morrison was twice the target, but twice the center-back had saved a McGovern header, the second of which was a brilliant flight performance

That intervention kept Norwich 1-0 lead at break and the second half started purposefully, opening up a multitude of possibilities

Pukki had the first to lower the ball over the onrushing Alex Smithies, but far, and then Buendia set up Mario Vrancic, whose shot passed the post from close range

Cardiff’s chances were getting tighter, but as they pushed up to find a way back into the game they faced Norwich counterattacks

During such a break, Pukki hit the ball on Buendia, whose low shot was brilliantly shot out by Smithies

The Bluebirds keeper, however, was powerless when Cantwell scored a fierce 20-yard hit to seal the win for Norwich and ensure they were at the top of the championship this Christmas

“I thought it was a deserved win for us. We scored two good goals and had a chance to score a lot more. It was a clean sheet too and that was very gratifying too.

“We played a team that was also on fire. Our game management was really good. If I want to criticize something, we could have scored more goals from our chances

“But our structure and possessions were really good and we will return to the locker room with a clean sheet

“We are happy with our points so far and our position in the league, but there is still a long way to go. This is the toughest league in the world and we just need to maintain the standards we have shown so far”

“To me it looked like a game that was too far for us. We looked leggy, we looked tedious at times, and we made mistakes we normally don’t make

“When you play against good teams, you can’t give them chances like we did I can’t fault the efforts of the players

“The goals put us together – we split up in midfield, half a meter from the entire field of play, and if you give players like they have a chance, even from 25 meters away, they’ll find the lower corners of you Premier League player

“As much as we weren’t at our level, I think they showed their class and it’s something we can aim for, that quality you’re top for a reason”

Attempt blocked Leandro Bacuna (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Ralls

Attempt saved Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box, saved by the goalkeeper in the top right. Assisted by Greg Cunningham

Attempt missed The header from Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) from the right side of the six yard field misses the goal on the right. Assisted by Joe Ralls with a cross after a corner

Attempt missed The shot by David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) with the right foot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Robert Glatzel

Attempt missed Emiliano BuendÃa (Norwich City) right footed shot from the center of the box, but the ball misses to the left. Assisted by Todd Cantwell

Norwich City

World News – UK – Leaders Norwich pass Cardiff