97th minute equalizer puts Norwich City on precipice of Championship title

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Norwich City is on the verge of securing the Championship title and automatic promotion to the Premier League after bagging a 97th minute equalizer to draw 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday.

Mario Vrancic deposited a free-kick into the top-right corner deep into second-half injury time to secure the draw and move Norwich City five points clear at the top with three matches to go. While the slip is another opportunity for second-placed Sheffield United to gain ground, it also keeps Norwich City just out of reach with the season winding down.

The result is redemption for just two games ago when Norwich City themselves were pegged back in the 97th minute to finish 2-2 with Reading. That late equalizer came after Norwich had turned around a 1-0 deficit with goals in the 86th and 88th minutes. In fact, Norwich has had a propensity for late goals all season, including an 81st minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Wigan last time out, an 83rd minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw with West Brom in January, another in the 1-1 draw against Brentford, an 86th minute winner against Blackburn in December, and a 93rd minute winner against Bolton.

Marco Stiepermann had put the hosts in front after just 19 minutes on Friday, but Norwich proceeded to cough up the lead and even fell behind as Steven Fletcher scored for Sheffield Wednesday by sliding at the far post to reach a delivery less than 10 minutes after the halftime break.

Norwich will be thankful that the season is coming to an end and the window of opportunity for challengers to creep nearer is closing. The Canaries have led the way since late February, but have drawn three straight matches, including two to lower-half sides in Reading and Wigan. The finish is moderate, with matches remaining against lower-half sides Blackburn and Stoke City, plus a road visit to playoff hopefuls Aston Villa to close things out.