REPORT: Leicester City 4 Burnley 2
Big goals for Wood and Dunne but injury-hit Clarets bitten by Foxes
Chris Wood and Jimmy Dunne both recorded personal landmarks but their goals were not enough to spare the injury-hit Clarets defeat on their opening night in the Premier League.
Wood scored for the fourth successive game either side of the summer break to share a place alongside Sam Vokes as a record holder for the Premier League era as he gave Burnley an early lead.
And Dunne scored his first senior goal for the Clarets in the second half to spark hopes of a fightback for Sean Dyche’s men after Leicester led 3-1.
But that didn’t materialise as Leicester added the last goal of an action-packed night as they extended their unbeaten home run against the Clarets to 10 games as Burnley ultimately felt the loss of key players and shortage in numbers.
Ben Mee’s unavailability and James Tarkowski’s continued absence with a toe injury meant a first Premier League appearance for Dunne alongside Kevin Long in a Burnley back four which included Phil Bardsley in his 300th top-flight game.
Bardsley’s return was one three changes to the side that had advanced in the Carabao Cup in mid-week, along with starts for Dwight McNeil and Wood.
And it was Wood who made an immediate impact.
The former Leicester striker had scored in both games against the Foxes last season and repeated the trick 10 minutes in to earn his share of a place in the record books.
Last season’s 14-goal leading scorer had already had one early sight of goal after being released by Robbie Brady’s fine pass which he couldn’t capitalise on.
But once he got a sniff inside the box Wood made no mistake. Charlie Taylor’s deep cross stretched a Leicester defence again playing midfielder Wilfred Ndidi at centre-back and which left James Justin to deal with Wood at the far post.
The Burnley man was too strong and after chesting the ball down, smartly volleyed across Kasper Schmeichel to give the Clarets the ideal start.
The visitors didn’t have long to enjoy their lead, however, as Leicester quickly hit back.
An excellent block from Long denied Perez but with 20 minutes gone the Foxes were level.
The immediate danger appeared to have been dealt with as Jamie Vardy was crowded out as he spun onto Harvey Barnes’ pass.
But when Vardy kept the ball alive and ferried it back via a touch from Timothy Castagne, Burnley-born Barnes picked out the bottom corner with a shot which rolled past Perez, whose attempted flick didn’t come from an offside position.
Despite the evergreen Bardsley showing all his defensive nous, Barnes was a constant threat and it took a fine save from Nick Pope to deny him a second goal ahead of the break before the Foxes did claim the lead five minutes into the second half.
Pieters had replaced Brady as the Clarets’ injury concerns were increased by a knock to the Irishman and the substitute was the unfortunate one to deflect a cross from new boy Castagne past a wrong-footed Pope and into his own goal.
Taylor then needed an excellent block to stop Barnes in his tracks as Leicester cranked up the pressure.
But it wasn’t all one way and with an hour gone Wood had a chance to level.
Ashley Westwood’s fine pass picked out Jay Rodriguez, who laid the ball off for Wood who didn’t connect cleanly enough to seriously test Schmeichel.
And a couple of minutes later Leicester did find a way through again to seemingly earn breathing space en route to a second win of the season.
Perez’s twisting run caused the problems and when he pulled the ball back, Justin fired home his first Premier League goal.
But despite being under the cosh, the Clarets didn’t buckle and with 17 minutes to go got a possible route back into the game with a special moment for Dunne.
The 22-year-old has always been a threat from set-pieces while learning the ropes at Turf Moor and he timed his run perfectly to meet a Dwight McNeil free-kick with a stooping header past Schmeichel.
That gave the Clarets hope of a successful fightback as they rallied in typical fashion.
But just six minutes later that prospect was finally dashed as a Dennis Praet thunderbolt finally settled the outcome to hand the Clarets defeat in their opening Premier League game for the first time in four years – Wood hitting the post in the dying minutes to sum up a night of fluctuating fortunes.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Castagne, Ndidi, Soyuncu, Justin; Mendy; Perez (Maddison 62), Tielemans, Praet (Albrighton 83), Barnes (Morgan 90), Vardy.
Substitutes: Ward, Iheanacho, Choudhury, Fuchs.
Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Long, Dunne, Taylor; McNeil, Westwood, Brownhill, Brady (Pieters 40); Wood, Rodriguez (Vydra 70).
Substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Lowton, Thomas, Benson, Glennon.
Booked: Rodriguez, Bardsley Referee: Lee Mason
Sat, Dec 5, 2020