Ipswich boss Paul Lambert was sent off on his return to Carrow Road as Norwich won the East Anglian derby to move two points clear at the top of the Championship.
Tempers flared after Jon Nolan’s late challenge on Max Aarons in first-half stoppage time and Lambert was sent to the stands after confronting Norwich coach Chris Domogalla, who was also red-carded.
The hosts had led after just 82 seconds when Onel Hernandez steered in from close range to score Norwich’s fastest league goal since 2011.
Teemu Pukki drilled low across Bartosz Bialkowski to make it 2-0 and the Finland striker poked in a third on the stretch for his 20th Championship goal of the season.
Daniel Farke’s Norwich move clear of Leeds, who drew at Middlesbrough on Saturday, while Ipswich stay five points adrift at the bottom and nine from safety.
The score flattered the hosts, who scored with their only three shots on target and only 47% possession. They were put under pressure by Ipswich early in the second half, Alan Judge striking just wide from the edge of the box a minute before Pukki made it 2-0.
But the Tractor Boys once again lacked a cutting edge and look likely to be playing in League One next season.
Both of Pukki’s goals were supplied by through balls from Norwich playmaker Emi Buendia, while Pukki had another disallowed for offside.
Defeat means Ipswich’s wait for a victory over their arch-rivals will extend to more than 10 years, since a 3-2 win at Portman Road in April 2009.
Lambert’s miserable return
Lambert took Norwich to the Premier League in 2011 with back-to-back promotions, and is the only man to manage both East Anglian sides.
A frosty reception was expected before the game, with the Scot leaving Carrow Road to join Aston Villa in 2012, but he had insisted before the match that he would not be fazed by any taunts from the home fans.
However, a melee ensued between players and coaching staff after Ipswich’s Jon Nolan fouled young Norwich full-back Max Aarons near the touchline, with Lambert confronting Norwich head of performance Domogalla.
The former Stoke manager was held back by a police officer before being given his marching orders by referee Peter Bankes.
Both sets of players clashed again in the closing stages of a fiery match, in which seven players were booked in all.