Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | ePaper

"Pukki Party" in full flow as striker becomes unlikely star

  • Print


AP, Dhaka :
Teemu Pukki hung back toward the corner of the penalty area. The ball was about to be delivered into the middle of the box, and it was as if the Norwich striker knew where it was going to be cleared.
Sure enough, a defender's header went straight to Pukki, who met it with a powerful volley that flew inside the near post.
The "Pukki Party" - as it's becoming known on social media - was just getting started.
It was the first of three goals scored by the Finland international in Norwich's 3-1 win over Newcastle at the weekend, lifting his tally to four over the first two rounds of the Premier League season.
Pukki is the first player in Premier League history to score that many in his first two games in the competition. Not for 21 years had a player scored a hat trick on his first home Premier League appearance.
Pukki is a journeyman striker no more.
Now, he's is the Premier League's leading scorer and an unlikely sensation in the world's most-watched division. Chelsea, still without a win under new manager Frank Lampard, is up next for Pukki and Norwich on Saturday.
"He finds the space. He knows when the time is right to go forward and when to stay," said Jari-Pekka Gummerus, who was a junior coach when a 12-year-old Pukki joined KTP, a club from the Finnish town of Kotka on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
"The moves he made, the amount of goals he scored, it was exceptional," Gummerus added in a phone interview. "You thought, 'OK, this guy has something else.'"
Just ask Virgil van Dijk and the rest of the defenders at Liverpool, the European champion and the team with the tightest backline in the Premier League last season.
Liverpool played Norwich at Anfield in the opening match of the Premier League season. The 4-1 scoreline flattered the home side, with Norwich managing 12 shots - nearly as many as Liverpool. Pukki scored in the second half from a well-worked move and was a constant nuisance for the defense, sometimes dropping between the lines or out wide to drag defenders out of position and link up play.
Indeed, Pukki's movement and work rate has been as impressive as his goals. Against Newcastle, he sprinted back 70 meters after Norwich lost possession high upfield and nicked the ball off Joelinton as the Brazilian forward broke on the counterattack.
"He really embodies the spirit of the team," Norwich manager Daniel Farke said. "No one is thinking about themselves."
It is a trait Gummerus remembers, too.

More News For this Category

Members of Bangladesh Under-16 Women's Football team during their practice session at Chonburi in Thailand on Tuesday.

Members of Bangladesh Under-16 Women's Football team during their practice session at Chonburi in Thailand on Tuesday.

Brazil to play Senegal, Nigeria in friendlies

Brazil will meet Senegal and Nigeria in international friendlies in Singapore next month as the five-time world champions prepare for the South American zone's 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Senegal are

Ronaldo 'embarrassed' by rape allegations

Ronaldo 'embarrassed' by rape allegations

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted he felt "embarrassed" as he tried to shield his family from allegations he raped a woman in the United States. Ronaldo was accused of

Nam Tae-hee (right) of Qatar's Al Sadd, vies with Abdullah Al-Khaibari of Saudi's Al-Nassr, during their second leg of the quarterfinal match at the AFC Championships League in Doha, the capital city of Qatar on Monday.  Al Sadd won the match 3-1 and qualified to the semifinal on a 4-3 aggregate score.

Nam Tae-hee (right) of Qatar's Al Sadd, vies with Abdullah Al-Khaibari of Saudi's Al-Nassr, during their second leg of the quarterfinal match at the AFC Championships League in Doha, the capital city of Qatar on Monday. Al Sadd won the match 3-1 and qualified to the semifinal on a 4-3 aggregate score.

Ibrahimovic hat-trick propels Galaxy to 7-2 victory

Ibrahimovic hat-trick propels Galaxy to 7-2 victory

AFP, Los Angeles :Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat- trick as Los Angeles Galaxy pummelled Sporting Kansas City 7-2 on Sunday to put themselves in the thick of the Major League

Klopp expects daunting ride as Liverpool eye Istanbul return

Klopp expects daunting ride as Liverpool eye Istanbul return

AFP, London :Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool that retaining the Champions League will be even harder than their incredible march to victory in Madrid last season.Klopp's side start their bid

Joan Jordan free-kick fires Sevilla to top of La Liga

Joan Jordan free-kick fires Sevilla to top of La Liga

Sevilla moved to the top of the early La Liga table on Sunday as Joan Jordan's brilliant free-kick helped them seal a 1-0 win at Alaves.Julen Lopetegui's side continued their

Spain World Cup win, US woes blow Olympic basketball wide open

Spain World Cup win, US woes blow Olympic basketball wide open

AFP, Beijing :The Tokyo 2020 Olympics basketball suddenly looks wide open after reigning champions the United States suffered their worst World Cup, Spain triumphed and Argentina surprised.World Cup bronze medallists

Man City stunned by Norwich as Liverpool stretch Premier League lead

Man City stunned by Norwich as Liverpool stretch Premier League lead

Manchester City succumbed to a first Premier League defeat since January in stunning fashion to newly-promoted Norwich 3-2 on Saturday, as Liverpool opened up a five-point lead at the top

Benzema scores twice in 'game of two halves' for Real Madrid

Benzema scores twice in 'game of two halves' for Real Madrid

Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid produced a good first-half display in their 3-2 win at home to Levante.Casemiro added a third goal for Real Madrid before the game,